Tag Archives: Fitness

Boosting Plus Size Teens’ Body Image and Self-Esteem in Today’s Image Conscious World

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According to niddk.nih.gov, young people from the ages of two years through nineteen years, the obesity rate has skyrocketed to over 31% In a society whose media is crazed by ultra-thin models, actors, and Instagram stars, this means one of every three teens you meet is at risk for weight-related issues around self-esteem and body image. Given the toll taken by carrying excess weight, it’s as crucial to counteract the emotional strain of obesity, as it is to drop a few pounds.

What Is The Difference Between Body Image and Self-Esteem?

Put simply, self-esteem refers to the sense of inherent internal worthiness a person perceives him or herself to possess. Body image refers to the way they perceive their body, regardless of how it may appear to outside observers. This explains why people who are clearly in excellent condition may feel very critical about their bodies, whereas others, whose physical condition may not appear very healthy, can have extremely high levels of confidence about their physiques.

How Can I Tell Whether My Teen Has A Weight-Related Self-Esteem Problem

Parents and loved ones are often horrified to notice their once-confident teen has slipped into low self-esteem. Teens’ bodies change rapidly, and they face extreme pressure from both peers and the media to look a certain way. As they change schools and peer groups, formerly happy-go-lucky kids may suddenly display clear signs of discontent such as:

• Scrutinizing themselves in the mirror for extended lengths of time

• Excessively negative, criticism of specific body regions

• Comparison to other teens or celebrities

• Anxiety around leaving the home

• Signs of depression/anxiety, like sleeping more or less than normal, withdrawal from social engagements, malaise, or changes in grades

Jump Start The Recovery Process

So much of the teenage years is centered around creating social norms and a coherent sense of self. This sense of self will follow a young person into adulthood, and inform much of how they make pivotal choices and relate to others. That makes it incredibly important and productive to intervene as soon as possible. Helping teens to turnaround self-esteem and body issues will give them healthy physical habits as well as emotional resilience. Luckily, even the most rebellious teenager craves guidance, encouragement, and resources. Use the following steps at home, and you’ll not only improve teens’ physical and emotional well-being, you’ll reinforce the foundations of your relationship.

It Starts With You

Teenagers are more interested in what you do than what you tell them. Do you obsess about your appearance? Become upset when you aren’t satisfied with how you look in the mirror? Your teen is learning how to react to her own appearance by watching your example. Be mindful of more than how you look. Pay attention to how you look at yourself, and how you act toward yourself when you do.

Changing Self-Talk

Teens listen more than they let on. One of the things they soak up like sponges is the manner in which their role models talk about themselves. A young man who hears his father lamenting, “ Ugh. I hate my chest. This gutt is awful. I just have never liked the way I’m built. I guess I have your grandparents to blame for these ugly genes!” will certainly find himself looking at his body in the mirror, cursing his DNA. A young girl who hears her mother saying, “I just look so fat in these pants. I’m embarrassed to leave the house” will look into the mirror at her own image and wonder if she should stay home if she looks a little bloated.

Parents can change this feedback loop of negative self-talk by saying things like, “ I may have gained a few pounds, but I actually like how strong I look!” or “You know, it’s actually kind of nice to be filling out this dress a little differently!” Even better, saying things like, “I love myself at any weight. This body does a lot for me” can convey to your teen that she is also beautiful and productive at any weight.

Emphasize Health Over Weight Loss

The Oxford Health Journal confirms that weight management programs for children and teens may do more harm than good. Focusing on weight seems to chip away at a whole-person standard self-worth in children. Furthermore, according to NBC, even after losing weight, many girls continue to see themselves as overweight. In other words, a few pounds may drop, but negative body image remains. This is a clear indicator that we must all work on the inside first, building self-love that fosters healthy eating and exercise habits.

Move For Joy

When a person appreciates what their body can do, it’s hard not to love the body that does it. A loved body will be cherishes and maintained, making improved health a natural side effect. One of the quickest way to achieve this is through movement. Calories are burned and endorphins are released for relaxation and happiness. It’s a combination that makes movement a top tool for achieving whole-person health. In kids, this can be as easy as dancing, or adopting a yoga practice. Yoga, with its emphasis on non-judgmental approaches to individual bodies and internal balance, is of particular usefulness. Even severely overweight teens can put a mat down in a bedroom, throw on yoga tanks and a pair of shorts, and start.

4 Things Harvard Researchers Have to Say About Yoga

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Yoga is a term that means different things to different people. For some people, yoga is an exercise – a way to strengthen and tone the body and improve flexibility and coordination. For other people, yoga is a spiritual discipline – a way of life that includes but is not limited to the physical postures. For still others, yoga represents a combination of these factors.

For Harvard researchers, however, yoga is increasingly showing itself to be a source of significant health benefits quantifiable through the latest cutting-edge research practices. In this article, learn about four important things Harvard researchers have discovered while studying yoga. Continue reading

Exercise Can Save Your Life and Your Money

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You can build an exercise program that will improve your mental health, your physical stamina and your future. All of these benefits can be yours with very little investment but for your time and the desire to take better care of yourself.

Start Small

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Moving your body through space is easy and extremely healthful. Adding just sixty minutes of brisk walking per week can help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce your risk of type-2 diabetes. All you need are some comfy shoes! Continue reading

What You Didn’t Know About the Science Linking Yoga and Stress Relief

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Nearly everybody suffers from anxiety. While it’s frequency and intensity varies from person to person, it effect is universal. Chronic anxiety can take an extensive toll on the body. Anxiety often drains energy resources and keeps the body in an almost constant state of stress. Anxiety’s negative side effects are often proliferated when the body is not exercised. While general or basic exercise can serve a venue of stress relief, one exercise in particular stands out for creating this spectacular effect: yoga. Continue reading

5 Benefits of Cross-Training (even if you’re 50+)

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You’re reading this article probably because you are interested in improving your health.  Awesome!  It takes more than interest though – it takes some action.

There is no magic pill.  If you just focus on “products” to help you lose weight or look younger, those products will make you feel insecure when they don’t work as intended. That’s not healthy in the long run. 

One of the best ways to do improve your health is through exercise done on a consistent basis.  And the key to consistent exercise is finding something you enjoy doing.  Even though I am 51, participating in trail running and hiking is something I’ve always liked to do. I look forward to it and plan my schedule to fit those activities in. It’s ingrained in my lifestyle.

If you only do one exercise, running for example, it can create some problems with people and cause joint pain. It’s important to “mix it up” with different work outs. I balance my running with hiking, yoga workouts, and lift light weights to help with overall muscle toning. But I know swimming and bike riding should be done more often because they are low-impact.

If you use the weather as an excuse, you can use indoor equipment like a treadmill, elliptical machine and a stationary bike. You can have this equipment at home if you don’t belong to a gym and if you have the space available.

Use of equipment is not needed at all actually. There are many other methods like stair climbing, aerobics, yoga, etc. Here’s a list of ideas to choose from that fit your personality and preferences: http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/fitness-a-to-z

Note: I recommend you check in with your doctor first if exercise is new to you – especially if you have a current medical condition. It would also be a good idea to meet with a personal trainer to help you get started.

Cross-training is the backbone of any exercise program, and is ideal for anyone, even if you’re a beginner who wants to get in shape or you are experienced with exercise and want to ramp it up. Here are five benefits to incorporate cross-training: Continue reading

5 Simple Ways to Develop a Fitness Habit

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Developing and sticking to a new fitness routine can feel overwhelming but it is actually much simpler than it sounds. The first step is to define your fitness goal. No matter what your reason, defining it from the start, and making it incredibly personal and relevant to you, is how to begin creating this positive habit in your life. Here are some simple ways to help you meet your personal goals: Continue reading

Mildly Medicated: HGH Therapy, Music and the Metamorphosis

Rocky Basile is the compact drumming dynamo behind the sound the Modern Rock Band Mildly Medicated. What do you get when you combine a lead singer with Hemophilia, a guitarist with ADD, a guitarist with diabetes, a bassist with Tourette’s, and a drummer on HGH therapy? You get the modern rock band Mildly Medicated. Against all possible odds, these uniquely talented young musicians from Monmouth County NJ found each other in 2012, all unaware that each of them had medical issues. It was only until they were discussing possible band names that they all realized that they shared a commonality.

Labels – Sometimes the packaging hides what’s really within

I’ve been called them all, midget, dwarf, shrimp, shorty, just to name a few. When a girl Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 9.34.46 PMwrites in your middle school yearbook “Rocky, you’re my favorite midget in the whole world” it’s hard to find the compliment in that statement. By then I was already one of the best drummers my age in the state of NJ, but that didn’t seem to matter much to people my age. I think that’s one of the things that drew me to drums, other than the fact that I sucked at everything else, was that I sounded big. I mean you could barely see be behind the kit, but there was no question I was there when I stated to play. My beats were loud, angry, attacking, and complex; all the things I wasn’t in physical form.

You see, at age 12 I was diagnosed with a non-functioning pituitary gland, which just happens to be the gland that produces human growth hormone when you sleep. My growth velocity was measured as zero. I was destined to be a little person. Other than being able to park in the handicapped zone, I wasn’t really happy with the prospects of being 4’2″.

My parents gave me two options, one being to break my legs and transplant bone grafts into the gap and put rods through my legs to hold everything in place, or lobby our insurance company for legal human growth hormone, which costs around $5,000 a month. I opted for hormone therapy, and thus we embarked on a two year battle with our health insurance company to get them to pay for it. Their position was I was not sick. Our position was that we wanted them to look at the situation holistically and treat the entire patient, not just an affected area. I would be a happier and healthier person if I was able to grow to a normal height. During this two year battle with them, my internal clock was ticking, and my growth plates would eventually lock up, and no hormone would ever make a difference. I became depressed hearing my father constantly fighting with the insurance company, while trying to hide the pain of labels and the natural abuse you get in school by being the “favorite midget” .

The recluse

Even though we finally won the battle over the insurance company and I was taking daily injections into the flank of my stomach, I threw myself in my music because I could feel the Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 9.34.59 PMdepression and the anger start to build. School was still problematic, and I had not yet found my voice. My body was changing, some of it for the better, but some not. It’s a funny thing about human growth hormone, it makes everything grow, even the bad stuff inside you. And for me, the bad stuff wanted to make itself known. I developed tumors in my wrists and ankles, which is not great if you’re a drummer, causing me to have multiple surgical procedures. I had just started playing with my band Mildly Medicated, I had just starting feeling like I was accepted and surrounded by people who understood me, and now my drumming career could potentially be over. Continue reading

A Woman’s Guide to Building Muscle

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Creatine is a substance known to help build muscle mass and increase performance. Even though there are a growing number of women pursuing bodybuilding, it’s predominantly used by men. A survey in 2007 revealed that only one percent of female athletes use creatine to help them achieve their goals. This is primarily because they see creatine as something that will bulk them up and make them larger, and our society teaches us women should be small. However, what they don’t consider is that it also keeps them weak. By implementing the use of creatine for women, they can build strength and look better than they ever imagined. Continue reading

You Lost the Weight, Now What?

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Once you lose the weight, then the real work begins. You now have to keep it off. One of the unfortunate realities about weight loss is that it is very difficult to keep your excess weight from coming back. As many as 68 percent of people who exercise and diet to lose their weight eventually gain it back. In fact, they can return to obesity in four to five years. What causes people to let themselves go after putting in all that hard work? In some cases, it is due to feeling of accomplishment that comes with weight loss. A dieter may feel that since they have reached their desired weight, they can now reward themselves by not dieting. Another answer is that the body undergoes certain hormonal changes after weight loss. Those changes can result in increased hunger and fat storage. So how do you keep your weight off after working for so long to lose it? Here are some tips: Continue reading

7 Tips for Helping Someone Else to Change a Habit.

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In my book Better Than Before, I write about the many strategies that we can use to make or break our habits. There’s a big menu of choices, which is great, because it means that we all have a variety from which to pull. Some strategies work for some people, but not others. Some strategies are available to us at certain times, but not other times.

In Better Than Before, I focus mostly on what we can do, ourselves, to change our habits. But it’s very obvious that each of us can have a lot of influence on other people’s habits.  And often we really, really, really want to help someone else to change a key habit.

So, if you want to help someone else to change an important habit (and I’ve certainly tried to do this myself, many times, in my loving habits-bully way), here are a few top strategies to try: Continue reading

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