Healthy Active+ist

Live Well. Pay it Forward.

March 17, 2014
by healthy activist

Teens and Screens: The Social, the Scary, and the Sedentary

This winter my teen and tween have spent more time than I’d like slouched over their screens, and less time than I’d like moving around outdoors.

After a week of surly, slovenly and sedentary behavior last week, I finally buckled down and “mastered” the parental controls on several of their favorite screens, setting curfews and time limits. I have no patience for technology and reading instructions, but it was time to suck it up and learn how to be Big Brother. Or in this case, Big Momma.

It took several hours over two days and in the end my fourteen year old had to help me set the controls on his PC. It was kind of like asking the criminal to help open the jail cell, but I was desperate. He was remarkably good natured about it, maybe because he thinks he’s smart enough to override it. Its scary how technically proficient our kids are.

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March 10, 2014
by healthy activist

Does Where You Live Affect How Well You Live?

How does the community you live in impact your wellness?

Where I live, a lot of people, myself included, live in a kind of semi-rural setting: large wooded lots, houses on a couple of acres or much more, spread far apart with woods and fields, and country roads in between them. It’s beautiful and peaceful – this setting definitely contributes to my sense of wellness on a daily basis.

There’s a huge new mixed-use subdivision coming to the outskirts of my town. It’ll be much more densely populated and busier than many of us here are used to now, like a mini-city, with homes and apartments as well as taller commercial buildings, stores and restaurants, schools, and parks, all within walking and biking distance.

Which way of living is “healthier?”

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March 3, 2014
by healthy activist

How I Tamed the TV Time Snack Attack

vampire woman (1)I’ve been snacking in front of the TV at night since – well – since that TV had three channels, a big knob to turn those three channels, and a set of rabbit ear antennas. Yeah, I’m that old.

Growing up, my brother and I religiously watched the tube from 8-9 every night, usually with a bag of something crunchy at our side. Chomping along with the Dukes of Hazzard, Magnum, P.I. and Happy Days. Fun times!

I’d like to think my choice of shows has evolved. But the chomping hasn’t. Over the years as my understanding of wellness has grown I’ve slowly dropped a lot of unhealthy habits and added healthy ones. But the TV time snacking has been an incredibly hard habit to break for me. I eat real, wholesome, nutritious food by day. But at night, the snack vampire appears, wanting not blood but potato chips. Or popcorn. Or anything salty and processed. And somewhere, along the way I added a glass or two of red wine to the ritual.

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February 24, 2014
by healthy activist

Kids, Sports, and Healthy Living: This is Your Moment

Sports have always been used as a catalyst to teach kids important life lessons like teamwork, sportsmanship, coping with adversity, and the importance of hard work. We are missing opportunities to leverage sports as a way to teach kids about healthy lifestyles.

Sports-related junk food marketing to kids is helping to undermine the naturally symbiotic relationship between physical activity and healthy eating. All of us – parents, coaches, and administrators – need to push back against this with our words and our actions.

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February 17, 2014
by healthy activist

Sweet Peas and Gratitude

I posted a couple of weeks ago about some difficulties I’ve encountered getting exercise where I live. I wrote about the challenge of running or walking on the dangerous rural road I live on. This week I was reminded of the importance of embracing and making the most out of what I do have.

Thanks to a snowstorm, I fell in love with our house in the middle of the woods all over again this week. It snowed a lot, for North Carolina, and it was truly beautiful. Dan and I went on several long walks uphill through the woods and along the river. I appreciate snow more now that I live in the South and don’t see it as much. I had forgotten about that shimmery glow that happens when there’s fresh snow and the sun is shining. The crunch that your boots make in the insulated quiet of the snowy woods.IMG_1098

Then there was the sledding. The problematic hilly driveway that I cursed when we were building our house became the scene of some silly rambunctious sledding that had me laughing so hard I cried as I crashed and flew off the sled into a snow bank. Marching up the hill again and again to take sled runs down – now that’s an immense and fun workout.

Afterwards, we sat by the crackling fire and ate the homemade chicken soup I spent a full snow day happily making in the crock pot.

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February 10, 2014
by healthy activist

My Walk on the Wild Side

I got a great walking workout this past Saturday in downtown Raleigh and I had a lot of company.  I walked among tens of thousands of other people in the Moral March to protest the North Carolina legislature’s attack on its own citizens.

 I walked with an incredibly impressive group of women from who care deeply about the lives of children and familes and just – well, people.

I walked with an incredibly impressive group of women from who care deeply about the lives of children and familes and just – well, people.

Though there have been many demonstrations large and small against our current legislature, I did not join the crowd until yesterday. I am not by nature a marcher or a demonstrator.  I am a writer, an analyzer, a thinker, a strategizer, even a donator. I am something of an introvert and I generally prefer to make my voice heard in ways that do not involve being among large and loud crowds of people.

But sometimes things get so bad that even the quiet among us have to raise our voices. There are times when we have to take a walk on what may be for us at least – the “wild side.” (Don’t take me literally: the march was anything but wild. It was peaceful, positive, and inspiring.)

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February 4, 2014
by healthy activist

Healthy Environments for Kids: Begin at the Beginning

This Spring, my job will involve, among other things: getting very dirty, having a strawberry-tasting party, and quite possibly, playing a game of Farmer’s Market Treasure Hunt. Luckily for me, the best way to engage young children in eating healthy and being active is to make it fun.

I am fortunate to be my county’s coordinator for a terrific statewide project called Shape NC that’s working to make preschools and child care centers in our state healthier. The Chatham County Partnership for Children is one of 27 county partnerships in North Carolina that has been working for the last three years to help centers provide more nutritious food, especially more fresh fruits and vegetables, and keep kids as active as possible during their day. We are especially trying to work with those that serve more lower-income families. And allow me to brag for a moment: we’ve all been so successful that our funder, Blue Cross Blue Shield NC, has chosen to fund project for another three years! Here’s a cool Shape NC Photographic Infographic that sums it all up.

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January 29, 2014
by healthy activist

I’m Losing Control of my Kids

I’m losing control of my kids, which is exactly what is supposed to happen as they get older. They’re 11 and 14, and they are developing their own ideas, thoughts, opinions. Their friends have as much influence over them right now as I do.

My son Austin and I talk a lot about the choices – both large and small – that he’ll make when he is older and has even more freedom. He likes to tease me that when he’s old enough to drive, he is going to stop at the fast food joint across from the high school every day.  “I’ll be able to go wherever I want, mom, “ he tells me. “You won’t be able to stop me!” We laugh together about this because he knows that for me, telling me he’s going to eat Big Macs every day is akin to telling me he’s going to stop off for a beer every day on the way to school.

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January 22, 2014
by healthy activist

Living Rural and Being Active: My Surprisingly Rough Road

While I was building my house in the lovely country setting where I live now, I dreamed of the life I’d live here. Ten miles from town, surrounded by woods, we would build a wellness oasis where living a healthy, active lifestyle would be effortless! I definitely bought into the stereotype of rural life as healthy and wholesome, replete with outdoor pursuits.

The reality, of course, is far more nuanced. This area supports a healthy lifestyle in many ways – for example in my area there are three fabulous farmers markets and a wonderful healthy food co-op nearby.  But being active can be surprisingly challenging. As it turns out, the devil is in the details.

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January 17, 2014
by healthy activist
Comments Off on Don’t Hide Out in Your Healthy Home

Don’t Hide Out in Your Healthy Home

If you are a “typical” middle-class American mom (pretty focused on home, kids, and family, whether you work or not) you might be aware that you owe some ideological allegiance to your nineteenth century sisters. In Britain and America around 1830 or so, the wives of well-to-do working men spawned what cultural historians call the Cult of Domesticity.

At this time – for the first time – middle class women had a little time on their hands. The main change was that due to industrialization, they didn’t have to make everything themselves. You could actually buy stuff like clothing and blankets and food – exciting! And, their men were bringing home the bacon, so the more affluent among them had servants too.

So they got really into their homes and their kids. These ladies saw their homes as refuges from the scary new industrial cities and the riffraff found therein. With some notable exceptions, they were not terribly involved in the world outside their front door. Instead, they opted (well, society opted for them) – to be queens of their own domestic domains.

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