Maintaining your families weight through the Holidays!

I hope your family had a safe and healthy Halloween, that you treated yourself to a piece or two of candy. If you did treat yourself, did you think about the portion sizes you were having, the extra calories, etc… If not, we still have time to prepare for the rest of the Holidays.

If the members of your family are suffering with weight problems, especially your children it is my hope that you do not add to your weight this Holiday season. You may be thinking how do we do that? With all the dinners, desserts, candy and parties coming up, how can I or my child possibly maintain our weight?

I am here to tell you, you can! I have even had clients lose weight during the Holidays, but setting a goal to lose weight could set you and your family up for failure and I don’t want to do that, so if you lose weight that is just the icing on the cake, or should I say, the natural peanut butter on the Fuji apple.

Tips:

  1. Stay active. Take walks with your family. Evening walks are particularly nice once lights are hanging on homes in your neighborhood.
  2. Focus on the true meaning of the Holiday you are celebrating. The most important part of the Holidays should be the time spent with family and friends, not the food.
  3. Start practicing portion control now and use portion control during the Holidays. Here are some hints to help!
    1. 3 oz of fish, poultry and meat = a deck of cards
    2. 3 oz of fish = a checkbook
    3. 1 cup of salad = a baseball
    4. A piece of medium fruit = a baseball
    5. 1 cup of cereal = a fist
    6. 1 cup of cooked pasta, rice or potatoes = ½ baseball

Hope this gets you started. I will have more tips through the Holiday season!

More resources for parents of overweight children coming soon

While I am so happy to see programs going into schools to teach children the importance of eating right and staying physically active, it is futile if there home environment is not changing. We need to help the parents of overweight children learn healthy behaviors and help them become role models to their children.

I recently spoke with a drug counselor that completely understood my thoughts on needing to work with the parents. He told me of kids his center had helped to get off of drugs, but once the child went home to their old environments they went right back to the drugs. A child’s home environment has a huge affect on their behaviors and habits.

I am very excited to announce I have a free teleclass to help parents of overweight children coming soon. I also have a more extensive program starting in January. If you know of a parent struggling with this issue, direct them to this site to download a free e-book. I will then contact them about the free teleclass.

If the cereal name sounds like a dessert, it is a dessert!

The sugary cereals marketed to children are so unhealthy and adding to the childhood obesity epidemic. Lately, I have seen commercials advertising how healthy most sugary cereals are, because of the whole grain and high fiber content. Moms and Dads, don’t let the whole grain and high fiber fool you! The high sugar content in these cereals, negates the whole grain and fiber benefits.

I have helped many overweight people change their eating habits over the years. Most overweight children are eating some type if high sugar cereal for breakfast. Most parents would not feed their child foods from the cookie or candy isle for breakfast, yet if it’s a cookie or sugary puff that you can pour milk over it is suddenly acceptable. If the cereal name sounds like a cookie or candy, it isn’t a good choice.

This is also leading to sugar addiction in our children. The children eating these cereals are growing their taste for sugars and sweeteners, making healthy options taste bland. The earlier they get started and longer they eat sugar for breakfast, the harder it will be for them to change to a healthy option.

I know it may be difficult to make the switch to a healthier cereal with all of the marketing to children, but you can do it. Remember, if you don’t buy it, it won’t be in the house.

Here is a great video I found this morning about a recent study on the marketing of sugary cereals. http://abclocal.go.com/kfsn/story?section=news/consumer&id=7083198

Hope you find it enlightening.

Seven Tips to help you, help your Overweight Child?

  1. If your child is struggling with their weight you need to become a great role model. It’s time to eat your fruits and veggies, among other healthy food options and start becoming physically active. Your child will learn healthy behaviors through watching you.
  2. Know that adult weight loss options are not appropriate for children. Kids are still growing and need to have enough nutrients to foster healthy growth.
  3. Encourage your child to become more active. A family walk or bike ride is a great start. Keep in mind your child may be too self conscious for team sports.
  4. DO NOT call foods good or bad. This black and white thinking creates an unhealthy attitude toward foods. Focus on eating whole food, healthy options from each of the food categories; fruits, veggies, lean proteins and whole grains. Remember the 80/20 rule. A treat is okay here and there.
  5. Feed your child and family with proper portion sizes, but still let your child decide when they are done eating. This will help them learn to control their eating for the long term.
  6. Do not stock your fridge and pantry with high fat (Foods with saturated and trans fats) and sugary foods (this includes diet sodas and sugary juices). If you don’t buy it and bring it home, it won’t be an option.
  7. If your child is open to talking, find out how they are feeling about being overweight. Watch to ensure your child isn’t using food as a crutch to a problem. Like any addiction, overeating will only cause more problems in the long run.

If you need additional support, please contact me directly at karen@karenhummel.com.

Help your overweight child, Stop doing these 3 things today!

I have been working diligently on laying the foundation to launch a coaching program that I sincerely hope will transform the lives of overweight children and families, not only in the US, but Internationally, as obesity is not only an issue for the US. A new term was coined in the past few years, “Globesity”. We are all getting heavier. There are many reasons, most are cultural, very few are genetic. Here are three of the reasons we are getting heavier and heavier.

1. Fast food has reached many countries, increasing saturated fat consumption

2. Artificial sweeteners are rampant, causing us to eat more and negatively affecting our bodies in the same way too much fat and/or alcohol does

3. The diet industry has taught us that weight loss is a short term issue when it is a life long commitment if you are someone with a weight problem.

That being said, for your health I would suggest you limit fast food and sugar/artificial sweetener consumption. Oh, yes and STOP dieting. It is not about dieting, it is about eating healthy. Stick with whole foods, reduce saturated and trans fats, as well as sweeteners found in sodas and juices. The results will surprise you. Don’t worry, your taste buds will adapt over time!

I will be posting updates about the “Karen About Your Kids” coaching program I have starting in January. I am so excited to reach and help as many overweight children and families as I can. I know we can end the obesity epidemic through education and compassion.

Is Your Family Ready to Lose Weight?

If you have an overweight child you are probably more motivated than most, because you are concerned for the health and emotional well being of your child. Here are four things I suggest clients do prior to getting started on a weight management program:

  1. Are you and your family members getting enough sleep? Studies have shown not getting enough sleep can hinder weight management. It’s also extremely hard to take on a new challenge when you are grumpy and sleep deprived. Getting enough sleep is step one to a healthy lifestyle and weight management.
  2. Are you or a family member suffering from an outside stress? I suggest you work on stress management techniques or work to resolve the issue before getting started on a weight management program. It is extremely difficult to change your mindset, eating and fitness routine when you or a family member is stressed out.
  3. Talk to your spouse about the need for the entire family to be on board with learning healthier behaviors. Your child won’t remain successful if their home environment does not support a healthy lifestyle.
  4. DO NOT tell your child they need to lose weight or go on a diet. Chances are they know they have the extra weight. Your talking to them about it could add to their depression. This will be a slow process of modifying different behaviors, remember you shouldn’t start another diet. It’s time for a life change.

If you aren’t completely ready, take the time to focus on each area, start working with a coach. The good news is you are getting started in a healthy way. I know your  family can be successful, you just have to believe you can do it and start with small changes.

Can a family really eat healthy on vacation?

When my great friend and travel agent, Denise Lorentzen, asked me to write an article about healthy eating on a family vacation, I had mixed feelings, because I know with the current childhood obesity epidemic families aren’t eating healthy at home, so how can you expect them to eat healthy on vacation. Second, I have so many fond childhood memories of special treats on vacation. My family would always stop for ice cream cones and fudge on Main Street in Disneyland and on Father, Daughter fishing trips, I always looked forward to that one chance at an unhealthy breakfast, M&M peanuts.

That being said, I am going to tackle this question of healthy eating on a family vacation a little differently than I have seen others address it. I may be an expert on healthy eating and weight loss, but I believe vacation treats often bring back fond memories for a family, especially for a child. Also, if a parent is too rigid about nutrition a child will grow up to have an unhealthy relationship with food. I suggest following the  80/20 rule and believe there is room in a healthy diet for the occasional treat.

Is your family ready to eat healthy on vacation?

Here are a couple questions for you:

  1. Is your family currently eating healthy, meaning getting their daily allowance for fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, dairy and/or dairy alternatives?
  2. Does your entire family start the day with a healthy breakfast? By healthy I do not mean pancakes, doughnuts, and/or high fat breakfast meats like sausage.
  3. Does your family eat together most evenings?
  4. Does your family eat fast food on a weekly basis?

If you answered yes to the first three and no to question four, then you can plan to eat healthy on your next vacation. If not, you need to work on healthy eating at home first. If you suddenly decide the family is going to eat healthy a week before your vacation, I can guarantee, your children and spouse will not like you for some time.

Should a family eat 100% healthy on vacation?

Whether traveling by car, plane, train or boat your family can eat healthy on your next vacation. But should you? If you have kids I suggest giving them treats here and there during a vacation. Follow the 80/20 rule and your family’s nutrition will not be derailed. Moms and Dads treat your selves a little too!

Tips to keep your family on the right track!

  • Whether at home or for travel you will have to plan in advance. Think about the healthy foods and treats your child enjoys eating. That will give you an idea of where and when a treat time may occur. Write a list of healthy items you can pack.
  • Keep a food and exercise journal, there is even a tracking sheet your kids can use to track how they eat http://teamnutrition.usda.gov/resources/mpk_worksheet.pdf. I have had many parents shocked to find out how unhealthy school lunches are.
  • Eat a healthy breakfast each morning. This will start your metabolism off in the right direction. I suggest a lean protein (Eggs, egg whites, greek yogurt, low fat cottage cheese), whole grain carb (Whole wheat toast, cheerios, oatmeal) and some fruits and/or vegetables.
  • Pack healthy snacks for car and plane trips. When traveling by car bring a cooler, full of yogurt, fruit, cut up veggies, whole wheat crackers, nuts, sandwiches, dried fruit, raisins and/or string cheese. When traveling by air, stick to snacks that won’t spoil, such as some fruits, dried fruits, whole wheat crackers, nuts, healthy meal bars, cheerios, etc…
  • Do not skip meals. That goes for Moms and Dads too!
  • Skip the fast food if at all possible. I know they have healthy options, but most kids aren’t going to choose the apple sticks over the French fries. I know I wouldn’t have! If you need a quick stop, a sandwich shop is a much healthier option. If you have time, eat in a restaurant that is child friendly and has healthy options available.
  • Remember the 80/20 rule is for the week, so you want to eat healthy 80% of the week!

While eating right is important, you should also plan to be active on vacation

Part of staying healthy and being a good role model for your children is living an active lifestyle. Vacations are a wonderful opportunity to be active. Many vacations include a lot of walking to take in the sites, but you can also find opportunities, to swim, hike, and bike and/or take a sports lesson of some kind.

Moms and Dads, bring an exercise band when you travel. It is easy to store in your suitcase and it is a great way to keep up with resistance training while on vacation.

When you have some free time in the hotel room have the family do body weight exercise, like push ups and crunches. Little ones will find it fun and it will create a healthy behavior for their future.

Enjoy your family vacation!

PS If you are planning a vacation visit my friend Denise at http://kingdommagicagents.com/denise/

Denise Lorentzen is a Family Travel Specialist and Disney Vacation Specialist. She has a CTA (Certified Travel Assoc.) from the Travel Institute as well as various other specialty certificates such as Disney, Universal Parks, Carnival Cruise, US Airways, and more!!  Denise loves traveling with her family.  That is why she chose to specialize in family travel, to help others have the same vacation experiences that her family has enjoyed.

Is it right to tell a child they are OBESE?

I was watching a morning talk show this week and the hosts were having a conversation about the wii game. The virtual personal trainer on the game shows no mercy and will tell you, you are OBESE and show a big frown. They debated whether or not it is okay to tell a child they are OBESE.

There are kinder ways to speak with children and adults about their weight problem

While I think it is important for both parents and children to know if they are overweight as this can compromise both their physical and mental health,  I personally hate the word and don’t think an adult should be called OBESE either. There are gentler ways to talk with someone about their weight problem. I won’t use the word unless I am quoting statistics about the obesity epidemic. I have worked with overweight kids and adults for years now and have heard more than once how hurtful it is to go to the doctor and be told you are OBESE or morbidly OBESE. For many overweight people the word OBESE is synonymous with grotesque. I am sure most would agree you would not approach a person and tell them they are grotesque.

I can also tell you most adults know they are overweight and have a problem, so making them feel worse about it is not the answer.  However, research has shown that parents are often not aware how overweight their child is, so physicians, nutritionists and trainers have to be honest with parents. I just think there are kinder words than OBESE to let a parent know their child has a weight problem that is probably negatively affecting their health and emotional well being.

I don’t think it is wise to tell a child they are obese, as it may depress them to such a level that they start dieting at a young age. Studies are showing kids are dieting as young as nine years old. It saddens me, because I know these kids are not doing so in a healthy way, thinking about the long term. Dieting can slow a child’s metabolism and hinder future weight loss. That is why there are so many adults stuck on the diet roller coaster today.

Don’t let your child get on the DIET roller coaster!

  • If you are dieting, STOP! Just start eating healthier, so you can be a good role model!
  • If you aren’t active, start moving. Find fun activities to do as a family.
  • If you need support, seek out a professional dietitian, nutritionist, trainer and/or coach.

Let’s make a healthier future for our children!

Uneducated Weight Loss Coaches can be Detrimental to Your Health

I saw this ad on Craigslist this morning. When I saw the ad I knew I had to share it. Take a moment to read the ad and I will comment afterwards.

Group Weight Loss Coach needed


Date: 2009-08-27, 8:47AM CDT
Reply to:


Weight Loss / Nutrition Coaches
needed for weight loss challenge
program no experience needed
full training provided, P/T; F/T

fun attitude important

up to $1500-$5000/ mo flexible hrs
Bi-Lingual welcome and encouraged
Email your phone number to set up interview:

Don’t be scammed by so called experts

There are so many people on the Internet today selling themselves as experts. As you can see from this ad you may be hiring a so called weight loss coach, nutrition coach, fitness expert, etc… that has 0 experience or education in the field. They just have to have a fun attitude. I don’t know about you, but I would not want to take my car to a mechanic that knew nothing about an engine, but had a great personality. So why would a person go to an untrained person when it puts their health at stake.

These nutrition coaches are trained on a specific fad diet, which may cause you to lose weight at first, so you are tricked in to believing you have found the diet that works. Remember, rebound weight gain + a few extra pounds will follow. You are also gambling with you and your child’s health. Remember, diets send a bad message about food to our children causing an unhealthy relationship with food and weight gain.

Degrees and Certifications your Weight Management/Nutrition Coach should have

If someone is advertising as a weight management/nutrition coach they should have a degree in the field. Look for Dieticians, Nutritionists, Exercise Nutritionists and/or Sports Nutritionists. Find out where they went to school, how long they have been working in the field, and how they keep abreast of the latest information on nutrition. If the coach is also helping you with fitness related information, ensure they have a degree in exercise science. Their degree may be titled differently, so ask questions.

Aside from a degree, they should also be certified through reputable institution. Find out what type of certifications they person has. Some well know certification institutions include;

  • ACSM, NSCA, Cooper Institute, ACE and AFAA for personal training
  • CHESS and Cooper Institute for health promotion
  • Check with ICF for accredited coaching certifications. I went through Coach Training Alliance, so I can vouch for them.

Be careful there are so many out there that just want to take your money. The people they hire may be good people and think they are helping, but the fact is you need an expert when dealing with nutrition, coaching, and exercise.

A Weight Loss Goal Isn't Enough

I was recently talking with a new client, she uttered the words I have heard so many times over the years, “I will be more motivated when I see results”.

I know this is human nature. I also become more motivated when I see results from what I have been doing. But here’s the truth. There will be days, weeks and months, that you aren’t seeing any results. Doesn’t mean you aren’t progressing though. You are probably losing inches, improving your heart health, and laying down the foundation to have sustained weight loss.

I find most people give up after the first four to six weeks or so. Reason being, they saw great results at the beginning of their program and now their body isn’t changing, as rapidly. This is so normal.

Please remember, when you are working to lose weight and keep it off, you are committing to a life long journey to better health for you and your family. You have to have more than the desire to lose weight. You have to have a meaningful reason for pursuing this goal or you will fail.

Think about it, what do your really want for yourself and/or your child that will keep you going even in those times you aren’t having success. It may be you want to see your child’s self esteem rise, maybe even your own. You may be concerned, because your father or mother had a heart attack or diabetes at a young age and you want to put a stop to it in your generation. Every person will have their own reason.

Take the time to figure out your reason. Believe me, it is much more than a number on a scale or a goal weight. Stretch your mind and work to uncover your reason.

I wish I could give you a quick weight loss scheme that would work and you could keep off the weight forever. Unfortunately, there isn’t one. You have to make modifications to your lifestyle and it could take some time. You have to have faith in the process. You have to believe in what you aren’t able to see! Believe me, you will get there, as long as you keep the faith!