Our Holiday Toy Drive is On!

We are  excited to launch our 2nd Annual Maplewood Boot Camp Holiday Toy Drive. Our toy drive starts this Friday, November 27th and runs through Monday, December 13th.

To say thank you for your donation, anyone who brings a new unwrapped toy can attend a week of boot camp for free.

All of the toys collected with be donated to the Parenting Center of Maplewood South Orange School District which services families in our area. Last holiday season, bundles of toys were donated to more than 145 families in need from the South Orange-Maplewood School District.

Let’s work together to make a difference again this year to help our neighbors this holiday season.

San Francisco Officially Bans Happy Meals With Toys

This is an amazing idea! San Francisco lawmakers voted Tuesday to override Mayor Gavin Newsom’s veto on a measure to ban fast-food restaurants from including toys with children’s meals that do not meet nutritional guidelines.

The city’s Board of Supervisors gave the measure final approval with an 8-3 vote on Tuesday. It goes into effect in December 2011.

The ordinance prohibits toy giveaways in fast-food children’s meals that have more than 640 milligrams of sodium, 600 calories or 35 percent of their calories from fat.

The law also limits saturated fats and trans fats and requirex fruits or vegetables to be served with each meal that includes a toy.

Supervisor Eric Mar, the measure’s chief sponsor, says the ordinance will help create healthier choices to our kids.”

I agree. I think a toy in an unhealthy meal encourages and rewards poor eating. This is a great change and I hope it gets implemented everywhere soon and not just San Francisco!

In Flex We Trust » San Francisco Officially Bans Happy Meals With Toys.

Our 2nd Annual Turkey Burn and Holiday Toy Drive

It’s that time of year again. Turkey, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie kick off a month long holiday season where a temptation to indulge lurks around every corner. To help you keep off those extra holiday pounds, we’d like to invite you to our annual Turkey Burn.

Bring your friends and family down to Memorial Park on Friday morning 9:30am (not too early!) for a free session of boot camp to burn off some of Thursday’s turkey!

Maplewood Boot Camp Holiday Toy Drive starts this Friday 11/27

Along with Friday’s Turkey Burn we are also excited to launch our 2nd Annual Maplewood Boot Camp Holiday Toy Drive. Our toy drive starts this Friday, November 27th and runs through Monday, December 13th.

To say thank you for your donation, anyone who brings a new unwrapped toy can attend a week of boot camp for free. All of the toys collected with be donated to the Parenting Center of Maplewood South Orange School District which services families in our area. Last holiday season, bundles of toys were donated to more than 145 families in need from the South Orange-Maplewood School District.

Let’s work together to make a difference again this year to help our neighbors this holiday season.

Investigating Alkaline Water: Fabulous or Fraud?

Is it absolutely fabulous or a fraud?

Imagine being able to turn your bad health into optimal health, regain the energy of your youth, and feel better than you have in years – all by drinking a little bit of water. It may sound preposterous, but it’s what advocates for alkaline water claim.

If you’ve ever been approached about some of this seemingly miraculous water, you may have wondered about the real truth behind this H2O. Well, here it is.

Reasoning behind Alkaline

According to alkaline water drinkers, you can’t have good health unless you have enough alkaline in your body. Otherwise, you will have too much acid in your body, which can lead to all sorts of health maladies affecting virtually any and every part of your body. The most obvious symptoms of an overly acidic system include fatigue, aches and pains, and low energy.

In order to combat these potential issues, alkaline water lovers insist all you have to do is drink some of the water they have to offer. It comes in all sorts of containers and sizes and you can even buy drops to add to your normal water to turn it into alkaline-strong water. But wait – there’s more!

Some More Potential Perks

As if overcoming and avoiding fatigue and low energy weren’t enough to get you in the mood for some pain-reducing alkaline water, it seems there are even more reasons to go for this improved water. It is also thought to help your body better use and absorb nutrients from the foods you eat. This means you not only feel better from the water itself, but your body is better able to keep you going strong even when you’re not sipping on alkaline.

Top this off with an improved ability to age slower than your friends, and alkaline water seems to be more miracle cure than common household drink. But it still seems a bit too good to be true, doesn’t it? After all, if something as simple as alkaline water could make you live longer and feel better, everyone would know about it and would be drinking it nonstop. Right?

What the Science Says

At this time, there is no scientific study that backs up any claims made by the alkaline-drinking public. There is, however, a bit of evidence that bone loss can be slowed through drinking alkaline water, but that research has not been maintained long term, making it difficult to determine whether a lifetime of alkaline water means a lifetime of bone protection.

Instead of alkaline water, you will get plenty of what your body needs by drinking regular old water out of the tap. And if you feel the need to decrease your body’s intake of acid, you can always do it through a more cost-effective manner: your grocer’s fresh food aisle. A few foods to avoid if you want to reduce your body’s acidity include citrus fruits, red meat, coffee, and sugar. To boost your alkaline levels at the same time, eat spinach, peas, tomatoes, avocadoes, and almonds. If nothing else, these dietary changes will help you consume less fat and will result in better health, regardless of your thoughts on alkaline.

Battery Power

Your body isn’t the only thing that is powered by alkaline. Many batteries are as well. Within an alkaline battery, a chemical reaction is required to produce the electrical energy needed to power your favorite electronics.

In an alkaline battery, zinc and manganese dioxide must react to set the energy production into effect. When these chemicals no longer react with one another and lose their charges, the battery is deemed dead and useless.

Perks of Pre-Pregnancy Workouts

So you think you want to settle down, eh? Time to have a family? Then you better be in good shape right now. Because while you know well the benefits of exercising during pregnancy, you may not be aware of the powerful perks of pre-pregnancy workouts.

When you think you’re about ready to become a mother, remember to get fit first for these three reasons.

Easier Transition into Pregnancy Workouts

You know that exercising during pregnancy is great for you and the baby. But getting started in an exercise routine when you’re pregnancy is no easy feat. To make it a little easier, you should go ahead and get in the habit of exercising right now, when you’re not pregnant. That way, your body already craves exercise, and you become accustomed to going to the gym every day.

When baby begins to develop inside of you, your pre-pregnancy regimen will have already developed good habits in you. Now all you have to do is keep them up.

Easier Pregnancy

No, pregnancy is not an easy task by any means. It can be full of morning sickness, sleepless nights, and aches and pains. However, exercise can make pregnancy a little bit more tolerable. Thanks to your dedication to working out before getting pregnant, working out during your pregnancy is made a bit easier.

Not only does regular exercise help you sleep better, but it also improves your moods and helps you block out minor aches and pains that you may be dealing with on a daily basis. On top of that, exercising while pregnant helps your baby be as healthy as possible. But your willingness and desire to exercise throughout pregnancy is increased dramatically if you begin your workouts well before taking the pregnancy plunge.

Easier Post-Pregnancy Weight Loss

After baby has arrived, the purpose of your exercise shifts immediately. You’re on a mission to regain your pre-pregnancy shape, no matter what it takes. Fortunately, your pre-pregnancy exercise routine makes it a little easier to return to your former glory. Because not only did you work out before your pregnancy, but your dedication pushed you to exercise throughout your pregnancy. And now that same determination will have you back in the gym after having your child, as you work to shed those pregnancy pounds.

Is it possible to never step foot in a gym and begin exercising after you’ve given birth? Of course it is. That doesn’t mean you should. With pre-pregnancy workouts, you can prepare yourself for the rigors of staying fit during and after pregnancy, while helping keep your skin nice and tight, whether you’re about to be pregnant, are in the middle of your pregnancy, or gave birth last week.

Making Baby Adjustments

When you begin pre-pregnancy workouts, you should push yourself to your limits. As you learn your body’s ability, you can go a little longer with a little more intensity. But when you become pregnant, you’ll have to re-evaluate your limits to avoid overdoing it.

Once you begin to develop a little bit of a pooch, you may not be able to go as long or as hard as you once could. You may also find it more difficult to maintain your balance the further along you get in your pregnancy. Instead of trying to force your body to submit to your demands, back off a bit to ensure the health and safety of both you and your baby.

If you’ve not exercise prior to getting pregnant, start as soon as possible. Just be careful when you enter your exercise routine that you take it slow and with great caution to avoid falling down or pushing your body too hard. The last thing you want is to be stuck on bed rest as you overcome an exercise-related injury. So exercise while you’re pregnant, but be smart about it.

What Makes Us Overeat?

It’s the downfall of every diet you try. You’re eating the right foods, you’re exercising, but…you’re overeating. Each time you reach for a serving of apple pie, that second chicken cutlet, or another slice of pizza, you’re not thinking about how it might wreak havoc with your diet plans. But afterwards, you’ll regret it and it will leave you wondering just how much is too much.

Too many dieters fall into the trap of binge eating while on a diet. They’re not really hungry, but they can’t stop themselves from reaching for more food.

How many times have you heard a person look at someone who has some weight to lose and say they have no willpower. That must surely be the reason they are overweight, right? If they’d only stop putting food in their mouth, they’d lose weight. Others may say that the person has developed habits that they need to change in order to be successful at losing weight.

A person is overeating when they continue to eat, even when they are not hungry. Most people in America overeat, which is why obesity has grown steadily over the past few decades.

What makes a person overeat if they aren’t hungry? Is it lack of willpower, as some people assume? Or is it something that has become a habit that can be changed?

Definition of Willpower

The definition of willpower is having control over ones actions, and being able to control impulses. Willpower is not a constant thing. It changes with your emotions. For instance, when you are feeling good about yourself, your willpower may be strong. When something has happened in your life that gets your down or causes stress, you may feel that you have to struggle to maintain your willpower.

Definition of Habit

The definition of habit is an acquired behavior pattern that, when repeated often enough, becomes involuntary. A lot of people reach for food without even thinking. In fact, at the end of the day most people couldn’t accurately tell you what they ate during the day because they weren’t paying attention.

So which is it that really keeps you overeating? To some degree, both willpower and habit contribute to overeating. You need to have willpower in order to break the pattern of overeating and change the habit. But there is more at play than just these two things.

When a person is unable to stay on a diet, for whatever reason, he or she becomes depressed. This works against their willpower and changes the psychology of the mind to believe there is no reason to try any longer, making it easier for the person to fall back on old habits. Developing new habits can help sustain your willpower.

Strategies to Stop Overeating

  • Learn what a healthy portion size is and stick to it. Americans have gotten used to “super” sizes, but we don’t really need to eat that much. In fact, a healthy portion is much smaller.
  • Divide your plate into sections. Don’t deprive yourself from sampling your favorite foods. Instead of taking a big portion of lasagna to fill your plate, take a small portion and fill the rest of the plate with healthy vegetables or salad to help fill you.
  • Drink water during a meal or when you are tempted to eat outside of a meal to create a feeling of being. You may be mistaking hunger for being dehydrated.
  • Eat fiber rich foods. Fiber absorbs water and expands in the stomach, creating a feeling of being full.
  • Don’t “taste-test” your food while cooking. There are calories in those little spoonfuls you’re taking during meal preparation. You may be testing so much that you’ve had half a meal before you even sit down at the dinner table.
  • Eat healthy fruit desserts. Instead of chocolate cake, try a bowl of fruit salad. It’ll satisfy your sweet-tooth, while give you a feeling of indulgence.
  • Keep a journal. Write down every single bit of food you put in your mouth. It will be eye opening at first. After a while, your habits will change and you won’t need the journal anymore.

By changing just a few habits, you will find your willpower increases, you’ll lose weight and feel healthier.

Fit or Fat?

What should you set your eyes on?

If you watch much television or read many fitness magazines, you may think that becoming ripped is the goal of anyone who works out. But should that really be the goal of your exercise routine?

Ever wondered how to view the division between fit and fat? You’re not alone.

Understanding Overweight and Obesity

Ideally, every person will weigh the proper weight that allows him or her to function well during the day. Since being underweight or overweight can do significant damage to the body’s organs, bones, and joints, obtaining and maintaining a healthy weight is paramount to overall good health.

However, as very few people in the developed world are underweight, the primary issue people face with regard to their weight is being overweight or even obese. In some parts of the world – the United States of America primarily – the number of people who weigh more than they ought has grown to such numbers that an epidemic has been declared.

When an individual’s body mass index (BMI is a measure of body fat based on a comparison of your height and weight) is 25 or higher, the individual is deemed overweight. A BMI of 30 or higher indicates obesity. Falling into either category greatly increases an individual’s risk for diabetes, heart disease, cancers, and countless other diseases.

What Makes You Fit

Thanks to a recent study published by the American College of Sports Medicine, the view of what it means to be fit may be changing. That’s because the study found that while being thin is nice, it does not mean you’re fit. Rather, being fit requires some effort.

During the study, three groups of overweight individuals were told to do three different things. Group one was told to keep doing what they were doing, group two was put on a diet, and the third group was put on a diet and given an exercise regimen to stick with throughout the duration of the six-month trial.

When the study was complete, the two groups of people that changed their habits lost weight. Researchers expected this, as did the general public. What is surprising many people, though, is that losing weight was found to not be enough to improve a person’s overall fitness.

Only the group that dieted and exercised regularly improved the function of their internal organs and thereby enjoyed increased overall fitness. In other words, both groups who dieted dropped weight (approximately 10 percent of their overall body weight), but exercise was the deciding factor in whether an individual improved his or her blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and cardiovascular fitness.

Making the Difference

As the study showed, exercise makes the difference in being fit, fat, or naturally thin. So what does this mean for you? It means that sticking with your regular exercise routine – no matter how difficult it may be at times – isn’t just a good idea for your good looks. It makes all the difference in your good health and well-being.

But how hard do you have to work out? It depends on your goal. The individuals in the study were put on exercise routines that burned off 500 calories for men and 400 for women each day. However, these were overweight individuals who could safely lose a substantial amount of weight. If you’re already at a healthy weight and want to take your overall fitness to the next level, you may want to burn even more calories. Just remember to do it safely, eat plenty of healthy foods every day, and not overwork any specific muscle group during your routine.

Bigger than BMI

Want to get a handle on how fat or fit you are? You’ll need to work with a health or exercise professional. Because while knowing your body mass index is helpful, it does not give a full picture of your overall health.