THE PAR­ENT FAT TRAP

Once you have kids, it’s easy to leave ex­er­cise and proper nu­tri­tion on the back­burner. Here’s how you can start liv­ing healthily again, even when you think you have no time to do so.

Young Parents (Singapore) - - Contents -

No time to eat healthily or ex­er­cise? This daddy nu­tri­tion ex­pert shows you how to.

When a fit­ness and nu­tri­tion ex­pert writes a

best­selling book ti­tled Why Kids Make You Fat… And How To Get Your Body Back, you know that he un­der­stands par­ents.

“I never un­der­stood my mum’s say­ing of ‘Be­ing a par­ent is a 24-hour job’ un­til I be­came a par­ent my­self,” says Mark Mac­don­ald, who has coached Olympic gold medal­lists, pro­fes­sonal ath­letes and celebri­ties. The 46-year-old has two kids aged 13 and four.

“As par­ents, time be­comes our great­est com­mod­ity. There is al­ways a need for more time to sleep, eat, ex­er­cise, work and, of course, re­lax.

“It is the sheer lack of time and the never-end­ing job as a par­ent that makes it com­mon for us to dis­re­gard our health. But as chal­leng­ing as be­ing a par­ent can be, it is the great­est ex­pe­ri­ence in life as the tough mo­ments are price­less and worth ev­ery sec­ond.”

The founder of Venice Nu­tri­tion and the In­ter­na­tional Board of Nu­tri­tion and Fit­ness Coach­ing vis­ited Sin­ga­pore ear­lier this year to launch a new weight man­age­ment pro­gramme called Zen Project 8. He tells Young Par­ents how busy mums and dads can get healthy and fit.

Many Sin­ga­porean par­ents work long hours and don't spend much time with their kids. How can they still keep t?

It is time to change your mind­set. Be­ing busy makes us think we do not have time to ex­er­cise. This is an old con­cept.

The amount of ac­tive mus­cles in your body has a huge fac­tor in con­trol­ling your me­tab­o­lism. So the more you ac­ti­vate your mus­cles, the faster your re­sults and the stronger your body gets.

Here are five sim­ple ex­er­cises that you can do at your of­fice, home or dur­ing your daily com­mute:

Ditch your chair for an in­flat­able ball By sit­ting on a ball in­stead of a chair, you ac­ti­vate about 50 per cent more mus­cle fibres in your body and burn three times more calo­ries ev­ery hour. Get a stand­ing desk

Stand­ing al­lows your body to stay ac­tive all day long and keep your core strong. Make sure to tighten your ab­dom­i­nals ev­ery 30 min­utes for a bonus burst of mus­cle ton­ing. Do a 60-sec­ond burst of ex­er­cise ev­ery hour

Whether it is run­ning on the spot, do­ing some stretches, hit­ting a squat or do­ing a plank. Per­form an ex­er­cise that keeps you ac­tive dur­ing work. Go for fam­ily walks and bike rides

When you are home, do a fun ac­tiv­ity with your kids in­stead of watch­ing tele­vi­sion or sit­ting still. Get cre­ative on ways to start ex­er­cis­ing as a fam­ily. Take the stairs

Al­ways use the stairs in­stead of tak­ing el­e­va­tors or es­ca­la­tors. Imag­ine the amount of ad­di­tional ex­er­cise you can in­cor­po­rate just by walk­ing all the stairs you en­counter.

As you can see, these are all sim­ple and straight­for­ward ways to stay in­vig­o­rated and keep your body strong in our ev­ery­day lives. Keep adding to this list and adopt an ac­tive life­style whether you are at work, at home, or on-the-go. Many work­ing par­ents in Sin­ga­pore eat out of­ten with their kids, some­times ev­ery day. How can they man­age their weight bet­ter un­der these cir­cum­stances? They can start with ed­u­ca­tion. As par­ents, we face dif­fer­ent hur­dles on how to bring food on the go, and eat­ing balanced meals while din­ing out. With ed­u­ca­tion, ev­ery par­ent can achieve bal­ance with their food, re­gard­less if they cook or eat out.

These are also some fan­tas­tic din­ing out strate­gies to help you and your kids get started: Choose your pro­tein first Pro­tein will help keep your blood sugar balanced and ad­just your body bet­ter.

Cut your rice in half

Most Sin­ga­porean dishes are loaded with car­bo­hy­drates. Sim­ply cut your rice por­tion in half and re­place it with some fresh veg­eta­bles. Choose all sauces on the side

Sauces have lots of hid­den sugar and salt. By plac­ing them on the side, you can de­cide how much sauce to have on your plate. Ask for light oil

Lo­cal dishes are loaded with oil, which is all fat and loaded with calo­ries. Light oil will en­sure you still get fat in each meal in the right amount. Re­mem­ber, you must eat fat to lose body fat. How do you teach your kids about hav­ing a healthy diet and tness? The great­est thing any par­ent can do is to lead by ex­am­ple. Your kids will do what you do and will eat what you eat. So it all starts with you.

My wife, Abbi, and I live by what we teach and prac­tise ev­ery­thing that is shared in this ar­ti­cle. We also know that food is the start and ac­tiv­ity keeps the body healthy and strong.

We ex­er­cise as a fam­ily, whether it is fam­ily hikes, play­ing at the park, bike

The great­est thing any par­ent can do is to lead by ex­am­ple. Your kids will do what you do and will eat what you eat. So it all starts with you.

rides, fris­bee, golf, bas­ket­ball, soc­cer or just run­ning around our house. Ex­er­cis­ing as a fam­ily is the key to in­still­ing these habits in your kids.

If you live it, your kids will live it, and they will teach their kids to live it. This is how gen­er­a­tions of fam­i­lies be­come healthy for life! As a fa­ther of a girl, how do you teach your daugh­ter about pos­i­tive body im­age? It is an equal role for mums and dads. Pos­i­tive body im­age starts by ed­u­cat­ing our chil­dren about food and fit­ness.

Fat cells are pri­mar­ily de­vel­oped dur­ing ado­les­cence. When girls go through pu­berty, there is an in­crease in the level of fat stor­ing hor­mones, namely es­tro­gen and pro­ges­terone.

A teenager needs to un­der­stand the food they are eat­ing to pre­vent spikes in their blood sugar and the stor­age of un­nec­es­sary fat cells. This is es­sen­tial to en­sure they live life as a lean and healthy adult.

While food ed­u­ca­tion solves the phys­i­o­log­i­cal part of body im­age, the psy­cho­log­i­cal part of body im­age comes down to the teenager’s en­vi­ron­ment. I grew up with two sis­ters and watched my mum and dad em­power my sis­ters about their body im­age and con­fi­dence.

As dad to my girl, Hope, it is all about ac­knowl­edg­ing and pro­vid­ing her with the strength and con­fi­dence to love her­self and feel good about her body.

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