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Viewer Mail. The childish edition.

Wed, Sep 24, 2008

Viewer mail

MizFit, you mention your Tornado a lot but never talk about how you encourage her to be fit and healthy. Then yesterday you had a video where you talked about her not liking sugar. Id love to have some tips on getting my son not to love sugar and to exercise more. he’s five. THANKS!!!!!

(I think that the emailer was referring to this video when she referenced my Tornado not liking sugar. Definitely a stretch to say not liking—-but I get what she was going for.)

I dont talk much about working to keep my Toddler fit & healthy mainly because she’s almostthree.

I guess I forget, at times, not all kids her age are go go go (hence the moniker) & should be more appreciative that she’d prefer to be outside running than inside watching TV and quit bitchin about it all the time.

She, in fact, finds it odd (if by odd you mean irritating which I think I do!) when I plop on the couch to watch her frolic & immediately launches into shouting:

Dance, Mommy, dance!!!

But I digress…

Kind of.

Here in Casa MizFit it’s 100% about leading by example.

In everything. From my straight-outta-the-bag-flax-seed-chowing to treating others with kindness.

I take full advantage that the Ren Man & I are powerful influences in her life right now & know that my DOING SOMETHING (eating veggies) is far more likely to trigger her to want to do it then when I command (eat.this.now.Im.so.not.playing.DOIT.).

The other thing I do (which would work with a five year old) is only offer options with which Im happy. I rarely, for example, ask her *what* she wants to do. Im more likely to ask if she wants to go play at the park, take a walk or turn on the music & dance?

Im less likely to ask her WHAT she wants to eat than inquire if she wants some tomatoes, a carrot or some broccoli?

I always offer choices where Im happy with ANY of the options she might choose (and yes, of course, this sometimes includes the words: chocolate or vanilla?).

While this may cease working in a decade or so—- right now she’s under my jurisdiction so to speak.

If she’s eating far too many Oreos not only does that mean that they’re in the domicile (which they are. we’re an everything in moderation family) but at her age someone is ‘allowing’ that to happen (points at self).

It is far easier to toss oreos down her piehole & lure her into watching Hi-5 than it is to make her healthy food & go outside in the heat to play Fisher Price Toddler Golf—-I just keep reminding myself of the disservice Id be doing her if I consistently take the easy way out.

(Im not gonna lie. There are Dibbs Ice Cream Snack Bags/Curious George afternoons up in herre for sure)

In summation (& here’s where your thoughts, oh Bumbling Band, are welcome. whether you have a child or not. we’ve all witnessed this struggle in some fashion.):

Exercise & healthy eating are very alike in that they’re about making it fun (the foods & the active play), role modeling, & making neither (the exercise or any sort of food deprivation) a form of punishment.

Still with my longwindedass self? This Viewer Mail email caused another email message to catch my eye when it might otherwise have gone unnoticed.

(this is where you stop skimmimg. FREEBIE ALERT)

Anyone checked out this site yet?

GoTryBe is a little old for my Tornado yet it’s the perfect thing for the emailer’s son & all kids up to about age 15 or so (although the site does technically target through 12th grade).

Anyone can check it out for a free 7 day trial and I did just to see what it was like.

My first thought was that it’s a site to which kids will respond.

It’s hip looking, fun, and when you join you get to create your own avatar (complete with different color skintones which I always like to see and *lots* of cool ways to personalize).

The more I explored the more I LOVED that GoTryBe is definitely a site kids can use on their own (a fact I think is important not necessarily for the five year old but for the preteen set. The tweens/teens who really need to maintain a semblance of privacy (and in my opinion ownership) with regards their exercise goals).

Basically kids have a chance to build their own workout routine/plan (comprised of a warm up, cardiovascular exercise and a cool down) or use one which is already created.

There are a number of fun videos and, emailer, it’s definitely an easy way to both role model for your son & have *fun* as you do the exercises together.

My Toddler loved the video segments.

There’s an exercise journal where older kids can record their activity for the day (and their feelings about the exercise) & also a way for Trybe’rs to earn points by completing various sections of the site.

And YES there’s also the always required CHAT section so that kids can talk about working out, sports, nutrition, and probably a bunch of other things this almost40yearold doesnt understand.

Sound interesting? It is. There’s so much to explore that this tiny snippet does not do the site justice (and why they offer a free 7 day trial Im sure).

What am I offering? A free year membership to one lucky Bumbling Band member.

You can use it for your child or, perhaps, you know the perfect niece, nephew, grandchild, neighbor who would love an opportunity to GoTryBe.

You can be entered to win for the lowlow price of a comment below. On any of this. I know I’d love your insights as would, Im sure, our emailer.

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98 Responses to “Viewer Mail. The childish edition.”

  1. tokaiangel says:

    I have no kids but the emphasis here is very much on the YET. I always find it fascinating reading how others manage to gee up their kids and get them excited about activity and eating sensible without ever being restrictive. Can’t wait to read the slew of comments I sense is coming!

    Regarding your Lead By Example point (which I wholeheartedly endorse) …My partner is a strict vegan with not-the-healthiest approach to eating. How on earth can we raise our children without a little of this faddiness rubbing off? I mean, can a child eat healthy when daddy has chips (fries) for tea EVERY NIGHT? And no, he won’t change….

    TA x

  2. MizFit says:

    I love that you asked this TA as, in a sense, we’re that way up in herre.
    I tend to eat really healthy (more preservative/prepackaged perhaps than the typically Bumbling Band member because my lifestyle is hectic now—-but better than the average american :) ) and Ren Man? not so much.

    especially on the weekends when our daughter is around him the most.

    I actually like this as it’s a GREAT teaching moment about moderation.

    YES she can have some of dad’s pizza/chips/ice cream but it needs to be balanced out with some XYZ (fruit/veggie/whole grains etc).

    And, not surprisingly, the older she gets and the more aware she becomes the more REN MAN is changing his habits (!) because he sees her watching.

    (and even more motivating for him to change, which I didnt see coming, is shifting his ‘diet’ because he wants to be around for her/live longer.)


  3. Christine says:

    Having kids eventually is one of the reasons why I’m changing now - leading by example is definitely the only way kids with my genetics (and thus, my righteous indignation) are going to ever build healthy habits.

  4. Lance says:

    Everything in moderation - You said it, and I think that’s the key. I have three not-so-little tornadoes. We’re looking at nearteen, preteen, and early teen.

    I’ll start with eating. They learn what they see. So we eat lots of vegetables and healthy proteins. And they have just accepted that that’s the way it is. But, we also have ice cream nights, and chips and salsa, and lemon bars (mmm….my daughter just made them yesterday). Some days are struggles (our youngest could live on soda and chips - but he gets very little).

    For exercise: We encourage them to get outside. They play sports (because the like to). On organized teams. In the back yard. Winter brings out the sleds for some sledding down the hill in the backyard. And they get a good workout just building jumps take the sleds off of. But, then there is also the draw of computer games and television. We try to keep that in moderation too. It takes a watchful eye.

    We kind of go with what feels right. And we try to set an example that we would want them to follow. Some days it works. Other days we struggle. But, overall I think it works more than it doesn’t…

  5. Hilary says:

    “m less likely to ask her WHAT she wants to eat than inquire if she wants some tomatoes, a carrot or some broccoli?”

    And when you only have one kind of veggie that you want to get into the kidlet, other option types help too. “Do you want your broccoli in the duckie dish or in the striped dish?.. or maybe you want to eat it from your cup!” Kids are easy to dupe.. for a bit. They get at you by keeping you in a constant state of worry when they hit their teens.

  6. Annette says:

    that site is so cool!!! Jacob is 7 and could really benefit. Too many years of me being a slacker mom and taking the easy way out plus combine that with sluggish genes have added pounds to the boy that make me want to slap myself.

    Since changing our eating habits and adding more exercise (not a diet remember), Jacob is down 8lbs since May. We still have a ways to go but even if he just maintains his weight as he gets taller, that is a victory too.

    As you said, MizFit, it is easier to take the tv/sit around route. After dinner last night I was still alone with them like I had been all day and I was beat. He and the 3 yr old asked if I would take them out……..which meant taking the twin tornados out too! At first, I said no. Then I saw their disappointed faces and asked myself why I said no. It was because I was tired but they needed to get that energy out and run. Could I benefit from getting my big butt off the couch and away from recorded episodes of Maggie and the Ferocious Beast. YES! So, we got shoes on all the feet and went out for about a half hour. It was a nice Fall evening and I took a box to get more pears off the tree and ground……so a little more exercise and the kids helped.

    It is TOO easy to take the easy route. If you do this too often, your kids will suffer and you’ll want to shake yourself in a few years when you see a child who could stand to lose a few pounds. They are too young to have to watch their weight. Start now on eating healthy and moving more…….the whole family. Lead by example as MizFit said. It is the only way to go. Forcing issues never works ;)

  7. Sagan says:

    This is really great- its definitely an excellent way to raise kids! My uncle (50 something) and aunt (late 30′s) are due to have TWINS in about 2 weeks, and my family is really close with them so I expect to spend lots of time helping them out and babysitting- they are going to be so exhausted all the time! (They don’t have any other kids). So I will be sure to implement some of these ideas when helping to “raise” them:)

    Also- this can be taken in view of every other aspect of life. Leading by example with everyone- not just kids.

  8. Cammy says:

    No kids here, but friends have shared what worked for them over the years. It seems as though getting kids involved in preparing meals helps. A friend got her 4-yr old to eat spinach by “letting” her make a spinach fritatta thingie in the microwave. The kid loved squeezing the water out of the thawed spinach and then stirring it with the eggs Mom cracked for her. My friend said she knew fresh spinach would be better, but the fact that her daughter ASKED for “spinach ‘n’ eggs” three times a week was enough for her at that point. :)

  9. MizFit says:

    you awake and insightful (thanks Hilary for clarifying that about the specific food/veggie).

    Ive been known to cave and lure her with special ‘treats’ like wearing Mommy’s necklaces while she chomps on her broccoli trees.

    whatever works.
    hell, Ive been known to lure the Ren Man to better eating with the promise of treats (winkwink)—whatever works.


  10. MizFit says:

    Cammy you were typing whilst my thumbs were flying so I wanna add YESYESYES.

    She knows that DietWhatevs!NowWithThreeThousandTimesTheCaffeine! (I know. I know.) is strictly a mommy thing so, when I pretend to give in and share stuff that she THINKS is a mommy thing (read: asparagus) she gets ALL EXCITED and tries without hesitation.

    and often likes it.


  11. Marianne says:

    Oh…my kids used to eat more veg and fruit, but now that they are entering the teens it seems to be our fulcrum of control. So, I have to agree with choices, choices, choices. I put a lot of them on the table.

    Our oldest is so not into organized sports, that it is definitely a challenge to get him moving. Besides the club, he works in the garden and roller blades with the dog. It does get challenging as they get older, so sometimes you have to get creative!

    : )

  12. Crabby McSlacker says:

    No kids so I shouldn’t really weigh in, but can I just say I LOVE the thing about the choices rather than the open ended “what do you want?”

    I don’t know how many times I’ve heard parents negotiating and even pleading with their toddlers as though the toddler had the ultimate say in what was going to happen. It’s great to offer choices so kids have options and feel empowered, but it’s cool that in your house, the grownups are ultimately in charge.

  13. MizFit says:

    and marianne??

    I can only *imagine* the creativity required later (which is why I loved the giveaway. I write for tweens/teen in my spare time and can entirely see its hip-factor appealing to their creative need.)


    When I become thou (or, more aptly put, Orney) I will often say out loud to the Tornado:

    I will not negotiate with Toddler Terrorists.

    She has no clue what I mean but it makes me laugh and remember why I’m drawing the particular boundary I am…


  14. Linda/Hughsmom says:

    I still struggle with getting my kiddo to eat healthy. I do most of the time, but he “hates” all veggies except lettuce. He would eat pre-fab caesar salad every day if I’d shell out the $$. It’s tough to get him to change, then again we have bigger fish to fry these days.

    Miz - love the choices you can live with thing. Jim Fay’s Love and Logic approach does work well for most things, even later in life. http://www.loveandlogic.com/articles.html

    I use choices with a lot of success with everything BUT food.

  15. Fattygetsfit says:

    i used to trick the kids i babysat for into drinking water.

    “hey kids, want to some water?”
    “hey kids, want some H 2 O?”
    what’s that? that sounds cool!

    Umm, I am not even close to procreating at this point in my life. My boyfriend doesn’t eat anything green (besides Mountain Dew!?!?!) and once told me that we could never marry because I don’t cook fattening enough.

    I plan on raising HEALTHY children who don’t have to battle with their weight like I did.

  16. Marianne says:

    Linda, I have a caesar salad lover, too. I make my own and send it with him (we use romaine). Try chopping spinach and adding it, small amounts first, then as he gets accustomed to it, add more. It helps to chop it so that it mixes in well with the other lettuce and the taste is muted.

    Miz, what exactly is this “spare time” you speak of? And how does one go about getting some?

    Off to make breakfast #2….

  17. Andrew(AJH) says:

    As soon as I read the Viewer Email question, I just knew the words “Lead By Example” were going to be coming up pretty soon. Add to that some education on what is good and why it is good and you have the perfect answer.

  18. MizFit says:

    yesyesYES on the love and logic, FDW.
    thanks for bringing that up.
    (here it wouldnt be a postlength topic—-more a dissertation)

    and Marianne? you dont pee and lock the child out and tune out the screamsandwails with your own personal mantra of SERENITY NOW?

    is that bad?

    AJH? thanks for expanding and including. were I not firmly instructed by the powers that be NOT to use this word I have sprinkled liberal amounts of EDUTAINMENT into the post.

    you should SEE me rapping about the virtues of complex carbs up in herre.


  19. Donnalouise says:

    Jason and Tommy have the basement all to themselves and yes, they play soccer and hockey down there. Some have asked me how I could allow them to play hockey in the house - well, it’s in the basement and the rest of the house is untouched AND most importantly, it keeps them active even when it’s not nice outside to play. So the basement walls are a little (lot) marked up, it’s there area and I’m glad they use it for more than playing video games.

  20. vickie says:

    kids really do have to learn about healthy food and lifestyle habits. and for them to learn - we have to teach and in order to teach, we have to DO.

    My kids are 10, 14, 18.

    The oldest child is in college. He is eating healthy, eating whole foods as close to their natural state as possible, and eating at meal time. He keeps NO food in his dorm room. He is drinking water. He is exercising on a regular basis (volleyball in the pool with a group of guy most afternoons). He is walking everywhere he goes and not driving.

    The 14 year old is in high school and is my pickiest eater - but she does better and better - and we talk about food choices and habits.

    My youngest has IBS (irritable bowel) and is symptom free (with no meds) with whole foods and balance meals. And SHE KNOWS that it is the food choices that are keeping the ‘discomfort’ away.

    I did not start out with teaching my kids healthy habits. And when I started - it was a LONG road. We are still working on the habits and the education. And you are absolutely right - the ‘problem’ in the beginning was MY taking the easy way out - feeding them as fast as possible. thinking of myself and not of them.

  21. Kyra says:

    I have a 10 yr old, and an almost 8 yr old (and suddenly I feel old.) My kids are gogogogogogogogogo! I have to corner them to stop. I always offered the fruits and veggies, along with junk now and then (rarely) and I didn’t mention anything really. It turns out that they actually almost always preferred (and still do) the fruits and veggies. My kids will get cravings for carrots and bananas, and they’ll actually pick them over the oreos about 8 times out of 10.

    However, I also highly suspect that my children are alien robots, bent on conquering the earth, and blending in by being perfect.

    They scare me a little, because seriously? I’d totally pick that oreo over a carrot. Not saying I DO, but given a choice… *ahem*

    Activity in the house is probably helped by the fact that Daddy runs the soccer program and coaches, mommy works out ever day, coaches soccer, and has recently taken up fencing, and with 11 acres even a walk to the mailbox is an effort.

  22. MizFit says:

    donnalouise, you make a really good point. Im by no means a neatfreak but embracing the mess has been a journey for me.

    ESPECIALLY the mess of the Tornado when she ‘explores’ a new food (taste it damnit! are words I struggle not to utter as she feels its texture and sniffs its scent).

    I needed your reminder about that.

    and Vickie? Im so struggling NOT to thumbtype:

    dont be mad at yourself…its ok to take the easy way sometimes…all that matters is youve realized it…and in the moment it can feel as though it’s for THEM (they sooo love the cookieicecreamcandy)


    all that does matter is today!

    do check out the free trial of the site—even if you dont send your kids there! I found many good ideas and tips (and Im 100% one NOT to endorse if I dont believe. Ive worked to hard to create the HONESTY being the MizFit brand!)


  23. Dani says:

    I don’t have kids yet, but love your point of view. I think you hit the nail on the head when you talk about leading by example!!

  24. Kate says:

    GoTrBe looks like a great site… for younger kids (maybe very young to about 10). If the questions and activities are on the same level as those shown in the tour, I don’t think it’d be terribly beneficial to my kids (who are 14)

    One thing I’ve found with these sites that are teaching you and providing online support and motivation, is that you end up spending an awful lot of time there.

    Recently, for example, I signed up for The Biggest Loser League, and now spend more than twice the time I used to sitting on my butt in front of the computer soaking in motivation and education… time that probably would have been better spent out on a walk, doing some steps, or catching up on some sleep.

    I think I’d much rather see my kids with DDR or Wii Fit. Then you move AS you play (or watch) which seems to me to make a lot more sense.

  25. charlotte says:

    This is a great idea. I love anything that helps kids be happier and healthier! But my favorite part of your post was when you said you lead by example, whether that be eating flax out of the bag or treating others with kindness. You ARE such a good example of the latter. (Never seen you do the former but I’m sure you do that with elan as well!). The Tornado is a lucky daughter:)

  26. sassy stephanie says:

    One of my running buddies has a 9 year old daughter that packs her lunch for school. A typical day may include carrot sticks, hummus, blueberries, hand snacking granola, a wrap. The other kids MAKE FUN of her healthy eating! So many kids eat processed, prepackaged items and call them “food”. Sad.

  27. Alexia says:

    I’m all about offering choices that let them make a choice but I know the choice will be one I’m OK with. I do that at work, too.

  28. Christie I. says:

    I just want to say that there should be more mommies in the world like you Mizfit.

  29. HangryPants says:

    I love this post! I love children and think it’s so important to teach children how to make healthy choices, which means having the occasional treat. Your tornado is lucky to have you, MizFit.

  30. MizFit says:

    thanks Kate for making a point I’d totally missed.

    That no matter how fab the chat area or how focused on nutrition (just to use as an example) it is still ass-sitting (yeah, I said it) and, as with our aforementioned HouseOreos, needs to be used sparingly.

    And as far as the great mama (thank you for your kind words) stuff it’s one day at a time up in herre and I’m confident I’ll screw her up one way or another ;) out of sheer love.


  31. Teresa says:

    I think that leading by example is a great method. Especially at a young age, kids are all about “monkey see, monkey do!”
    GoTrybe.com looks pretty cool. I have a 10-year-old niece and nephew (twins) who would love this site. The boy is go-go-go, so he has no trouble staying fit. And, he’ll try anything new food-wise, including any new fruit or vegetable you put in front of him. The girl, however, loves to sit in front of the TV and LOVES bread (or anything else full of carbs), and its starting to show. SHE could really benefit from this site. Even if I don’t win, I’m forwarding the link to their parents.
    Thanks, Miz!

  32. RooBabs says:

    Hahaha- I love the “I will not negotiate with Toddler Terrorists”!! LOL.

    I think leading by example is a very powerful weapon in the “war on terror”. I would like to think that I am the healthier of the 2 eaters in my household (the Hubs is quite fond of soda and cookies, and eating out every day for lunch), and hopefully we’ll be able to raise somewhat healthy kids (if they get his genes they’ll never be fat, but that doesn’t guarantee the “healthy”).

    Anyway, the site looks really fun and engaging, although a good point (Kate) about it possibly luring them into spending too much computer time when they should be active.

    And am I the only one who thinks it’s weird for kids at such a young age to be thinking about being active in terms of “cardio” and “strength”? When I was younger, we just did “stuff”, we didn’t “workout” (okay, I did start lifting weights at 14, but forget that for a minute). I was alwaysd riding a bike or rollerskating, or walking to the elementary school playground, or other things like that.

    You always read things targeted to adults to try to get them to do things that are fun, and not necessarily a structured workout, but here we are trying to get our kids into the mindset of “working out”. I like the education aspect of it, and it’s great for motivation and accountability, but it still seems weird to me. Am I just not “hip” to what the kids these days are doing?

  33. Felice says:

    I love that Fisher Price toddler golf set! My toddler has so much fun whacking at the balls, chasing them, the whole thing.

    One thing I try not to do is call junk foods “treats.” If I’m having tortilla chips at lunch, I have a few and toddler can have a few, along with the rest of what is usually a healthy-ish lunch. That way, they are just something to have, in moderation, not something to crave or be rewarded with.

  34. The Bag Lady says:

    No kids here, but that doesn’t stop me from having lots of opinions!

    I’ve so often heard the complaint “I can’t get my kid to do ~~whatever it is~~”, and as I watch their child terrorize the world, I think to myself “Who is the grown-up?” I would never dream of saying it out loud, (~ahem, most of the time I dream of it, but never do it!~) but there have been times I’ve REALLY wanted to.

    (Of course, it’s easy to sit back and criticize whilst never having been in the situation myself….)

    Love your attitude about giving the tornado choices, rather than the “what in the whole wide world would satisfy you now?” So many parents don’t “get” that - give a child limited, healthy choices, and they will learn to make the correct choices, right?

  35. tfh says:

    OK, I am going to become a Really Judgmental Person Without Children Who Can’t Understand How Hard It Is right now:

    CERTAIN people in my life (coughallmyinlawscough) need to read this, learn it, LIVE it. Mealtimes with their toddlers are hugely stressful battles in which they end up chasing them around and shoving food into their mouths while the kids heave with sobs (not just toddlers, either, one mom does this with her 5-year-old!). I know it’s hugely frustrating for them and they need sympathy not judgment, but I feel that for many of them meals become a symbol of how much control they feel they need to exert over their kids…eek.

    While being a good example sounds challenging (sometimes I just want to watch reality tv and eat ice cream from the container), it cannot be worse than the above situation, repeated three times daily.

  36. SlackerMama says:

    One of the keys in the Slacker household is *choices*. Both my husband and I work and sometimes we all get home starving hungry and still have to cook dinner. The kids get options of stuff that, if it ruins their dinner so be it because it was pretty darn healthy — apple with PB, carrots, grape tomatoes, etc.

    And, I really try to lead by *good* example. They see me working out and eating vegetables, etc., and don’t see me weighing myself or saying I’m fat, etc.

  37. Leigh Anne says:

    I’m feeling a lot of ambivalence about the job I’m doing with this lately. DD goes to daycare and plays hardcore a lot during the day. In the evenings she just seems to want some veg time. So I’m trying to let that happen without stressing about it. But then it’s hard to break out of that home routine on the weekends. She has a gymnastics class on Saturdays and we try to do some sort of outdoor play on Sundays but you are right about it being so much easier to take the easy route.

    She does see me coming in from my runs in the morning/stretching/doing pushups/situps and always asks me “Why you doing that Mommy?” (she’s 2) and I always make my answer something along the lines of it’s fun or it makes me stronger and leave the weight loss out of it all together.

    As for meal time, I grew up with finish your plate and it’s caused me a lot of problems. So that’s never the rule around here. However, there is a try one bite rule. she has to try one bite of everything.

    She often tries the “belly full” trick then ask for a treat. We don’t ask her to eat more if she says her belly is full but if she comes to us later looking for a treat her dinner is rewarmed or she is offered fruit and yogurt. Even with that I sometimes worry that she eats too much processed snacks.

    It’s always a work in progress but I guess that’s just motherhood.

  38. Lora says:

    I have aquestion about your “flax seed right out of the bag” comment. Can you eat it right out of the bag? I read that it has to be crushed in order for you to get the nutrients. I have a bag of flax seed here and can’t figure out how to crush it. (btw - heard the crushing comment from Dr. Oz on Oprah).

  39. M says:

    GoTryBe is a great resource, and I agree three years old is a bit young to instill a fitness program……call me crazy but they are pretty active anyway. Aren’t they? :)

  40. anna says:


    GoTrybe is cool because instead of fighting this tech-savvy and computer-crazed generation, it’s using a child’s favorite tool as a means to get them active and healthy.

    I would agree that GoTrybe may be more powerful for younger children. But let’s face it that’s where it needs to start!

    And there are fun and more difficult videos… hip hop, kickboxing, cardio etc. that are well suited for a high school aged person.

    As far as the sedentary time using GoTrybe’s chat and stuff… the way GoTrybe is used is completely up to the children and/or parents. You don’t have to use the chat and online community parts…. 1. kids don’t get points in the chats, they only get points for completing the fitness, nutrition, wellness, and motivation sections…. and 2. today’s kids are probably already members to a million other online communities. It’s just providing a healthy network of kids that can discuss staying fit, instead of sharing stories and photos of what they did at a party last weekend.

    I think for young kids though, the nutrition and motivation parts are equally as important as the fitness because they need to learn that being healthy isn’t JUST about being fit, it’s about every aspect of their life. And if they’re not getting nutrition information from their parents… not all parents are as wonderful and as positively influential as mizfit readers :) … then they need to get it somewhere! I guess the good thing is that it’s all there as an option.

  41. Rachel says:

    Cool. Check out SpeedStacks.com for kids too if you haven’t already heard about them. Think they do complimentary first sets. Using them with students this week due to heat.
    As far as kids and food, I do not ever make a seperate meal for them. If its stir fry and rice, salmon and veggies, whatever-that’s what they get. They always eat some of what I prepare. Applesauce is usually the desert offering and that works well for my kids.

  42. Shosh says:

    Miz. Thanks for the comment on my blog and NO I am not leaving you. My journey has just begun and where would I be without my support team??


    PS: Are you looking forward to Rosh Hashana?

  43. kikimonster says:

    My cousin’s 8 year old is over 100 pounds. She’s been at that weight for the past 2 or 3 years. It’s unbelievable. Her mother constantly makes excuses as to why this child can’t lose weight. Well, the first thing they should do is keep junk food out of their house! I remember watching said child over the summer open up a bag of tortilla chips and eat 1/3 of a jar of nacho cheese dip IN ONE SITTING. My rule applies to all… don’t bring it in the house if you don’t want to be eating it! I agree with Miz that everything should be eaten in moderation, but I save those “special” indulgences for parties, eating out, going out, etc.

  44. MizFit says:

    so many thoughts—-but life calls so this shall be short and OZbrief:

    Yep on the shredded or the seeds just zip through yer system.

    I’m lazy so I get them preshredded!

    You can easily do in coffee grinder!

    and Felice? if you come back? this resonated with me:

    One thing I try not to do is call junk foods “treats.”

    I dont with the example you give (chips etc) but I DO with things like cookies or CHOCOLATE MILK. I do emphasize that it’s a big deal she’s having it because it’s not an everyday thing.
    Id love your insights here (all of YOURS) as Im of the strict opinion it takes a VILLAGE to raise a Tornado.


  45. Tricia 2 says:

    Okay this is going to be fairly long, mainly because I’ve been toying with a parenting comparison at my blog, although was afraid that, because I don’t have children, it would be considered offensive.

    I would say that you should never ever send your child home if they’ve come with you on your run, then start complaining because they’re not used to running distance. It’d be far better for the child if you continue the workout, but say, skip the next few feet, then gallop, then walk, then try jogging again. Worst case? your long run becomes a walk with your child. If the child complains the entire time, take a shortcut home, and don’t tell anyone (except maybe your husband, in confidence) what happened.

    Also, when your child starts to *ahem* mature, and starts coming downstairs for breakfast in sports bras during summer months, ignore it. If the child’s father or brother has an issue with it, talk to them and explain that it’s better to ignore it than give the child body issues by making her cover up.

    If (because of puberty) her shirts start not being able to make it all the way down to the pants (revealing a bit of midriff), take her shopping to get shirts that will (aim for tunics at that age) instead of telling her that it’s “completely inappropriate”.

    My parents didn’t do what I mentioned, and as a result, at 13 I’d been told that I couldn’t run, and was told that my stomach was “disgusting”, and got yelled at for (essentially) growing boobs. At 17, I started anorexia.

    And if you do want your daughter to cover up during breakfast? Remind her that underwear is underwear. Also stop your son from coming to breakfast in his boxers.

  46. anna says:

    PS…. my mom is a preschool teacher for kids with disabilities… so I’m forever getting parental advice even though I’m nowhere near having kids of my own! But she’s taught me from a very young age to not give the illusion that you are trying to force little ones to do something they don’t want to do. Giving them options, where you will be happy with all of the outcomes, is the only way to go!

    The other spin on it, is that she has tried to teach me not to use the word no, because it automatically gives a bad stigma for that object (food in this case)… which automatically makes a kid want it more! As I’m sure all you parents know… Giving them an option where they feel they are taking ownership of the choice is so empowering, and gives less headaches! :)

  47. Lori L. says:

    YEEEE HA!!! Can I get an AMEN for only giving kids the option of eating healthy?

    I mean, why do we torture children? We give them the option of oatmeal or pop tart. They choose pop tart, of course. Then we get upset that they’re not eating healthy. SOOOO FRUSTRATING!!!

    Oh, Miz, you know you hit my nerve with this one. I think I’m going to go lie down for a while.

    :) Have a great day!

  48. Heather says:

    I plan to try to read through all the comments later, but as I’m pressed for “not prepared for class today, behind on my grading” time right now, I just wanted to chime in with

    Yes to the “I eat what I want my child to eat. I do what I want my child to do.” He’s two and he loves salmon. And strawberry ice cream. And carrots. And (homemade apple juice) popsicles. He loves running, especially when he gets to accompany Mommy or Daddy to the finish line of a race. He also loves Elmo videos. When we’re with people who keep chips & processed treats in the house, the only things I don’t let him have are alcohol (duh) and soda (perhaps wrong of me, but I give him juice and tell him it’s the same thing-I just want to put off going down the caffeine addiction route as long as possible-easy at home since my husband and I don’t drink soda or anything caffeinated).

    Funny note: he likes to tell “stories.” So the other day, he told one about a princess who had a party and invited him, Mickey Mouse, and Elmo. They had tilapia and cake.

  49. MizFit says:

    he told one about a princess who had a party and invited him, Mickey Mouse, and Elmo. They had tilapia and cake.

    Um, holy crap chickenbus you deserve an award heather!

    Mama of the Day.
    Coming your way.
    No freebies involved.
    Just some active play.

    Your boy? SO SMART.
    Your actions? He take to heart.
    Here’s to a great day.
    Youve had a FAB START.


  50. Momisodes says:

    I couldn’t agree more about leading by example. Jaws drop whenever anyone asks my 3 year old what her favorite thing to eat is. She’ll always reply “Tofu.” Don’t get me wrong, she loves herself some chocolate chip cookies, cake and ice cream, but we’ve always introduced them as treats and not something to be had on a regular basis. She’s not a huge fan of broccoli, but if I serve it on the dinner table, and I eat it, she’s more inclined to eat it as well.

  51. Gena says:

    I am bookmarking this page to return to when GP and I have our own Tornados to chase around! Great advice and commentary from everyone!

  52. Mama Zen says:

    I think that you hit on a really key point, here. Sometimes, it’s way more convenient for me if my daughter will sit quietly and watch TV for a while. And, that’s OK sometimes, but not all the time!

  53. runjess says:

    Don’t enter me in the freebie (no kids), but I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed this post. My parents always encouraged activity (although I ate way too many oreos, pop-tarts, and Little Debbies), and I now that I’m an adult and still very active, I really appreciate all the times they turned off the tv and kicked me outside.

  54. Jenn says:

    I don’t have kiddos yet but plan to someday and that is why I am getting healthy and active now! I want to lead by example so that it becomes part of life for my kids and not a struggle that they have to endure.

  55. Teresa says:

    I adored this viewer mail day. I don’t have any children of my own, but as a former cashier for one of the world’s biggest retailers, I have seen enough children and their behaviors. I nearly wanted to stand up and applaud when you mentioned that you give your girl options. I learned that in a child development class (I think) but rarely do I ever see it in practice. All too often I tend to see children giving their parents options. Namely, chocolate bars and candy something-or-others. And what’s worse? The parents give in!!! So again, I applaud you.

  56. rhodeygirl says:

    wow. what a great example you give. I think I will be the same with my kids one day (but who knows right now). At least I hope so!!!

  57. Diana says:

    I don’t have a kid, and I already won recently (thanks for the book…reading it once i feel better) so I don’t need to be entered. Just wanted to pop in and say great post! I love the question posed to you. Love the responses too :)

    I agree with Teresa. I teach development, so I try to tell them that there’s never one food that’s indespensible…to offer options, but I always wonder how many of them get it. And, how many people actually do it!

  58. MizFit says:

    trying not to interject, (alltogethernow) BUT I think you totally nailed it Teresa with the parents giving in.

    Im by no stretch of ANYONES imagination anywhere near mother of the year but I decided before we had her that Id never want to be her FRIEND.

    That’s the hard thing for me. Watching her little face as she asks for ice cream when we walk past the Ben & Jerry’s Store as, really, WHO DOESNT LOVE ICE CREAM?

    and often when I say no she is NOT happy.

    how is it SIMPLE for me to say no (CAUTION. NO PSYCHOLOGY BEHIND THIS.)?

    Because today—at almost3—it’s ice cream.

    ten years from now the demands will only grow and increase and if I havent set the NO BOUNDARY *now* it’s only going to be worse.

    it’s about so much more than the cookie, huh?


  59. Geosomin says:

    I don’t have a little widget, but I like the way you are trying to give your Tornado options and help her be active. It can’t always be easy - I see the difference in friends I have with kids who spend the time VS those who don’t. Healther more active kids seem happy. Healthy choices lead to healthy results.
    I wish my parents would have instilled that in me when I was younger…I had to pick it up later in life.
    You rock.
    That is all :)

  60. Ann says:

    No kids now or soon…I plan to lead by example when/if it happens…but my parents managed to instill the importance of exercise and activity without really doing it themselves. From about 8, I received my allowance for walking, jogging, or playing basketball! Many may criticize them for bribing, but it worked for both my brother and I. We both have always made an effort to fit exercise into our lives.

  61. Conny says:

    Dibs are great portion control for toddlers. We’d say he could have “five” and he thought he was getting a lot. He didn’t ask for more; he knew he could only have five in one sitting.

    My son ate a lot of different vegetables when he was 2 but his tastes changed to liking fewer of them. When I’d tell him he loved “xyz” when he was a baby or that he used to like it, he associated those foods with BEING a baby and no longer wanted anything to do with them. I had to change my tack and now just have a variety of veggies available at meals. I ask him now if he wants to try one of what’s offered… sometimes he says yes. If he doesn’t like what’s offered then I tell him that someday he might, maybe when he’s a “grownup.”

    We must be impressing healthy values in him somehow because last month my son (now almost 5) asked me when I was going to do another one of “those races.” He saw me completing a local 5K race a couple years ago. I’m surprised he remembered.

  62. workout mommy says:

    My hubby is a terrible eater and I am trying to educate HIM at the same time as my sons. So frustrating because like you said, leading by example is the most important thing.

    You should see the face my hubby makes when I (force) him to eat broccoli and proclaim how delicious it is. Priceless.
    but hey, whatever gets the greens in them!

  63. Vered - MomGrind says:

    I SO agree with leading by example.

    Do as I say, not as I do - never worked, never will.

  64. MizFit says:

    I’m laughing out loud.
    Vered? You’re so concise.

    That comment is my entire post distilled to its essence.

    Duly noted.


  65. Kate says:

    had to laugh at Momisodes and her tofu loving child. When my eldest was little she was pretty fussy about food. We went to a family Christmas gathering and my grandmother brought out a big tray of cookies of all kinds (she was a compulsive baker) and offered E- to take whatever she wanted…

    Without missing a beat she said, “thank you, but I’d prefer a banana if you have one.”

  66. Zandria says:

    I think it’s awesome that you lead by example, and it’s exactly what I would have expected of you. I also think it’s a great strategy to give her options, rather than simply asking her what she wants to do — that way she can still feel like she’s making a decision, but you’re happy with whatever option she decides on.

  67. Tammy says:

    Ahhh, Mizfit, why didn’t I read this 12 years ago!?

    My kids are 15 and 14 now. My son (14) is very active and loves healthy stuff (along with his fair share of ice cream). My daughter (15) would sit on the couch and eat bon-bons all day if I let her get away with it (like I did when she was in her younger, more formative years).

  68. Cathy - wheresmydamnanswer says:

    Even though I do not have kids (yet)…. I see my hubby and step son interact all the time and I am of the opinion that Monkey See Monkey Do.. We need to set good strong examples for the little ones to follow then as they grow these good habits (or bad) will be a natural part of their life.

  69. MizFit says:

    Tammy, sometimes I think that’s the very definition of fifteen huh?

    And quite possibly a passing phase as I know I was firmly mired there around 14 or 15 as well.

    That said, I love that age.

    To quote an amazing singer (wink) Not A Girl Not Yet A Woman.


  70. Andrew is Getting Fit says:

    Thanks for these tips Mizfit. My little one seems to be a tornado too so it will be good to try and keep her that way!

  71. Molly says:

    Love the idea of giving choices but keeping it to things that you would be happy with no matter what the child chooses. I think that is an important step in the development process, learning that being healthy still comes with choices/tastes that differ with opinion. It’s fun to choose!

    Leading by example is definitely the best way to go as I know with my niece and nephews they are copy cats at a young age when they are impressionable and you can teach them lots of good (or bad…) habits from the getgo!

  72. josha says:

    some things we do: I challenge my kids to footraces on the training days that include sprints as I prepare for a half marathon. we got a trampoline and have contests for the best tricks on it. i’m learning jumprope tricks with my kids from a ropesport dvd. we live in the mountains, so we hike (ever gone geo-casching?). our town is a great place to ride our bicycles where ever we need to go or to walk/run. we eat healthy throughout the week and allow some soda/less healthy stuff only on the weekends or special occasions.

  73. zombie mom says:

    I loved this post… our oldest literally won’t eat cookies, cake or candy when offered… we don’t eat them or have them in our home- and I think it has to do with an unfamiliarity… at both her first and second birthday parties she played with but wouldn’t eat her little cupcakes… I think its a copy cat thing… for treats I eat seasonal fruits….

    .. she loves fruit, and veggies, whole grains and fish… In a fit of worry that I was being too strict, I decided to give her some processed food- toaster waffles - she fed it the dog…

    She gets to choose her food and it makes it super easy that there isn’t really anything she cannot have in the house… It makes the meal part of parenting really pretty easy.

    The only thing we have that is kind of junky- are a few 100% fruit no additives juice boxes… We treat them like desserts…

    Our kids are medically fragile (foster-to-adopt) so we get regular consults with nutritionists.. we recently got a big thumbs up on what and how we are feeding them… the interesting thing- its the easiest and path of least resistance…

  74. MizFit says:

    josha? zombie mom? you two should get the award along with heather…

    so inspiring.


  75. Mike Foster says:

    To get your kids on the right fitness and health track, setting a good example and being a role model are, to me, among the most effective ways.


  76. Cara says:

    Hmmm, that site makes me a tad uneasy in that I think children should be getting exercise as part of fun and games, and not necessarily in such a structured manner…maybe starting as you mean to go on is no bad thing, I just think that as adults we’re so preoccupied with results and formulae that as kids it’s kinda nice to not have such pressure or really any kind of mental engagement in getting daily activity.

    As for Miz and the tornado, heavens but letting her hear “no” every now and then is the most valuable asset to her development you can contribute…I know from my personal experience with my little sister that my mum’s constantly giving in to her demands from an early age (“anything for an easy life”) meant that she’s grown up into someone that knows not content…every whim being indulged does not lend itself to a happy existence, contrary to what we may believe.

    Also, to go off on another post-related tangent, (and one I’ll be blogging about sometime soon I should think), said sister has pointed her finger at me when trying to source her issues with eating…hearing your big sister talking of how pretty bones are probably isn’t the healthiest environment for an impressionable prepubescent. I had no idea I was a role model for her, as naive as that sounds now, I was only a few years older and was far too bust worrying about myself to think I could have been leading such a poor example. It’s terrifying for me to think of raising a child and being their microcosm of society and its norms.

  77. Pubsgal says:

    Hoo boy. This is a “tough love” subject for me, because while I’m now modeling good behaviors, I haven’t always done so, and I’m not imposing it on the others in my family right now. (Except our bike outing a couple of weeks ago…sometimes ya gotta just say, “We’re going…NOW!!!”) Also, I tend to do my good stuff when they’re asleep in the morning or at work, so they don’t get to see Mom in action much, although they know I run and don’t eat sweets and junk food much anymore.

    Like ourselves, the kids have their share of good and bad food preferences. Water is their preferred beverage, they eat a small variety of vegetables and love fruits; however, we cop out and provide junk food meals and cave to treat requests a bit too often.

    For me, I have to credit my folks with their examples, albeit interspersed with divorce and other events that added to the food baggage column. They ensured that I learned to swim at a young age; my mom modeled clean eating when I was a teen. I don’t recall there being much exercise, but their careers were pretty demanding physically, so I can see why they wouldn’t do much at home.

  78. Pubsgal says:

    p.s. This was really timely! It’s “Take a Child Outside” week this week. http://takeachildoutside.org/

  79. MizFit says:

    THANKS pubsgal! For your comment & the link.

    I had no idea….

    and Cara? I loved this sentence:

    It’s terrifying for me to think of raising a child and being their microcosm of society and its norms.

    terrifying and empowering all at the same time, huh?


  80. Marelisa says:

    MizFit: Do you know that they have treadmills for little kids? Can you imagine a four year old walking on a treadmill as he/she watches TV? I think it’s great that your little tornado loves to dance and be outdoors :-)

  81. Erin says:

    Miz, I was longwinded myself tonight before the dinner bell rang and then I came here and read your great post on the same topic! Thanks for the comment, btw, always perks me up to see you ’round my ‘hood.
    I think my Boy is too young maybe to appreciate the year round membership? (just turned 3) but I love the concept, http://www.kidnetic.com has some good stuff too as well as some other resources that I can’t just name off the top of my head. I’m loaning out my laptop to my mom so I’m typing on borrowed time but I’ll be back tomorrow night. Cheers!

  82. chris says:

    I love the way you parent your child…I wish I can have more parents like you in my school.

  83. TokaiAngel says:

    So many amazing responses! I love the way nobody on here is “you should” it’s all “well, I do it this way…” and everyone so earnest about giving their kids the best start in life (unborn or otherwise) and open to learning new things to improve on what they already have. No preaching, no judging, just absorbing. Love it.

    Thanks for your response on my question Miz! I think my partner believes sincerely that his own child would not be interested in doing as daddy does. Giving Ren Man as an example gives me hope that he’ll quickly see this is NOT the case, and reconsider his own behaviours as a result. I suspect this would be the ONLY reason he may change.

    TA (slinging her contraceptive pill in the bin. Joke.) x

  84. Kara from MamaSweat says:

    You know, we just went to my twins 5 year well check and the pediatrician said, “Clearly I don’t need to have the talk about being more active with your kids!” Right then and there I realized how much I take my children’s activity level (and healthy weight) for granted. I’m not blind to this childhood obesity epidemic, but at five? I asked her if that was really a problem already for kids so young. She said, that yes, unfortunately it was. Unbelievable. Like you, Mizfit, I don’t do much, but I suspect this whole “lead by example,” is truly the way to go.

    And as for eating healthy, while I love your approach to only offering healthy choices, if I give all three kids two or three choices I’ll end up serving three different things. Forget it!! I try to feed our kids what we eat for dinner (again, streamlining) so there is often something on their plate that they take one look at and tell me, “I don’t like it.” The rule at the table is you have to try it. You don’t have to like it, you don’t have to eat it all, but you have to try it. The other thing I tell them is that sometimes our mouths don’t like it, but our body does. Often they will choke down two or three bites of say, beets or Brussels sprouts, not because they love it but because they know it’s healthy. Then other times they gag or vomit. Still, it’s worth a try!

  85. Kara from MamaSweat says:

    You know, we just went to my twins 5 year well check and the pediatrician said, “Clearly I don’t need to have the talk about being more active with your kids!” Right then and there I realized how much I take my children’s activity level (and healthy weight) for granted. I’m not blind to this childhood obesity epidemic, but at five? I asked her if that was really a problem already for kids so young. She said, that yes, unfortunately it was. Unbelievable. Like you, Mizfit, I don’t do much, but I suspect this whole “lead by example,” is truly the way to go.

    And as for eating healthy, while I love your approach to only offering healthy choices, if I give all three kids two or three choices I’ll end up serving three different things. Forget it!! I try to feed our kids what we eat for dinner (again, streamlining) so there is often something on their plate that they take one look at and tell me, “I don’t like it.” The rule at the table is you have to try it. You don’t have to like it, you don’t have to eat it all, but you have to try it. The other thing I tell them is that sometimes our mouths don’t like it, but our body does. Often they will choke down two or three bites of say, beets or Brussels sprouts, not because they love it but because they know it’s healthy. Then other times they gag or vomit. Still, it’s worth a try!

    And P.S. my kids are watching a movie right now;-)

  86. Kara from MamaSweat says:

    You know, we just went to my twins 5 year well check and the pediatrician said, “Clearly I don’t need to have the talk about being more active with your kids!” Right then and there I realized how much I take my children’s activity level (and healthy weight) for granted. I’m not blind to this childhood obesity epidemic, but at five? I asked her if that was really a problem already for kids so young. She said, that yes, unfortunately it was. Unbelievable. Like you, Mizfit, I don’t do much, but I suspect this whole “lead by example,” is truly the way to go.

    And as for eating healthy, while I love your approach to only offering healthy choices, if I give all three kids two or three choices I’ll end up serving three different things. Forget it!! I try to feed our kids what we eat for dinner (again, streamlining) so there is often something on their plate that they take one look at and tell me, “I don’t like it.” The rule at the table is you have to try it. You don’t have to like it, you don’t have to eat it all, but you have to try it. The other thing I tell them is that sometimes our mouths don’t like it, but our body does. Often they will choke down two or three bites of say, beets or Brussels sprouts, not because they love it but because they know it’s healthy. Then other times they gag or vomit. Still, it’s worth a try!

    P.S. My kids are watching a movie right now:-)

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