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Will I Freeze if I Drink Water in the Winter?

First off, the answer to that question is No! But, for most of us, drinking water in the winter is harder. I know it’s harder for me! In the summer, when the temperatures are high and the sweat just keeps rolling, it’s easy to remember that we need to drink water. But, it’s important to remember that it is equally important for our bodies to stay hydrated in the winter too.

There are a lot of tricks you can use to make sure you’re getting enough water in the winter. Keeping some kind of handy tracking tool close by can help you keep track of how much water you’re drinking any given day. But sometimes, it’s not just about keeping track of your water intake; it’s forcing yourself to actually drink it.

Did you know that many foods are high in water content and can help keep your body hydrated? Just a little disclaimer here though… eating foods that are high in water content doesn’t replace the need to drink water. They only help keep your body hydrated so you don’t have to drink as much water. So, here’s our list of foods that contain a lot of tissue moistening, joint lubricating H2O!

  • Cucumbers
  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelon (Or really any melon for that matter)
  • Lemons & Limes
  • Leafy Greens
  • Eggplant
  • Squash – All squash are good, but some have higher content than others
  • Strawberries
  • Broth Based Soups – Sorry guys, potato soup doesn’t count here!
  • Popsicles/Juice Bars
  • Sorbet/Sherbet

That looks like a list of pretty good foods to me. By incorporating some of these foods in to your diet each day, you can greatly reduce your need to drink as much water as you would without them. Trust me, your body will thank you!

What kind of foods do you enjoy eating that are high in H2O content? As always, share your thoughts here on the blog. We love to hear from you!

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NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” Tackles Childhood Obesity

the biggest loser

Have you joined in on all the hype of NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” Season 14? I mean, what isn’t there to be excited about? Jillian Michaels has returned, we all have the opportunity to join in on the fun through Biggest Loser’s ‘Challenge America’, and for the first time ever, The Biggest Loser is tackling childhood obesity with 3 child contestants. That’s right, of the 18 contestants on season 14, 3 of them are under the age of 18. If you had the opportunity to watch, you already know that Sunday’s season premiere kicked off with a bang. If you haven’t had a chance to catch up yet, let’s meet the kids of season 14.

On the blue team, 13 year old Noah (Biingo) is a fun-loving kid who wants to use his experience on The Biggest Loser to gain the knowledge he needs to lose weight and get healthy. On the white team, Sunny is the oldest of the child contestants at age 16. Sunny balances a very busy schedule, managing her advancement placement classes and extra-curricular activities. Time is tight and when stress creeps in, Sunny turns to food to relieve her stress. Fighting on the red team is Lindsay, age 13. Lindsay wants to use The Biggest Loser to change her habits and become more active. She’s also excited to be an inspiration to those watching at home, especially kids her age.

For those of who you who are familiar with The Biggest Loser gym and trainers, you’re probably very scared for these poor children right now. But, the format of the program for these child contestants is completely different from their adult counterparts. The kids will not be training on the ranch; they’ll be training from home. But, the trainers will be available to the kids as resources on their journey and a trainer will be checking in on each of the kid’s progress every week. Plus, the kids are not subject to the weekly weigh-ins and cannot be ‘kicked off’ the show!

As we all know, childhood obesity rates are scary… and their rising! So, thank you Biggest Loser for shedding more light on this problem. It’s up to all of us to do our part! Here’s wishing the best of luck to Biingo, Sunny and Lindsay on this season and to a lifetime of health and happiness!

If you haven’t tuned in yet, you’re not too late to join in on the fun of Season 14. NBC’s The Biggest Loser airs on Monday’s at 7:00 PM (CST). You can also learn all about this seasons contestants on The Biggest Loser page.

Stay tuned for all of our future blogs! Later this week, we’ll be talking about why drinking water is still important in the winter. Plus, if you’re tired of drinking glass after glass of water, we’ll share some great foods that can help you reach your daily fill of water. Use the box in the upper, right section of the blog to subscribe to the NCES Health Beat to make sure you don’t miss a beat.

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What Should a Family Fitness Plan Look Like?

ID-10034694There’s no denying the fact that exercising as a family is the key to raising children that understand the importance of physical activity. However, many families still struggle with how to pull it off. So, many families seek the help of professionals. When they come to you, of course you can design a fitness plan that will work for an individual client. But, where do you start when you’re helping a family design a fitness plan that will work for all of them?

Be sure that you include all of the family members. Discuss activities that everyone enjoys doing and be sure to let the children help decide on some of the exercises and activities that are included on the exercise plan. Giving the kids ownership in the program will help keep their interest and build their confidence in what they’re doing. Be sure to make it fun too. Although exercising is meant to increase your heart rate, it doesn’t have to be work all the time. Including fun, and even competitive games, will keep it interesting too.

Scheduling is also an important part of the equation when you’re helping an entire family plan their exercise schedule. Between Dad’s board meeting, Mom’s conference call and the kid’s basketball games and choir concerts, scheduling for a family is a nightmare. Work with your family to identify times that work for everyone. Then, help them create a calendar so that everyone knows exactly when to expect their family workout.

Planning an exercise plan for a family doesn’t differ that much for planning an individual schedule. However, there are certain elements that need to be included to make sure everyone is enjoying themselves and learning that exercise is an important & FUN part of everyday life… not just another chore.

How do you help motivate children to exercise? We’d love to hear your ideas. Please share them here in the comments or on our Facebook. We love hearing from you!

If you’re looking for tools that make exercising at home easier, be sure to check out the NCES Exercise section before you go!

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How can you Help Your Clients get Active in the New Year?

It’s that time of year again. The New Year brings with it new ideas, new dreams and New Year’s resolutions. For so many, these New Year’s resolutions focus around getting healthy through improved eating habits and increased physical activity. It’s our job to help our clients and patients reach their goals by keeping them focused. Unfortunately, although these journeys begin with the best intentions, more often than not they are cut short by busy schedules, a lack of motivation and non-existent support systems. So, how do you help your clients avoid the excuses and find success in their New Year’s Resolutions?

First, take the time to understand your clients. Every person is different, so understanding their struggles will help you tailor a plan that will fit their needs. Let’s take Kate for example. Kate faces the same struggles that most any of us face. She doesn’t have enough time to add in a workout plan. However, for her New Year’s resolution, Kate decides that she is going to start working out every day. But, after a couple of weeks, she gets tired as the stresses of work piling up on her desk and a busy home life get the best of her. So, she gives up on her workout plan. How can you help Kate?

The key to solving any scheduling problem is to create a solid schedule. You’ll need to help Kate identify the times in her day that are open for fitting in exercise. By going over Kate’s schedule, you can help her prioritize the things that she has to get done (ie: Attend work meetings, pick the kids up from school, etc.) with the things that are a lesser priority than exercise. If you have weekly meetings with Kate, take time during your meetings to identify her exercise schedule for the week. It may be the same each week. But, be sure to remind her to take in to account special events each week that may interfere with her schedule.

As we all know, even the best laid plans sometimes need to be changed. So, provide your clients, like Kate, with a list of backup activities. When the weather gets nasty or the kids get sick, it’s a lot harder to get out of the house and hit the gym. Some of these substitutes may be things they can do at home or at work. But, make sure they can be done easily in any home. The goal here is to avoid allowing your clients to make excuses as to why they aren’t sticking to their workout plan.

Accountability is the word here. Without accountability, there is no one keeping Kate, and all your other clients, on track as they get tired, lose focus and even get frustrated if things aren’t going just as they hoped. So, be the accountability that they need. There are a lot of different ways to hold your clients accountable. One easy way with today’s technology is to offer an accountability text service. Monitor the schedule that you helped them create and follow-up with them after workouts or at the end of the day to see how they’re feeling. Make sure you keep it positive and motivational too.

Lastly, make sure to make Kate’s workout plan easy to stick to. If you hand her the perfect workout schedule designed by a Certified Personal Trainer, how can she not stick to the plan?

So, that’s just what we’re doing. We’ve created an easy to use workout plan that you can print and hand to your clients so they’re ready to tackle the New Year and their New Year’s resolution. Just click here to order the free download. Complete the checkout process and the free download will be emailed directly to you.

 

Before you go, check out the NCES Exercise Section for great exercise equipment for any workout.

 

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World Diabetes Day: Stand Up! Fight Diabetes!

Did you know that today is World Diabetes Day? This day is all about raising awareness from the local level to a global level. Most of you already know about diabetes. But, just to recap, diabetes is a

“chronic disease that arises when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces.  Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that enables cells to take in glucose from the blood and use it for energy. Failure to produce insulin, or of insulin to act properly, or both, leads to raised glucose (sugar) levels in the blood (hyperglycemia). This is associated with long-term damage to the body and failure of various organs and tissues.” (www.idf.org)

The effects of diabetes on the body are sickening, as very high blood sugar levels can do long term damage to many organs in the body. Here are some stunning facts (diabetes.org); 25.8 million Americans have diabetes. Another 79 million people have pre-diabetes.  In 2007, diabetes contributed to 231,004 deaths and the estimated total cost of diagnosed diabetes was $174 billion. The good news: we can fight these numbers!

Like the Coca-Cola bears, join in the fight to stop diabetes. Begin by education yourself and others around you about the causes of diabetes and the damaging effects this disease has on the body. Find a way to get involved in the fight! There are many organizations like the “International Diabetes Federation” (idf.org), StopDiabetes (stopdiabetes.com) and the American Diabetes Association (diabetes.org).  Also, don’t forget to visit the Diabetes section of the NCES Catalog website. Here, you’ll find all the tools you need to educate patients about living with diabetes and even learning to live with your own recently diagnosed diabetes.

If you have any questions about educating about or living with diabetes, please comment on this blog, visit us on Facebook or email us at info@ncescatalog.com. We love hearing from you!

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Let’s Move: Healthy Lunches for Kids!

ImageIt’s hard to believe that the middle of May has already come and gone! For parents from coast to coast, this means one thing… School’s out for summer! Or, at least it soon will be. For many parents, you’ve been packing your students lunch all year. So, continuing to provide lunch throughout the summer is no big change. However, for a large number of parents, planning ahead to provide lunches all summer is a daunting task! Instead, let’s make it fun!

For many families, the idea of packing a lunch at home isn’t really an option. Whether it is due to a lack of time, income or knowledge on balanced meals, a school lunch is the only, or at least best, option for many students. So, in order to meet the needs of all students, let’s focus on educating children to build a healthy plate! This way, no matter whether a student’s lunch is packed for them, or handed to them on a divided tray, your kids will know exactly what they should and shouldn’t be eating!

  1. Know the Facts: It’s important to teach children how much food from each food group they should be eating each day. Depending on the age of the child, they may have a hard time grasping this concept. Especially if they are trying to keep track of their food intake for an entire day. Make it easier by only relying on them to track their lunch foods; you can help by keeping an eye on their breakfast and dinner foods with them. It’s also never a bad idea to send them to school with one of our Kids Right-Sized Portion Plates.  The fun design will ensure they’re not embarrassed to use it; the perfectly portioned areas will help them get their servings right.
  2. Know the Stats: According to the CDC, 1/3 of the U.S. child population is currently overweight or obese. And, unfortunately, this number continues to trend upwards year after year. The excess weight that these children are carrying around has so many immediate and long-term health effects including pre-diabetes, cardiovascular disease and increased risk for many types of cancers.
  3. Know the Cure: Prevention is the number one cure! Teaching children about balanced eating, being the example they need and demonstrating a physically active lifestyle can all aid in the prevention, and reversal of childhood obesity.  According to the CDC:

The dietary and physical activity behaviors of children and adolescents are influenced by many sectors of society, including families, communities, schools, child care settings, medical care providers, faith-based institutions, government agencies, the media, and the food and beverage industries and entertainment industries.”

So, it’s very important to pay attention to every aspect of your lifestyle that will be influencing your child’s behavior; the friends your child plays with, daycare provider and the school your child attends.

So, are you ready for the challenge? This summer, instead of dreading preparing your child’s lunch every day, take time to teach them why you are packing each piece. Tell them that the protein in their lunch helps them build muscle to be strong, the fruit helps them heal from any cuts and bruises, the vegetable helps them see well and stay focused, the whole-wheat grains give them the energy they need to play with their friends all day and dairy keeps their bones strong to avoid breaks and fractures!

We hope that you have found the tips in this blog helpful! It’s all about finding ways to get active and fight obesity in America, especially childhood obesity! Need some more inspiration? The experienced staff at NCES is always here to help! You can find us at www.ncescatalog.com, chat with us from our homepage, or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

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Can You Avoid Diabetes?

Paula Dean has diabetes! Of course, you have to have been living in a cave to not have already heard this news! First, we’d like to offer our sincere apologies to Mrs. Dean for her recent diagnosis. Type II Diabetes is a disease that would be tough to live with. And, if left ignored, can have a huge impact on the expected lifespan of the person diagnosed. So, our thoughts go out to Paula and her family while they adapt to the changes required in her life to treat her disease.

However, the true topic of controversy here is that Paula has announced that she has no desire to change her cooking and eating habits to accommodate her newly diagnosed disease. Instead, she is turning to medication to treat it. Although modern medicine provides great opportunities to treat sicknesses in our society, we believe that the best way to treat Type II Diabetes is through a combination of diet, exercise and medication when necessary. And, although claims have been made that her diabetes is hereditary, Type II Diabetes is primarily caused by poor eating habits like choosing foods that are high in fat, sugar and calories.  Rather than fresh fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and foods that are low in carbohydrates and fatty oils, which we all know are used heavily in Paula’s most famous recipes.

Here are some shocking statistics! Approximately 26 Million Americans are currently living with some form of diabetes. And, approximately 58% of them are treating their disease with oral medication. The total cost for Diabetes Management is estimated at $174 billion, yes that’s BILLION, each year!  It’s important to note here that we acknowledge there are times when medication is necessary to treat diabetes. However, using it as a blanket treatment for diabetes is very expensive for the patient, and isn’t always necessary in order to treat it appropriately. This is why diabetes education is so important!

I’m not sure if you know this, but NCES offers a wide range of diabetes education products to help patients who have been diagnosed with diabetes.  We also carry a number of products designed to help the diabetes educator teach their patients about the disease. Check them out today, and be sure to share them with your friends too. Diabetes is the most commonly diagnosed health-related illness in our society. Let’s turn this trend around! Plus, you never know… maybe if we share this enough, Paula Dean herself could get wind of these great tools and incorporate them in to her daily life!

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We’ve Got the Dish on Portion Control

Do you struggle with portion control? I know this sounds like the intro to 90% of Dr. Oz’s TV shows. But, it’s an honest question. Why? Because the truth is that most of us do struggle with it. We live in a society where food tastes so good that we just want to eat more and more. Eating a small handful of snack crackers is no longer enough. We only feel satisfied if we down at least half of the box! Let me tell you this… if you feel this way, you are not alone! That is why portion control has become such an important topic in nutrition. It’s not enough to solely focus on nutritious foods, although it is still important, you also need to remember portion control.

There are many products out there advertising that they can help with portion control. However, we have found a few that we think are more helpful than others, which is why we carry them in our catalog. Yum Yum Bowls are perfect for any snack. These perfectly portioned bowls conveniently tell you when ‘Yum Yum Time is Over’, ensuring that you will only eat a proper portion of your favorite snack. Yum Yum Plates are very similarly designed. At 9”, they are the perfect size for anyone who wants to eat correct portions. Each plate is sectioned and labeled for Protein, Carbs and Veggies to help you with portion control. And, of course they are all microwave and dishwasher safe! As if all this wasn’t enough motivation to order right now, both Yum Yum products are currently 20% off on the NCES website. Simply enter code Yum6 at checkout to receive your discount!

We’re also big fans of our Right-Sized portion plates. With two different designs, one focused on kids and one on adults, these plates are sure to fit everyone’s portion control needs. The size of the average plate has grown wildly out of control. This 9” plate demonstrates the plate size that we should be basing our portions off of. It also demonstrates how to fill our plate using each of the food groups as recommended by the USDA’s MyPlate and 2010 Dietary Guidelines.

The bottom line is that portion control is not something you can ignore! It is something that every adult needs to understand, not only to become healthier, but also to be a positive example for our kids! We learn eating habits based on what we see those around us doing. Why not take advantage of these exclusive savings to kick off your commitment to portion control?

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Are you diabetic? If so, you’ve probably been told that carb counting is one of the single most important things you can do to help control your diabetes. Obviously, exercise is important as well. But, counting your carbs is your lifeline to successfully managing your diabetes! Right? Or… is that right? There is currently a lot of debate surrounding the effectiveness of carb counting to manage diabetes.

On one side, you have the traditional thinkers who argue that counting carbs is the only way to control your diabetes. It’s simple logic! When you consume carbohydrates, whether simple or complex, your body breaks them down in to sugar. This sugar is then absorbed in to your blood stream causing your blood sugar to rise. In response to this rise in blood sugar, your body releases the hormone insulin. Insulin is used to take the sugar from your blood and move it to your cells. Once in the cells, it can be used as energy to fuel your body. Diabetes is an insulin deficiency in your body. So, it makes sense that if your body struggles to produce insulin, it cannot appropriately manage the sugar in your blood caused by consuming carbohydrates. So, in order to control your diabetes, you must manage the amount of carbs you consume so that your body can manage the blood sugar levels.

On the other side, you have the radical thinkers who say that counting carbs is not a vital part of successfully managing diabetes. Instead, they argue that it is more a combination of the foods you eat and the amount of daily exercise you get that keeps your blood sugar in control.

But, we want to know what you think! How do you find that your diabetes is best controlled? Are you traditional or radical? Please share your thoughts with us… Facebook, Twitter, Email or even comment right here on this blog!

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Diabetes Education: What to teach?

Happy American Diabetes Month! We’re excited that November is such a great opportunity to share information about diabetes and raise awareness about this epidemic that affects approximately 25.8 million Americans.  This disease is often preventable. The key is that we have to start with education; teaching healthy habits at an early age!

First, the specifics… what is diabetes? As defined by dictionary.com, diabetes is

“A mild, sometimes asymptomatic form of diabetes mellitus characterized by diminished tissue sensitivity to insulin and sometimes by impaired beta cell function, exacerbated by obesity and often treatable by diet and exercise.”

Please note, this definition is for Type II Diabetes, or adult on-set diabetes. Diet and exercise can aid in preventing and treating this deadly disease.

Over time, those with diabetes who have high blood sugar levels (glucose levels) will damage their tissues and blood vessels. With damaged tissue, they increase their chances for MI’s and strokes, as well as eye and kidney disease.

 

The ‘Glucose Wands’ discussed in this article are available for purchase at www.ncescatalog.com. To order, search for Item # 4532, or simply click here. To share your thoughts on this topic or product, please visit our Facebook or Twitter page, or comment directly on this blog!