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I heard a quote recently that stood out to me: “The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” I feel often like the days are flying or moving faster than I would like. This quote reminded me that I am in control. 

Controlling your time and schedule isn’t easy and something that takes constant adjustments and awareness.

Dwight D. Eisenhower shared a matrix that he used to help with tasks and prioritizing his time. It can help you with that list as you:

1. Identify at a glance what needs to be done.

2. Move tasks around based on how important or urgent.

3. Have an overview of where you need to focus your attention in the short and long-term.

4. Stay on top of all your to-do lists.

Let me share an example from my own life.  While working from home I knew I would miss the movement that accompanies my usual daily tasks. I am not often confined to a desk and I prefer moving around.  I look forward to classes at the gym for the movement and socialization.   Using Eisenhower’s model I went through each step with my movement and working from home concerns in mind.

Identify at a glance what needs to be done: I need to work some walks and movement into my new workday, as well as other times throughout my day.

Move tasks around based on how important or urgent: I will start my day with a workout; an exercise video or a run. I will also take a stretch break in the afternoon and stand to complete some of my work tasks.  I can listen to music and I gave myself permission to dance.  Occasionally, I’ll even invite my new “coworkers” join. 😉

Have an overview of where you need to focus your attention in the short and long-term: I set reminders on my phone and log my workouts in an app to track progress. 

Stay on top of all your to-do lists: each week I look at my tasks, my needs and make any necessary adjustments.

Image created by Courtney Woelfl

With so many of us moving our offices to our home, some kids schooling from home, gyms closed, activities reduced and more it can disrupt our normal routines. These disruptions can throw us off balance and create extra obstacles to overcome.  Using these to guide your priorities and the matrix to determine your schedule and to-do list can help with any changes you might be dealing with related to staying home and other battles.

I am no Dwight D.  Eisenhower commanding the Allied forces in Europe or a president making decisions for the entire United States, BUT I am in command of my own time and to-do list, and you are too!

Writer: Alisha Barton, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Miami  County, barton.345@osu.edu

Reviewers:   Courtney Woelfl, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Chuyahoga County, woelfl.1@osu.edu

References:

Eisenhower’s Urgent/Important Principle: Using Time Effectively, Not Just Efficiently; http://commonhealth.virginia.gov/documents/wellnotes/UsingTimeEffectivelyNotJustEfficiently.pdf.

Midgie, BillT, Mind Tools Content Team, Mind Tools Content Team, & Mind Tools Content Team. Eisenhower’s Urgent/Important Principle: Using Time Effectively, Not Just Efficiently. Retrieved from https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newHTE_91.htm

Do you ever wonder if you are giving your kids too much or doing too much for them? I thought maybe it would get easier to determine this as my children got older. Now I find myself with a teen and a tween, and I am discovering this question never goes away.

A couple of years ago I came across a book called “How Much Is Too Much?: Raising Likeable, Responsible and Respectful Children in an Age of Overindulgence.” A team of researchers including Jean Illsley Clarke, Connie Dawson and David Bredehoft, has conducted studies over the past two decades about the effects of overindulgence on children and how this affects them as they grow up to be adults.

Teenage girl wearing sparkly pink clothing and a tiara, talking on a cell phone.

My first thoughts about overindulgence were garbage bags full of birthday and Christmas presents or towering ice cream sundaes dripping with sticky toppings. But these researchers define overindulgence as “giving too much of anything to a child so that it slows their learning and developmental tasks.” Overindulgence hinders children from learning the necessary life lessons and skills needed to thrive as adults.

One question parents can ask themselves is: “Will doing or giving this keep my child from learning what he or she needs to learn at this age?”

I think that naturally leads to the questions, “what is developmentally appropriate for children at different ages and how much can kids really handle?” Here is some research-based guidance about expectations that are appropriate for children at every stage of development.

At different stages, we become capable of learning and experiencing different things. Here are some key words to describe the expectations in each stage of development:  

  • Prenatal is “becoming”
  • Birth to 6 months is “being”
  • 6 to 18 months is “doing”
  • 18 months to 3 years is “thinking”
  • 3 to 6 years is “identity & power”
  • 6 to 12 years is “structure”
  • 12 to 18 years is “identity, sexuality & separation”

You may not think that a 6 to 18-month-old child could have a “job,” but one of the expectations is that they begin to signal their needs and to form secure attachments with parents. They also should begin to learn that there are options in life and not all problems are easily solved.

The 18-month-old to 3-year-old child is beginning to establish the ability to think for themselves. They should can follow simple safety commands such as stop, go, and wait. This is the time they begin to express anger and other feelings. They can also begin to do simple chores at this point.

During the pre-school ages of 3 to 6 years old, children learn that behaviors have both positive and negative consequences. They begin to separate fantasy from reality as they move through this stage. They also begin to learn what they have power over and express preferences.

A father teaching his son to wash dishes.

I feel like I’ve been in the 6 to 12-year-old phase for a while now as a parent. I love one of the phrases that Clarke uses: “To learn when to flee, when to flow, and when to stand firm.” This is also the age when they gradually become skillful at and responsible for complex household chores. My son was doing all our household laundry at age 9. He would continue to ask questions to validate his sorting skills, but he had the mechanics down.

And then we come to adolescence, ages 13-19. Their jobs are to emerge gradually, as a separate, independent person with their own identity and values within the context of the family. Although they continue to participate in family celebrations and rituals, much energy is spent on finding a healthy peer group.

Parenting is a tough job. Keep the end in mind. If we want to raise responsible adults, then helping them develop skills and competence at each stage of development is the greatest gift we can give them.

Written by: Emily Marrison, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Coshocton County

Reviewed by: Heather Reister, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Butler County

Sources:

University of Minnesota Extension. Parenting in the Age of Overindulgence Online Course. Retrieved October 12, 2020 at https://extension.umn.edu/courses-and-events/parenting-age-overindulgence-online-course

Schrick, B. Appropriate Chores by Age: 2 – Teen. University of Arkansas Research and Extension. Retrieved October 12, 2020 at https://www.uaex.edu/life-skills-wellness/personal-family-well-being/family-life-fridays-blog/posts/images/Appropriate%20Chores%20by%20Age.pdf

About a year ago, I wrote a blog titled Fall: A SAD Time of Year. I talked about my experience with the winter blues, a milder form of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). I contrasted symptoms of winter blues versus SAD, and I reviewed things you can do to alleviate symptoms. As I write this today, once again I find myself struggling with the change in the seasons. The shorter days, overcast skies, colder temperatures, dying plants, and turning leaves make me yearn for the long, hot, sunny days of summer. I know many people love fall, football, pumpkins and pumpkin spice everything, sweaters, cool temps and everything else this time of year brings, but I dread it.

dark foggy autumn woods

I don’t remember exactly when I started to loathe fall, but it was likely in my early 30’s. Research suggests winter blues or SAD usually begins between the ages of 18 and 30 but can begin at any age. I knew I dreaded fall more and more each year but I didn’t understand why. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I finally realized why I dislike fall so much, and it made so much sense. While symptoms of winter blues or SAD usually start in late fall to early winter for most people, I start noticing the effects in late summer to early fall. Summer is my favorite season, so I knowing it is ending likely adds to my earlier onset of symptoms.

man running along the roadside in the country

By the time winter sets in, I have taken steps to help reduce the effects of the winter blues. Once I quit resisting and dreading and loathing the change in seasons, and start being proactive, I notice a marked improvement in my mood, energy, motivation, and overall well-being. One critical component for me is exercise. I use exercise all year round to help with my mental health and overall well-being, but it’s even more critical during the fall and winter months. Running outside is my favorite, which is a win-win, if I can run during the day, since exposure to bright light can also help with symptoms. I worked as an exercise physiologist for 22+ years, so I am well-aware of the benefits of exercise but finding the motivation and energy this time of year is still sometimes a challenge. I am presenting a webinar on November 4th at 11am titled No Gym? No Problem where I will provide tips and tricks to work activity and exercise in to your day with little or no equipment.

This year, I notice that I am more tired than usual as the seasons are changing. I have tried sleeping more and sleeping less, but I have yet to find my sleep sweet spot right now. As I am adjusting, I am giving myself grace and permission to be OK with not being OK. We are all living in unprecedented times, and everyone has struggled in one way or another. This season is a struggle for me even in a good year, so there is no reason to beat myself up, especially this year! I hope you will give yourself and those around you some grace and allow yourself and others to be OK with not being OK. Of course, if you feel like you need professional help, please don’t hesitate to seek out that assistance. Mental health is critical to overall health and well-being and I want us all to have both now and well into the future.

Written by: Misty Harmon, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County, harmon.416@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Shannon Carter, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County, carter.413@osu.edu

Sources:

Harmon, M. (2019, October 21). Fall: A SAD Time of Year. Retrieved from https://livehealthyosu.com/2019/10/21/fall-a-sad-time-of-year/

Rush University Medical Center. (n.d.). More Than Just the Winter Blues? Retrieved from https://www.rush.edu/health-wellness/discover-health/more-just-winter-blues

Robinson, L., Segal, J., Ph.D., & Smith, M., M.A. (2019, June). The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise. Retrieved October 07, 2020, from https://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-living/the-mental-health-benefits-of-exercise.htm

National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), Division of Viral Diseases. (2020, September 11). Personal and Social Activities. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/personal-social-activities.html#event

Bohlen, A. (2020, September 17). Pizza for dinner again! Retrieved from https://livehealthyosu.com/2020/09/17/pizza-for-dinner-again/

Carter, S. (2020, August 31). Beating the Pandemic Blues. Retrieved from https://livehealthyosu.com/2020/08/31/beating-the-pandemic-blues/

You are invited to take a break! Sign up for the Ohio State University Extension, Live Healthy Live Well 6 -week Email Wellness Challenge. Two weekly e-mails will be sent directly to you from an OSU Extension Professional from October 19 – November 30, 2020.

You will explore different ways to “Take a Break”. Our creative writing team will share ideas to help you:
• Break the Ice
• Enjoy Breakfast again
• Take a Technology Break
• Explore a Play Break
• Take a Rest Break
• Break the Mold
• Try a Snack Break
• Explore Holiday Breaks and Traditions
• Breaking Free

What is the cost? It’s FREE!!

Who can participate? Any adult with an email account.

How do I sign up? Find your Ohio county below. Go to the link listed beside your county and register. Many, but not all Ohio counties are listed. If your county is not listed, please register with this link: go.osu.edu/yp4hfall20

CountyGo Links
Adamsgo.osu.edu/adamhighfall20
Belmontgo.osu.edu/belmontfall2020
Browngo.osu.edu/2020fallchallenge
Butlergo.osu.edu/2020fallchallenge
Carrollgo.osu.edu/carrollfall20
Champaigngo.osu.edu/champaign2020
Clarkgo.osu.edu/clarkfall2020
Clermontgo.osu.edu/2020fallchallenge
Columbianago.osu.edu/columfall20
Coshoctongo.osu.edu/coshoctonfall20
Cuyahogago.osu.edu/cuyahogafall2020
Darkego.osu.edu/westfall2020
Defiancego.osu.edu/NWOhiofall2020
Fairfieldgo.osu.edu/lhlwfall
Fayettego.osu.edu/Fayettefall2020
Franklingo.osu.edu/fall2020franklin
Fultongo.osu.edu/NWOhiofall2020
Hamiltongo.osu.edu/2020fallchallenge
Hardingo.osu.edu/fall2020hardin
Henrygo.osu.edu/NWOhiofall2020
Highlandgo.osu.edu/adamhighfall20
Hockinggo.osu.edu/lhlwfall
Holmesgo.osu.edu/HolmesFall2020
Lickinggo.osu.edu/lickingfall2020
Lucasgo.osu.edu/lucasfall20
Mahoninggo.osu.edu/mahoningfall
Medinago.osu.edu/medinafall2020
Meigsgo.osu.edu/meigsfall20
Mercergo.osu.edu/westfall2020
Noblego.osu.edu/noblefall2020
Ottawago.osu.edu/lhlw2020fall
Pauldinggo.osu.edu/NWOhiofall2020
Perrygo.osu.edu/perryfall2020
Pickawaygo.osu.edu/pickawayfall2020
Pikego.osu.edu/pikefall2020
Preblego.osu.edu/westfall2020
Rossgo.osu.edu/fall2020ross
Sanduskygo.osu.edu/lhlw2020fall
Trumbullgo.osu.edu/trumbullfall20 
Vintongo.osu.edu/vintonfall2020
Warrengo.osu.edu/warrenfall2020
Washingtongo.osu.edu/washingtonfall2020
Waynego.osu.edu/waynefall2020
Williamsgo.osu.edu/NWOhiofall2020
Woodgo.osu.edu/woodfall2020

For more information, contact Michelle Treber, treber.1@osu.edu or Lisa Barlage, barlage.7@osu.edu

Stay Safe, Be Well and Take a Break!

Written by: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County, barlage.7@osu.edu

Jamie Lemaster, Office Assistant, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, lemaster.158@osu.edu

An apple a day may not actually keep the doctor away, but it will offer some impressive health benefits! Apples contain antioxidants, vitamins, dietary fiber, and a range of other nutrients that taste great and will keep you feeling full and satisfied.

The CDC states “Using more fruits and vegetables, along with whole grains, lean meats, nuts, and beans, is a safe and healthy way to lose or maintain weight. In addition, diets rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of some types of cancer and other chronic diseases. Fruits and vegetables also provide essential vitamins and minerals, fiber, and other substances that are important for good health.”

Adding apples to your diet may also fight off Alzheimer’s disease, decrease your risk of diabetes, reduce cholesterol, and even improve the health of your teeth!  Cornell University researchers suggest apple peel compounds may slow the growth of cancer cells in the liver, colon, and breast.

There are more than 7,500 different varieties of apples grown in the world, with over 2,500 known varieties grown in the United States. In the U.S., the most popular varieties are Red Delicious, Golden Delicious and Granny Smith. In Ohio, there are about 40 known varieties of apples grown, and some are Ohio originals! Each variety has a unique appearance, flavor and texture.

October is National Farm to School month and celebration of the Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch – a wonderful time to crunch into an Ohio grown apple.

The Great Apple Crunch celebrates Ohio farmers, healthy kids, and strong communities! Participants from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio will buy, serve, and crunch into locally grown apples together at noon on Thursday, October 8, 2020. Visit  www.cias.wisc.edu/applecrunch to learn more and register to participate in this fun event.

Sources

Selecting, Storing and Serving Ohio Apples, Julie Kennel Shertzer, February, 10, 2010, Ohio State University Extension  https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/HYG-5507

What to Know About Apples, Yvette Brazier, December 18, 2019, Medical News Today

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/267290

How to Use Fruits and Vegetable to Help Manage Your Weight, August 17, 2020, Center for Disease Control

https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/healthy_eating/fruits_vegetables.html

13 Surprising Health Benefits of Apples That’ll Have You Eating One (or More) a Day, September 14, 2020, Reader’s Digest Best Health, https://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-eats/nutrition/health-benefits-apples/

Written by: Heather Reister, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Butler County

Reviewed by: Jenny Lobb,  Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Franklin County

Live Well with Asthma

Asthma is a lung disease that makes it difficult to breathe. If left uncontrolled, it may have serious consequences. No one likes wheezing, coughing, or feeling short of breath.  Taking control of your asthma can lead to an active healthy life. Create an action plan to live your best life.  Start today by:

  • Identifying your asthma triggers. Work with your healthcare provider to identify and minimize exposure to these triggers. Triggers include allergens, irritants or conditions that cause symptoms to worsen.  Being able to identify and avoid your triggers is important.
  • Learning to use your inhaler properly.  Follow the directions.  Shake the inhaler well. Check with your health care provider if you have any questions. 
  • Go smoke free.  If you smoke, quit.  Ask your doctor for ways to help you quit.  Ask family members to quit smoking, too.  Do not allow smoking in your home or car.
  • Enjoying a physically active lifestyle.  Work with your health care provider to develop an exercise plan. This plan will help you manage your symptoms so you can stay safe while exercising.
  • Taking medication as prescribed.  Medication is an effective way to control asthma symptoms.  Remember to take your medications as prescribed and carry your inhaler with you every day.
  • Eating healthy.  A well-balanced diet helps keep the mind and body strong.  Choosing the right foods supports your immune system and overall health, including your lung health.
  • Communicating with your healthcare team.  Learn as much as you can about your asthma.  If you experience short- or long-term side effects, let them know.  Do not suffer in silence.
  • Managing your stress. Stress can be an asthma trigger.  Implement stress-reduction strategies such as breathing exercise and mediation.
  • Monitoring your emotional health.  People with asthma are more likely to develop anxiety and depression.  If you begin to feel sad, anxious or depressed, talk with your doctor.

Written by Beth Stefura, OSU Extension Educator, Mahoning County stefura.2@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Jenny Lobb, OSU Extension Educator, Franklin County  lobb.3@osu.edu

References:

American Lung Association (2020). What is Asthma? https://www.lung.org/lung-health-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/asthma/learn-about-asthma/what-is-asthma

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2020). Asthma. https://www.cdc.gov/asthma/default.html

Healthy Snack Hacks

A bowl of raspberries

It’s 3 pm – a few hours since lunch but not quite time for dinner. Your stomach starts to rumble a bit and you are low in energy. You open the fridge and cannot find anything you want so you turn to the cupboard and end up mindlessly snacking.

I know I am not alone when I say this: I often need a snack in the afternoon! However, a snack can turn into an additional meal if you do not have the right snacks on hand. On average, about one-fourth of daily calories are provided by snacks.  In fact, snacking more times in a day has been found to be associated with consuming more calories. For this reason, it is important to have healthy snacks available so that when you do get hungry between meals, you have something nutrient-dense ready. Follow these three simple tips to improve your snacks and avoid mindless snacking:

Plate of Hummus, sliced vegetables and pita chips

1. Plan your snacks

Next time you go to the store, make sure to add your snacks to the grocery list. Preparing single-serving snacks can help you have just enough to satisfy your hunger. Some staples that I keep on hand in the fridge are baby carrots and hummus or guacamole. Rather than eating out of the tub of hummus or the bag of carrots, portion some out onto a plate or cup. This will help you avoid excessive snacking.

2. Make healthy shifts with snacks

Try different fruits and vegetables to find the perfect snack for yourself. Foods and beverages that contribute the most calories for snacks are not the most nutritious options. By opting for a more nutrient-dense snack, you are making a healthier choice for your body and can improve your health. Rather than opting for chips and nacho cheese, try cowboy caviar and fresh veggies. Instead of opting for a granola bar with added sugar, try eating fresh fruit. Switch any refined grains to whole grains. Transition beverages with added sugars to no-sugar-added beverages. These small changes can make a big difference over time.

Plate of bean, corn and veggie salsa

3. Keep temptations out of sight

Keeping tempting foods out of sight may help you avoid choosing them as snacks. It may also be helpful to keep them out of the house altogether! If you don’t have them in your house, you cannot have them unless you go to the store to get them.

What changes can you make to enjoy healthier snacks? Are there any Healthy Snack Hacks you will try?

Written by: Miriam Knopp, Dietetic Intern, The Ohio State University.

Reviewed by: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

Sources:

USDA Choose MyPlate (2016). “10 Tips: MyPlate Snack Tips for Parents.” www.choosemyplate.gov/ten-tips-snack-tips-for-parents.

Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015–2020, 8th Edition. “Shift to healthier food and beverage choices.” https://health.gov/sites/default/files/2019-10/DGA_Shift-to-Healthier-Choices.pdf

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2015). “NHANES – What We Eat in America.” www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhanes/wweia.htm.

UCSF Health. “Behavior Modification Ideas for Weight Management.” www.ucsfhealth.org/education/behavior-modification-ideas-for-weight-management.

Ready or not, the holiday season is right around the corner! Between black Friday, cyber Monday, and giving Tuesday, there is a lot of pressure to overspend around the holidays. Add in out-of-town visitors, shopping, travel, and overeating, and there you have the recipe for a stressful holiday season.

When we realize we have put off saving for the holidays…again, panic sets in. This panic can cause us to overspend and end up paying for the holidays, emotionally and financially, all the way through tax season.  With a little bit of pre-planning, this year can be…well… enjoyable.

September is the perfect time to decide your holiday spending goals and take some of the stress out of your holiday season. Here are 3 simple steps to help you.

  1. Determine how much you can afford to spend, without having to borrow funds.

The easiest way to determine your budget is to look at what you spent last year. Your budget should include what you will spend on gifts, wrapping, food, parties, special clothing, transportation, baking supplies and anything else you choose for a holly-jolly time. This number is a great start but remember, you can always make changes. Were you comfortable with what you spent last year? Do you want to spend a little more or less? Have your circumstances changed over the past year that impacts your cash flow? Just because it was done one way in the past does not dictate that is how it always has to be. For most of us, holidays are more about family, friends, and the joy of the season, than about who can have the biggest, brightest, most extravagant holiday.

2. Multiply your total by 25% and divide your total by three.

Cindy Clampet, Oklahoma State University Extension, recommends adding a buffer of 25% to the amount you spent last year. This can help offset any cost increases and any expenses you might have forgotten from last year. According to Gallup’s survey on the 2019 spending, the average person spent $942 on holiday gifts alone. Therefore, if all holds true, then for 2020 the budget would be $1,178. Divide this total by three and that comes to saving $393 per month. When looking at your monthly income and expenses, if this amount is too much, go back and look at last year’s expenses and determine which areas you can decrease.

3. Create a holiday budget breakdown.

Don’t be tempted to overspend within your holiday budget. This can be very easily done when you look at your account balance, you don’t always recognize how much was planned for travel, food, gifts, etc. The envelope system is a good way to keep it all organized. The idea is to divide cash in separate envelopes for different budget categories and then use cash to make your purchases. The envelopes help you to visually see how much money you have left in each area.  Some find that paying for everything with cash, rather than a card, helps control spending and keep them on budget.

If you have a budgeting or financial question, OSU Extension is here to help. Go to: go.osu.edu/AskOSUExtension and ask our experts your financial question.

References:

America Saves, (ND). How to use the envelope budget system. Retrieved on September 1, 2020 from https://americasaves.org/local-campaigns/kentucky-saves/blog/1350-how-to-use-the-envelope-budget-system

Barlage, L., (2018). Outside the Box Gift Ideas. Live Healthy Live Well Blog, Ohio State University Extension. Retrieved September 1, 2020 from   https://livehealthyosu.com/2018/12/06/outside-the-box-gift-ideas/

Barlage, L., (2019). Saving Money when Budgets are Tight. Live Healthy Live Well Blog, Ohio State University Extension. Retrieved September 1, 2020 from  https://livehealthyosu.com/2019/01/17/saving-money-when-budgets-are-tight/

Kennedy, S., (2018). De-stress your holidays with these smart spending tips. University of Florida. Retrieved on September 1, 2020 from http://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/wakullaco/2018/11/27/de-stress-your-holidays-with-these-smart-spending-tips/

Ohio State Extension, (ND). Eight Easy Exercises for Financial Fitness. Retrieved on September 1, 2020 from https://fcs.osu.edu/sites/fcs/files/imce/PDFs/8_Easy_Financial_Fitness.pdf

Oklahoma State University, (2019). Planning now can ease financial strain of 2019 holiday season. Retrieved on September 1, 2020 from https://news.okstate.edu/articles/agricultural-sciences-natural-resources/2019/holiday_budgeting.html

Saad, L., (2019). Americans plan to spend generously this Christmas. Retrieved on September 1, 2020 from https://news.gallup.com/poll/267914/americans-plan-spend-generously-christmas.aspx#:~:text=Consumers%20anticipate%20spending%20an%20average,Gallup%20trending%20of%20this%20measure.

Written by: Dr. Roseanne Scammahorn, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Darke County, Scammahorn.5@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Kellie Lemly, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Champaign County, lemly.2@osu.edu

Photos by rawpixel.com, Robert Zunikoff on Unsplash, and Marissa Daeger on Unsplash

IMG_0190

My son eating an apple.

I am a Registered Dietitian and toddler mom. In the year my son was born, Weight Watchers rolled out an app called Kurbo by WW to help children ages 8 to 17 “build healthy habits for life”. The app allows users to track what they eat and how much they exercise – not by counting calories, but by using a “traffic-light system” to classify foods as healthy and unhealthy. For a fee, users can also work with a virtual health coach to set and evaluate progress toward health goals. 

Upon its release, Kurbo received overwhelming criticism and media attention from dietitians, pediatricians, therapists and other health professionals. While these experts agree that healthy eating is important, they recognize that both childhood obesity and eating disorders are serious concerns for adolescents. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, eating disorders are serious illnesses that have the second highest mortality rate of any mental health disorder, and they “are too often wrongly relegated to the sidelines as a minor consideration in the ‘obesity prevention’ conversation.” In a similar vein, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents and doctors to avoid discussing weight or prescribing weight loss to children and adolescents over concerns that it could lead to disordered eating habits. 

Parents and health professionals alike want to help young people establish healthy eating habits for life, which is the stated purpose of the Kurbo app. There is great concern, however, that using the approach of tracking food intake could lead to disordered eating, unhealthy relationships with food, low self-esteem and unhealthy body image among adolescents. A better approach for encouraging children to develop healthy eating habits and maintain healthy weight is to teach and model healthy eating without food shaming or guilt tripping. The New York Times offers a helpful guide that includes the following suggestions for parents and caregivers:

tuna

My son eating tuna noodle casserole

  • Model healthy habits
  • Involve children in food shopping and cooking
  • Initiative positive conversations about different eating patterns
  • Choose not to use food as a reward, bribe or punishment
  • Refrain from talking about weight or dieting
  • Allow less-than-healthy foods into your meal plan on occasion, without making a big deal about it
  • Respect food preferences and aversions
  • Encourage children to identify and respond to their body’s cues for hunger and fullness

Finally, be sure to voice concerns with a pediatrician or a dietitian if your child starts to obsess over food or weight at any given time. With these guidelines in mind, you’ll be doing your part to help the children in your life develop healthy eating habits.

Sources:

American Academy of Pediatrics (2016). How to prevent obesity without encouraging eating disorders. https://www.aappublications.org/news/2016/08/22/Obesity082216 

CDC (2020). Tips to Help Children Maintain a Healthy Weight. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/children/index.html

National Eating Disorders Association (2018). NEDA Statement on Kurbo by WW App. https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/neda-statement-kurbo-ww-app

Sole-Smith, V. (2019). A New Weight Watchers App for Kids Raises Concerns. The New York Times. https://parenting.nytimes.com/childrens-health/weight-watchers-kids?te=1&nl=nyt-parenting&emc=edit_ptg_20190911?campaign_id=118&instance_id=12279&segment_id=16918&user_id=86dd6cac18c7ca41e6c8d433d5340d6c&regi_id=92717125

Sweeney, E. (2019). How to Teach Children About Healthy Eating, Without Food Shaming. The New York Times. https://parenting.nytimes.com/feeding/healthy-eating-habits?module=article-group&topic=Toddler&rank=3&position=7

Written by: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Franklin County and Olivia Levine, Dietetic Intern, The Ohio State University

Reviewed by: Jami Dellifield, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Hardin County

Pizza for dinner again!

There are a lot of things going on in this world right now that can make us feel anxious, worrisome, sad, upset, angry, and even defeated. I would be lying if I said I hadn’t felt any of those feelings in the last several months. Maybe you’ve experienced one of the following scenarios.

Pepperoni pizza in takeout box
  1. Showered a few minutes extra to cry so no one would see or hear you.
  2. Locked yourself in the bathroom to get a few extra minutes of tranquility.
  3. Felt like you can’t continue and just want to feel like yourself again.
  4. Cried in your room for a quick minute when everyone left just to let go.
  5. Ordered pizza for dinner because time escaped and you’re just too tired and emotionally drained to cook anything.
  6. Felt alone, even with others around you.
  7. Felt upset that something you were looking forward to was canceled.

The truth; I have done/felt all of those things over the last several months and I am here to tell you that you can find joy and even build hope. Once I wiped my tears away I began to use positive self-talk to tell myself that I am enough and that I can overcome any obstacle in my way. I wasn’t going to let my stress control me. The Mayo Clinic reports that if we continue to not deal with our stress then it can contribute to many health problems like high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.

Some of the strategies I have used to help me has been to:

Letter blocks spelling “rest”
  • Take a walk
  • Listen to a mediation
  • Take some deep breaths
  • Laugh- a lot
  • Talk with friends and family
  • Read a book
  • Listen to positive, uplifting songs
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Eat healthier foods
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Practice yoga

Please know that if your symptoms continue then you need to seek professional help. A healthcare provider may want to look into other causes or refer you to a counselor who can help you identify your stress and offer new coping tools. Several years ago I was in a very stressful job situation.  I let this stress go untreated. My personality changed and I needed to seek medical help. I felt defeated but my healthcare provider was very supportive and encouraging. She was able to prescribe me a medication to help me through that situation. It’s okay to ask for help, and pizza for dinner again is okay too.

You have worth.

You are important.

You are wonderful.

You are enough.

Bohlen, A. (2019, July 22). Finding joy Retrieved from https://livehealthyosu.com/2019/07/22/finding-joy/

Mayo Clinic . (2019, April 4). Stress symptoms: Effects on your body and behavior. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-symptoms/art-20050987

Author: Amanda Bohlen, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Washington County, bohlen.19@osu.edu

Reviewer: Alisha Barton, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Miami County, barton.345@osu.edu