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Exercising Values

Happy, Healthy, Kind, & Considerate Kids

Weight Loss and Family Fun During Holidays (and Everyday)

build muscle character children diet exercise fat loss fitness goals habits holidays values weight loss Oct 31, 2012

We are just about to officially begin the holiday season. If you have diet and exercise goals, you may be starting to make a mental list of what you are going to do to combat the five pounds that the average person puts on during the holidays and sadly never takes off. You'd like to enjoy the holidays without carrying around an extra inch or two of belly fat the rest of the year.

As the days get shorter and in many places colder, parents begin to contemplate a different seasonal problem: children that are restless and bored indoors. Happily, there is one solution that can help solve both problems. It is possible to have healthy, happy children and to stay fit during the holidays. The solution in a word is: consistency.

Let's look at problem number one first. Instead of just pledging that you will say no to tempting desserts or no to buffet lines, add the more difficult commitment that you will make no exceptions.  When seeking to lose weight or to get fit, it's hard to stay on course when we are forever tempted to renegotiate our own resolutions. Consistency  is vital if we want to succeed and it requires a decision to avoid exceptions until the goal is reached.

To help your adherence, put a time limit on it. Start today and make the no exceptions pledge until all of the holidays have passed. Then make a planned exception for the day of the holiday only. You see, if you hold the indulgences down to just the actual holiday instead of the entire holiday season; weight gain will be highly unlikely. Have some fun. You may find that you actually enjoy the treats more when you do them in moderation.

Almost everyone knows a few habits that could be improved. Start there. For example, if you know you have food sensitivities but you eat them anyway, stop at least during this time of year. You'll likely be rewarded with more energy and less illness. Common culprits are dairy, eggs, corn, peanuts, soy, gluten and sugar but I've had clients who were sensitive to rice and other less common foods. Consulting an allergist might help you uncover hidden allergies but many people are able to notice that some foods leave them feeling bloated, fatigued, or otherwise out of sorts. Don't ignore these symptoms. It's okay to start with what is obvious.

If food sensitivities aren't a problem, choose another area that you know needs improvement. Perhaps you need to drink more water, eat more or less frequently, stop eating earlier in the day, stop skipping meals, eat less processed foods, eat more vegetables, etc. If you truly don't know what needs to change, consult a professional to help you.

Now for problem number two.

First of all, apply what you learned about diet to your children as well. Help them stay healthy with a healthier diet. Then, institute a consistent exercise routine that you can do with your children in fifteen minutes or less five days a week. Here's a sample workout from the Exercising Values monthly program:

Here’s the warm-up we will teach the children: Bottom Kickers, Knee Taps, Toy Soldiers, Planks, Planks Lifting Opposite Arms and Legs

Bottom Kickers (Butt Kicks):

We’ll begin with bottom kickers to work the hamstrings. Remain on the ball of your foot. Flex your knees and try to touch your bottom with your heel.  Each leg will come down directly underneath your center of gravity. Practicing this will make you a better runner.  Start by just lifting the leg and progress to more ballistic and quicker movements. Moving the legs fast is the goal.

Pretend that the ground is hot and pickup your feet quickly.

Knee Taps:

Follow the same pattern of starting slow and gradually getting faster and more ballistic.

Toy Soldiers:

Again, just lifting at first and progress to quick, ballistic movements if you can.

Planks Lifting Opposite Arms and Legs:

Go to the floor to do a plank. Next, lift opposite arms and legs as you continue to hold the plank.

Repeat all of the exercises if needed to feel warm and ready to go


Cardio: Knee Taps, Toy Soldiers and Bottom Kicks.

Upper Body: Planks with Arm and Leg Raises

From a plank, raise the opposite arm and leg off the ground before going down to your forearms or hands and up again.

Abs: Side Planks with Arm and Leg Raises

Perform an advanced side plank by lifting your top arm and leg off the ground and then switch sides. Repeat.

Lower Body: Sumo Squat with Bicep Curls

Do up to ten sumo squats then hold one at the bottom and do bicep curls.

Repeat all four as many times as you like.

Cool Down:

Alternate knee taps, toy soldiers and bottom kickers in an exaggeratedly slow fashion and then do a stretching routine.

All of these exercises and the stretching routine are illustrated in the EV monthly program. This simply gives you an idea of how much can be accomplished in a very short time. If you'd like to integrate character training with your workouts and receive a different workout for everyday of the year, then sign up below to join our email list and to receive a time sensitive alert as soon as the Exercising Values Monthly Program becomes available.

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About the Author

Pamela Davenport


For decades I have helped countless parents and their children overcome significant obstacles. My unique accomplishments in the fields of child development, health, and fitness have given me an unparalleled perspective and expertise that I would love to share with you.

  • Award-Winning Author and Parenting Coach
  • Mother of six and grandmother of five
  • Studied Juvenile Justice at Stanford University
  • Master’s degree in Social Work
  • Experienced family counselor
  • Support group leader for struggling parents
  • Taught health at the university level
  • Program manager for the personal training programs at two colleges
  • Personal Trainer helping people lose 5lb-100lb+
  • Two-time Ironman Triathlete and competing member of team USA
  •  UMB Lifetime Sportswoman Award 2017