The Coca Cola Balanced Living Workshop gave me tools to change

The Coca Cola Balanced Living Workshop gave me tools to change
A picture of a picture making hummus at The Chopping Block. Photo credit: The Coca-Cola Company and Bruce Powell Photography

I was compensated for my participation in Coca-Cola's Balanced Living Workshop, but my thoughts and views are my own.

Last week I participated in the Coca Cola Balanced Living Workshop.  At the two-day event, I learned how valuable it is to take a break from everyday life in a positive and healthy environment.  I knew I would enjoy meeting other Chicago mom bloggers and the luxury of my own hotel room, but I did not expect to go home with the tools to create a more balanced family life.

Coca Cola understands that our country is in a health crisis, and is committed to providing nutritional information, fitness programs, and the tools to empower us to make the right choices.  I applaud the company for using their resources and voice to educate us.

We need to make smart choices. Often, the easy, convenient lunches like Lunchables (my daughter's dream) are bad choices.  The day I returned home from Balanced Living, I had my kids in the kitchen with me making hummus and chopping vegetables.  As we cooked I told them that our house had new rules about eating the food that is put in front of us during family dinners.  I will no longer be providing macaroni and cheese or late night snacks.  As my nutritionist pointed out during my one-on-one session, "Your child will not starve from missing dinner one night.  But, she will quickly learn to eat when food is provided."

My Oprah-like aha-moment came during our session with celeb trainer Harley Pasternak.  Not only does he train Lady Gaga, Halle Berry and Robert Downey Jr., but also he is a nice down-to-earth wealth of information.  He explained that simply going to a sweaty hour spin class where you burn 500 calories isn't enough if you drive to work, sit at your desk and eat  a 1500 calorie lunch. I've spent years exercising and rewarding myself with a big dinner and wondering why I am not losing weight.

When talking about "bad" foods, Harley also explained, "There are no bad for you foods, only bad diets." It is all about moderation and choices.  One woman asked about white rice versus brown rice and Harley reminded us that Japan, where white rice is eaten all the time, is one of the healthiest countries in the world. America's portions are too big and we spend too much time sitting in front of the computer and in our cars.

We need to stand up and walk around and move. Since returning from the workshop, my family has been having before-bed dance parties.  This half hour of shaking our hips to Black Eyed Peas, The Rolling Stones and Carly Rae Jepson is fun, allows the kids to be creative, uses energy, and burns calories! Below are some online resources to help you make smart choices and plan for your family to be healthy.

eatright.org

healthychildren.org

familydoctor.com

foodinsight.org

morematters.org

This was an eye-opening experience for me and I am planning on revealing more of my learnings with you in future posts.  As always, please share your tips, successes and frustrations with our supportive community here.

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