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Community Feature

Get #BackToYou - Take this Healthy Challenge

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The kids have headed back to class and us parents are finally settling back into some kind of routine. Fall is the perfect time to start to re-focus on what's important. YOU. Yes providing for your kids, keeping a ship-shape house and meeting your work demands are important too - but none of that can get accomplished without putting YOU first. Our friend Samantha Montpetit-Huynh at Core Expectations is running a challenge right now, providing tips for how to bring nutrition and activity into your life, so you become the best you possible (and learn stress-relieving strategies for a healthy life). We caught up with Samantha and asked a few quesitons about why this challenge is so important (and why you should start following it today).

You work with a lot of moms in your personal training business. What are women doing and not doing to keep themselves healthy? What kinds of unhealthy behaviours do you see most often?

We don't eat! We make sure the kids eat first and always leave ourselves last. We cut up veggies for the kids, make sure their lunches are packed. Then we head out the door without anything for ourselves. So we stop at a drive-in and order a coffee and a muffin. Women make sure their kids eat well, but leave themselves out. Or they do the opposite. They have treats in the house, that are just for the kids. They are eating differently than the kids.

Why do you think we as women are driven to put others before ourselves?

We were raised that way. I saw it in my mother, and my grandmother. It's about getting all of the household chores done, making the food, doing the laundry at 3am ... this is the way we were raised. It takes a village to raise a child. But today there is a lack of community. It is ridiculous that it is so isolating to have a child. I tell pregnant women: when someone offers to help, take it! We need to break this mentality that we have to do it all, we have to prove something. We are stronger than men; we were made for childbirth! There's nothing left to prove. We have to support each other.

Our children are watching us! Part of this challenge is focused on giving children a great model of healthy behaviour. Why are you so passionate about this?

I am really concerned with childhood obesity. I think too often people blame genetics when really they should blame their fridge. A mini-chocolate bar in a child's lunch each day is not a treat. They don't need it. And this trend of hitting Starbuck's, which pre-teens and teens are now doing, for calorie-rich coffee beverages drives me insane. But kids are sponges, they see mom doing this. They are so smart. 

My daughter will be 13 soon and I see it in her. She has a sweet tooth and she sneaks treats and snacks. I know she is like me. I had a sweet tooth and it took me years to manage it. My mom never taught me how to manage it. She went the other extreme. We never had the food in the house. I think it is our job to teach our children healthy food habits. That starts with modelling good behaviour. If you can't have a bag of cookies in the house without inhaling the whole pack before breakfast, you need to get some help. We can have a treat once an a while. 

Those first 5 years of life are so crucial. We need to teach our kids healthy food behaviours. This childhood obesity thing is a shame, with researchers suggesting we might outlive our kids. It's our job to educate ourselves about the crap that's in our food.

What's your #1 tip for women - what can we start doing TODAY to turn this thing around?

I've posted a few healthy living tips this month on my blog: changes you can make today, and ways to become more active. My number one tip: if it isn't in your house, you won't eat it. If you must have ice cream, go to the ice cream shop and pay 3x what you would at the grocery store. Make it inconvenient for yourself!

You can follow the #BackToYou Challenge on the Core Expectations Facebook page. Participate by commenting on posts and you are automatically entered to win a personal training and nutrition package!

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