I was compensated for my participation in Coca-Cola's Balanced Living Workshop, but my thoughts and views are my own.
When Coca-Cola invited me to their two-day Balanced Living Workshop, I was giddy. Two days away from laundry and the kids! I would get to hang out with other Chicago-area mom bloggers! There was a cocktail party!
Don't tell them this, but they pretty much had me at "hello."
|Here a picture of me with my new BFF Tracy from Just Another Mommy Blog and taken by my other new BFF Kari from A Grace Full Life. For some odd reason, I gravitated towards the funny bloggers. We can spot lunacy from 50 feet.|
I wasn't really sure what to expect, but I am still surprised by the number of take-aways from the event. Our group worked out with celebrity fitness trainer Harley Pasternak who permanently destroyed my faith in the "Sit-Up." Apparently, sit-ups just reinforce all the slouchy things we do throughout the day (sitting at a computer, driving, etc.).
Harley taught us to focus more on bending the other way with exercises like "The Superman" and "The Plank." I'm still sore, but by God, I've been better-postured since then and try to do a few each day for good measure. (All pictures, unless indicated, are courtesy of The Coca-Cola Company and Bruce Powell Photography)
|Because ORANGE is such a good color choice while exercising and being photographed. In my defense, the outfit was on sale AND I had a 30% off coupon.|
|Harley was kind of dreamy. Here he is photographed with someone who is NOT me - Kathy Benson from Bereaved and Blessed and local Beverly mom. I knew I should've taken her down.|
The dietitian also provided tips for getting my boys to eat healthier foods. She suggested incorporating meals with lots of choices (salad bars, potato bars, etc.). My kids are total control freaks, as is their mother. So we've never enjoyed relaxed meals together without someone clamoring for something else.
What do you suppose happened when I laid out a salad bar with various options? Monumental hit. The boys got to control their veggie and dressing selections while I got to control my aggravation. Smiles abounded. I will definitely be incorporating this idea again.
One of the most impressive workshops included a session with Coca-Cola Senior Manager of Education and Outreach, Joan Koelemay. Joan was understanding of the many questions, concerns, and issues that moms have regarding artificial sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup, and the impact of sugary drinks. Plus, she was super-smart AND she thought I was funny. I kind of wanted to adopt her.
|I think we were supposed to cut pictures out of magazines, but they had NEW SHARPIES. For someone like me, new markers are practically crack cocaine.|
Anyway, a clear message arose: moderation is integral to good health. It is better to indulge in two Oreos to satiate a sweet tooth than to eat an entire box of "low fat" cookies. Sugar and fat are not the enemy, but portion size is.
|Portion size extends to alcohol consumption. This picture was taken at the cocktail party. And why am I the one with the biggest smile? I'll let you figure that one out.|
Another interesting fact I took away from Joan's session was an explanation on why I have super-low blood pressure despite a rather high-sodium diet: CALCIUM. My cereal-as-dinner approach and resulting calcium intake have evidently been blunting sodium's impact on my blood pressure for years. Who knew?
I couldn't help but laugh when we headed to the grocery store and guess who Coke brought in to serve as nutritionist and shopping guide? Kim Kirchherr! You remember her, right? I met her when I brought doughnuts in for my big WGN interview, not realizing I'd be following the nutritionist expert Kim. It was another example of my gaffe-prone life.
Anyway, it was a fun and educational workshop that I feel extremely lucky to have been a part of. Will it impact the choices I make for my family going forward? Time will tell. But I did cut out a coupon for produce today. And guess what I made for dinner last night:
|Dan picked out the celery, Jack picked out the bean sprouts, and Joey wanted broccoli. I do believe I may have brought the wrong baby home from the hospital with that last one...BROCCOLI??|
Here's to a happy & healthy 2013 for all!