Go, Slow, Whoa: Your Guide to Healthy Foods and Friends

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Some of you may or may not be aware that this blog is a product of the Junior League of Long Beach (JLLB).  This international women’s volunteer organization has its roots in many children’s advocacy issues over its history so it is natural that a cornerstone of JLLB’s work would be children’s physical health specifically healthy eating.  One of JLLB’s flagship events is Kids in the Kitchen, in partnership with Long Beach Health Department’s Healthy Active Long Beach, a program teaching children and their families healthy eating and living.  You can see where the overlap is in what The Confidence Post aims to address in healthy mind, body and soul.  We understand that leadership, self-esteem, and character development can only flourish in an healthy individual.

That being said as I and my volunteer partners begin to plan JLLB’s Kids in the Kitchen 2015-2016 schedule, I began to think about how similar the concept of healthy attitudes towards foods that we teach kids mirrors healthy attitudes towards relationships.  If you have children or are around children, you have heard the concept of always foods vs. sometimes foods.  I have attached some charts in case you have not heard of these concepts and would like more information (Sesame Street Anytime & Sometimes Foods).  But I specifically found the description from the website Kids Health compelling in the comparison of healthy foods v. healthy relationships (source http://kidshealth.org/kid/stay_healty/food/go_slow_whoa.html#).

This website describes the quite popular concept of foods to eat anytime v. sometimes as “Go, Slow and Whoa” foods.  The foods break down as follows:

Go: Foods that are the healthiest. These foods are good enough for you to eat almost anytime

Slow: Foods that are largely not bad for you. They are the “sometimes” foods. They aren’t off limits, but shouldn’t be eaten everyday.

Whoa: Foods that are the least healthy. They would likely cause obesity and subsequent health issues if they were eaten everyday. These are the treat foods (YUMMY!), live a little foods, or once in a while foods.

Now the charts I have attached breakdown what foods are in what groups and that is not the focus of this blog post so I don’t want to go on too much more about the website’s description and concerns around these foods.  What I wanted to bring to your attention is how easily we can apply this concept to healthy relationships.  Our guilt-free guide to who is called, emailed, texted, sent cards (my favorite), taken to lunch/coffee/happy hour everyday and when to indulge in that sinful gossip session with an ex-coworker.

The more I looked at the idea of go, slow, or whoa relationships, the better I felt about the place I had in my life for all my extraordinary, wonderful and simple relationships.  Because at the end of the day, they all have a piece of me so I need to be cognizant of how much to commitment to and who deserves what.  So using the model from the Kids Health website, here is how I see healthy relationships:

Go: Relationships that are the foundation of who I am…my husband, my son, my parents my sisters, brother, brothers-in-laws, sister-in-law and my nieces (God, I love them!). I don’t talk to anyone everyday (other than my son) because I find it exhausting but if I did these are the people I would turn to. I believe in the good in them and because of that, they are completely healthy for me. They make me who I am therefore I need them around regularly to provide perspective and grounding. For you, it might not be your family. It might be friends you have known forever. These are the people that you can’t and shouldn’t go without connecting with because these people love you, the real you that nobody else does. They know you and love you without judgment. These are the healthiest relationships in their purest form.

Slow: This is where I depart largely from the healthy eating concept because these people in my life are not remotely less healthy for me. I am fortunate enough to have amazing (mostly) women in my life that because of proximity or busy schedule can only be “sometimes” friends. Not that we wouldn’t be there for each other in a moment’s notice, but where we have found connection is our occasional text, call, card or meal/drink. Because we have built our friendships on the sometimes” level, we couldn’t talk every day and have the same dynamic. I cherish these friendships in big and small ways contribute to the woman I am so I would never try to make them into “anytime” or “Go” friends because the act of trying would invalidate our friendship. So there these incredible people exist, I talk to them sometimes and those short shots of their optimism,humor, wisdom, intellect inspire me and bring me health and happiness.

Whoa: These are my Facebook friends, school friends, neighbors, ex-coworkers, etc. These are my chocolate chip cookies and chili cheese fries. There is nothing wrong with connecting from time to time but these relationships lack the depth or substance that sustains a healthy friendship. It has nothing to do with who these people are or anything about them at all except how they fit into my life at any given time. They may have been a fantastic friend in a different season but as we grow and change into the women and men we were meant to be, some friends move into the “whoa” category. There are only so many times you can hear about that “one time in college that we…” or “nice weather” before it is time to move on.

The reason these concepts are important is that no category is without its importance.  The people you place in each category can and should change as you grow and mature.  The reason you see them as a “Go” “Slow” or “Whoa” has nothing to do with them and everything to do with you.  You have set your priorities…that friend that doesn’t call you very often is probably because you haven’t invested where she is in this season of her life.  Even though, your “Go” friend has recently been your “Slow” friend doesn’t mean that friendship doesn’t need the appropriate care to keep it flourishing.  One size does not fit all friendships…be open to how to meet a relationship where it is with the investment it needs to grow.

Lastly like “Whoa” food, if all you do is surround yourself with friends that do not love you for who you are, judge you, bring you down, constantly bring negativity into your life you will become mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy.  Food and relationships are exactly the same in that way.  Feed your mind and soul like you could get diabetes or heart disease if you didn’t…healthy eating and relationships aren’t that much different.

Please check out the following links for additional information:

http://kidshealth.org/kid/stay_healthy/food/go_slow_whoa.html

http://www.sesamestreet.org/cms_services/services?action=download&uid=5a83318f-b0c8-43df-8150-d55cd2255509

-Cheryl L.

5776, My Year of Connection

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September brings lots of new years’ for me. It’s a new year of work, school, a new year for the Junior League, and the new Jewish year, 5776. Jews spend the 10 days between Rosh Hashanah (the New Year) and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) to reflect on the past year and make resolutions for the year ahead. They are called the Days of Awe, and I am definitely finding inspiration in them, without even intending to do so.

Since Monday, the first year of 5776, I have found that the universe has made me more connected than productive. On days that I would normally get a lot of computer or administrative work done, I have had one meaningful, deep, and insightful conversation after the other. Making my days not so productive, but very emotionally connected to the people around me.

I’ve been there for the colleague whose wife just called to tell him their marriage was over. I’ve had an extended chat with my girlfriend on how we make our marriages work with our busy lives.  I even connected with an old high school friend on what’s truly important, what we would change if we could and how much our friendship is valued by each other.

This might sound like a normal week for most, but not me.  I’m more of a “down to business” kind of gal, who’s not cold, per se, but definitely not the warmest coal on the heap.  Or at least I haven’t been, until now.  5776.  Oh, and did I mention my anniversary fell on New Year’s Eve? A coincidence I have tried not to overlook and even been more patient and attentive with my husband.

The other day, instead of worrying about how I was going to keep my boys busy for an hour I had alone with them, I just decided that cuddling and watching TV in the short hour that we had was enough. I want to relish these days when the boys are young and want to cuddle with me, instead of worrying about them getting too much screen time.

I plan on resolving this year to prioritize those meaningful conversations I have with people about the relationships in their lives over getting work done. I plan on taking the extra minutes I have to cuddle with my boys and just relax and recharge and let them know that I am physically there for them.

In 5776, I will let go of the need to plan every minute, to make every activity structured, to worry about what my fellow mommies and my husband would think. What matters is that I spend my time with my boys, my husband and my colleagues, connecting in ways that really matter.

5776, My Year of Connection.  May the Schwartz Be With You

-Mary S.

13 Things to Learn in School

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I have two children in elementary school and for some reason it seems like a much different scene than it was four years ago when my nine year old started kindergarten. We just dropped her off at class and that was it. Now I seem to be thinking about things more than I did before. Did we make the right choice of school? Will she do okay in a classroom setting? Will she like school? Will she remember to ask for help? Will my husband and I adjust to having two kids in school? Will I miss the kids more?

To get myself through the transition I made myself a list of 13 things I hope my kids will do or at least think about in school:

  1. Kindergarten: Have fun! Be yourself, and don’t be afraid to get dirty!
  1. First Grade: Learn to enjoy reading, and don’t be afraid to read Green Eggs and Ham 100 times if you want to.
  1. Second Grade: Don’t get frustrated with cursive hand writing, or math. Explore the world around you, and don’t forget to have fun.
  1. 3rd Grade: Have fun with class projects. Learn all about a city or place far away from where you live.
  1. 4th Grade: Be creative, and enjoy learning. There are so many different things to be learned this year. And I really hope you are having fun.
  1. 5th Grade: Learn that it is okay to do something slow, and master that something when you can.
  1. 6th Grade: Don’t be afraid to be yourself, and definitely don’t be afraid to speak your mind.
  1. 7th Grade: Love yourself, and realize that there are lots of other awkward kids out there just like you. And speaking from experience, don’t let your parents tell the principal that you don’t have enough homework.
  1. 8th Grade: Remember that if there was ever a true definition of the subject of Algebra it would be: Hard-As-Hell.
  1. 9th Grade: Enter high school with an open mind. Do what you want to do because you want to, not because someone else told you not to or told you to do so. And by now I really hope you realize how much fun you really should be having in school.
  1. 10th Grade: Don’t be afraid to ask for help. And tell your parents you don’t need a “student driver” sticker for the back of their car, and that they don’t need to yell “cat” as you come to an intersection to get your attention while you are learning to drive.
  1. 11th Grade: Don’t turn away a friend in need. Don’t be afraid to ask a teacher, counselor, or even the school principal for advice.
  1. 12th Grade: You have made it, and college is around the corner, but study what you want in college even if it won’t pay the bills after college or your parents don’t understand it. Play the sports you always wanted to play, act the part in the play you always wanted, and don’t be afraid to follow your dreams. You didn’t spend 13 years in school learning the tools to succeed if you had no plans to use them in the real world.

………And please tell me that at some point during the last 13 years in school you at least had some fun in school.

-Annie P.

Hanging On To Hair

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Strange as it sounds, yes, I’ve been hanging on to my hair.  My story may seem vain at first glance, but please ladies, hear me out.

Like so many others, I’ve always struggled with self image and confidence. After decades of makeup experiments and style flops, my hair was the only area that I actually loved (sad but true). Even more so when I was pregnant and even post baby, I was always complimented on my hair. It was long, thick and fortunately I was able to style it decently. As a grown woman, I allowed my hair to define me.  No, it wasn’t naturally luxurious or glamorous, it took loads of time and work.  But it was work that I had time for prior to the birth of my daughter. Shortly after her arrival, it became clear that I wouldn’t have that kind of extra time for a while. I wasn’t able to wash it as often, let alone style it. And as my daughter became an active toddler, my hair was tossed in a bun daily, which had me wondering why I was hanging on to this hair?

As my mom style finally began to define itself (relaxed tees, jeans and flats), I realized that my long, luxurious locks were a thing of the past. Not only that, but my strands were holding me back. I hated that I couldn’t just toss up my hair and roll out the door (at the pace of my kiddo). And after my daughter expressed anxiety over losing her hair during her first trim, my mind was made up. I couldn’t allow her to view hair, makeup, or clothing as an important piece of who a woman is. I want her to see them for who they are and not how long their hair is. I know, she’s only 3 and maybe too young to fully get it.  But, she definitely imitates others and is very curious, so it can’t hurt.

The woman I was 3 years ago has definitely evolved since becoming a mom, and my hair was such a small part of that big transition.  The change as a whole was so much more than I ever expected.  The pre-baby me would have laughed at the thought of staying in on Saturday nights or skipping a shower. I would have snagged the 4 inch stilettos instead of the memory foam flats at the shoe store. After losing the 8 inches of hair, I feel free, comfortable and more momish than before.  Proof that change is good, ladies.

-Kristin S.