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For the month of January, set some health goals and try kickboxing, karate & fitness with the Boca Raton Karate & Kickboxing Academy.  10 weeks for $200!  Unlimited classes for all ages.  Call for details.  561-926-1846

SMART:goal setting 2016


Here‚Äôs how I¬†used SMART goal setting that helped me lose some weight.¬† A goal needs to be as specific as possible so you can work toward it and achieve it. ‚ÄúLose weight‚ÄĚ as a goal was vague and easily ignored without details..¬†I needed to answer specifics ‚Äď why lose the weight, how much, when and how soon.

With extra weight I was tired, unhappy and nothing fit! I wanted to feel good again and wear some of my favorite clothes! Now this is getting specific….

I tracked my¬†daily intake and exercise¬†by using ‚Äď an online¬†food and exercise journal that kept me accountable and watching my progress as I continued.¬†It was measurable and gave me easy access to calorie counts, etc.¬† ¬†I also made sure my goal was realistic.¬† Too much or too soon only would lead to failure and¬†disappointment.¬† Progress had to keep being made, but it had to happen slow enough to make it lasting.¬† I get discouraged easily¬† and losing weight has become increasingly harder over the years.¬† This is also why I enlisted a friend with a similar goal.¬† He kept me accountable and is an encouraging force to keep me moving in the right direction.
I gave myself a time frame to hit specific milestones as well as a final number date.
Once I got going on losing the weight and making some mini-goal dates, it got easier to keep going to my ultimate goal weight.

The changes were in diet and lifestyle.¬† They became a way of life and not just a diet.¬† That‚Äôs the real goal ‚Äď to be happy, healthy and wear¬†all my favorite clothing again!¬† Be SMART for 2016!

For the month of January, set some health goals and try kickboxing, karate & fitness with the Boca Raton Karate & Kickboxing Academy.  10 weeks for $200!  Unlimited classes for all ages.  Call for details.  561-926-1846

This is a great article I found regarding Thanksgiving and healthy eating suggestions….enjoy!


By Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD, 

WebMD Feature Archive

Enjoy the holiday feast without the guilt — or the weight gain.

Thanksgiving only comes around once a year, so why not go ahead and splurge? Because gaining weight¬†during the holiday season is a national pastime. Year after year, most of us pack on at least a pound (some gain more) during the holidays — and keep the extra weight permanently.

But Thanksgiving does not have to sabotage your weight, experts say. With a little know-how, you can satisfy your desire for traditional favorites and still enjoy a guilt-free Thanksgiving feast. After all, being stuffed is a good idea only if you are a turkey!

1 Get Active

Create a calorie deficit by exercising to burn off extra calories before you ever indulge in your favorite foods, suggests Connie Diekman, MEd, RD, former president of the American Dietetic Association (ADA).

“‘Eat less and exercise more’ is the winning formula to prevent weight gain during the holidays,” Diekman says. “Increase your steps or lengthen your fitness routine the weeks ahead and especially the day of the feast.”

Make fitness a family adventure, recommends Susan Finn, PhD, RD, chair of the American Council on Fitness and Nutrition: “Take a walk early in the day and then again after dinner. It is a wonderful way for families to get physical activity¬†and enjoy the holiday together.”

(Side note from BRKKA:  Kickboxing is a great family activity that can be enjoyed over the holidays.  Check out our schedule and try a free week: )

2 Eat Breakfast

While you might think it makes sense to save up calories for the big meal, experts say eating a small meal in the morning can give you more control over your appetite. Start your day with a small but satisfying breakfast ¬†— such as an egg with a slice of whole-wheat toast, or a bowl of whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk — so you won’t be starving when you arrive at the gathering.

“Eating a nutritious meal with protein and fiber before you arrive takes the edge off your appetite and allows you to be more discriminating in your food and beverage choices,” says Diekman.

3 Lighten Up

Whether you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner or bringing a few dishes to share, make your recipes healthier with less fat, sugar, and calories.

“There is more sugar and fat in most recipes than is needed, and no one will notice the difference if you skim calories by using lower calorie ingredients,” says Diekman.

Her suggestions:

  • Use fat-free chicken broth to baste the turkey and make gravy.
  • Use sugar substitutes in place of sugar and/or fruit purees instead of oil in baked goods.
  • Reduce oil and butter wherever you can.
  • Try plain yogurt or fat-free sour cream in creamy dips, mashed potatoes, and casseroles.

4 Police Your Portions

  • Thanksgiving tables are bountiful and beautiful displays of traditional family favorites. Before you fill your plate, survey the buffet table and decide what you’re going to choose. Then select reasonable-sized portions of foods you cannot live without.

“Don’t waste your calories on foods that you can have all year long,” suggests Diekman. “Fill your plate with small portions of holiday favorites that only come around once a year so you can enjoy desirable, traditional foods.”

  • Skip the Seconds.

Try to resist the temptation to go back for second helpings.

“Leftovers are much better the next day, and if you limit yourself to one plate, you are less likely to overeat and have more room for a delectable dessert,” Diekman says.

  • Choose the Best Bets on the Buffet.

While each of us has our own favorites, keep in mind that some holiday foods are better choices than others.

“White turkey meat, plain vegetables, roasted sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, defatted gravy, and pumpkin pie tend to be the best bets because they are lower in fat and calories,” says Diekman. But she adds that, “if you keep your portions small, you can enjoy whatever you like.”

5 Slowly Savor

Eating slowly, putting your fork down between bites, and tasting each mouthful is one of the easiest ways to enjoy your meal and feel satisfied with one plate full of food, experts say. Choosing whole grains, fruits, vegetables, broth-based soups, salads, and other foods with lots of water and fiber add to the feeling of fullness.

Spread out the food and fun all day long. At the Finn family Thanksgiving gathering, they schedule dessert after a walk, while watching a movie together.

“We eat midday, and instead of another meal at dinnertime, we continue the feast with dessert a few hours after the main meal,” Finn explains.

6 Go Easy on the Alcohol

Don’t forget those alcohol calories that can add up quickly.

“Have a glass of wine or a wine spritzer and between alcoholic¬†drinks, (or) enjoy sparkling water,” says Diekman. “this way you stay hydrated, limit alcohol calories, and stay sober.”

7 Be Realistic

The holiday season is a time for celebration. With busy schedules and so many extra temptations, this is a good time to strive for weight maintenance instead of weight loss.

“Shift from a mindset of weight loss to weight maintenance,” says Finn. “You will be ahead of the game if you can avoid gaining any weight over the holidays.”

8 Focus on Family and Friends

Thanksgiving is not just about the delicious bounty of food. It’s a time to celebrate relationships¬†¬†with family and friends.

“The main event should be family and friends socializing, spending quality time together, not just what is on the buffet,” says Finn.

Halloween is a nightmare for those of us with a sweet tooth!¬† It’s a ¬†tempting time with literally hundreds of candies out there for purchase, collection and consumption.. I don’t know about you, but often I’ve purchased my bags “for Halloween” and by the time Oct 31st rolls around, I have to buy more because I’ve eaten them all!¬† Just 1 or 2 or 3….. turns into the entire bag is gone before you know it.

If this sounds anything like you, I’ve found the following information online that may help put this self-control challenge into perspective… Maybe, if you are aware of the calories they could add to your daily intake, you’ll think twice.

Halloween Candy Guide ‚Äď Top 15 Mini Size Bars

Calories Fat (g) Carbs (g)
3 Musketeers, fun size, 3 bars, 1.6 oz 190 6 24
Almond Joy, snack size, 1 bar, 0.6 oz 80 4.5 10
Baby Ruth, fun size, 2 bars, 1.3 oz 170 8 24
Butterfinger, fun size, 1 bar, 0.75 oz 100 4 15
Heath, snack size, 3 pieces, 1.5 oz 230 14 27
Hershey’s miniatures assortment, 5 pcs, 1.5 oz 210 13 25
Kit Kat, snack size, 6 pieces, 1.48 oz 210 11 27
Milky Way, fun size, 2 bars, 1.2 oz 150 6 24
Mounds, snack size, 1 bar, 0.6 oz 80 4.5 10
Nestle’s Crunch, fun size, 3 bars, 1.34 oz 180 9 26
PayDay, snack size, 1 bar, 0.7 oz 90 10 24
Reese’s PB Cups, snack size, 1 cup, 0.75 oz 110 6.5 12
Reese’s Sticks, snack size, 1 stick, 0.6 oz 90 5 10
Snickers, fun size, 2 bars, 1.2 oz 160 8 21
Twix, 3 mini pieces, 1 oz 150 8 20
Charleston Chew (30 calories) 10 minutes of leisurely walking
(2.5 mph)
Nestle’s Crunch or York Peppermint Patty (60 calories each) 25 minutes of yoga
3 Musketeers (63 calories) 26 minutes of Pilates
Hershey’s milk chocolate bar (67 calories) 15 minutes of dancing
Kit Kat (70 calories) 10 minutes of rowing (moderate effort)
Regular M&M’s (67 calories) 9 minutes of jumping jacks
Heath bar (77 calories) 12 minutes of aerobics
Milky Way, Mounds, Snickers, or Twix (80 calories each) 9 minutes on the elliptical
Butterfinger or Baby Ruth (85 calories each) 10 minutes of Zumba
Peanut M&M’s or Mr. Goodbar (90 calories each) 13 minutes of hiking
100 Grand (95 calories) 10 minutes of kickboxing
Take 5 (100 calories) 17 minutes of leisurely bike riding (10-12 mph)
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup (110 calories) 7 minutes of jogging (10-minute-mile pace)

But we are all human, and Halloween should be a fun time where you enjoy some indulging…
So if that’s the case, may we recommend a little kickboxing workout to help burn the extra calories…. in an hour, you can burn up to 450 calories with kickboxing, release some stress and learn valuable self-defense!

If you would like more info on kickboxing, contact the Boca Raton Karate & Kickboxing Academy @ 561-926-1846 or

If you would like more info on how you can help your child develop positively and thrive, contact the Boca Raton Karate & Kickboxing Academy @ 561-926-1846 or

Empathy is a tricky skill set.¬† We all have different levels of empathy for different reasons. In order to understand another person’s perspective and emotional reactions, we have to understand our own thoughts, values and feelings and also be able to know the difference.¬† It requires self-awareness and the ability to temper one’s own response in certain situations.¬† And you have to care about others in order to truly want to understand and practice genuine empathy.¬† All very worthwhile traits that take practice.¬† Teaching kids these skills are paramount and with time and effort strong empathetic skills can be learned.

A great start is to have a secure and safe environment at home.  Kids that are confident their needs will be met are more likely to want to help and understand the needs of others.  Teach your child how to handle negative emotions and solve their issues without lashing out.  Behavior is greatly influenced by emotions and feelings.  Explain the connection so your kids understand how emotions lead to actions.

Model empathy whenever possible – discuss the feelings of others in everyday situations, in stories or on TV.¬† Help your child find commonality with others so they can relate.¬† Another suggestion is to take advantage of emotional moments to practice empathetic skills…. it’s hard to empathize with hunger and world starvation when you are full.¬† But when kids are hungry, it’s a great time to discuss how starving people all over the world must feel all.

Young kids learn about reading emotions through visual input- watching expressions of others. It has been proven that by imitating a facial expression, the actual emotions can follow Рchanges in brain activity, heart rate, temperature, etc..   Imitating facial expressions can be a great tool for building and understanding the power of empathy.

Help you kids develop a sense of morality that stems from values Рnot material rewards.  Empathy comes from a genuine place of sincere feelings.  It is not self-serving or developed through bribes.  Good people can be persuaded to do bad things.  Teach your kids about morality and staying true to what they know is right versus wrong.

Inspire your children by showing emotions, and practicing empathy with them as well as others.¬† It’s well worth the effort and will help them in future relationships for the rest of their lives.

If you would like more info on how you can help your child develop positively and thrive, contact the Boca Raton Karate & Kickboxing Academy or call 561-926-1846

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If you would like more info on how you can help your child develop positively and thrive, contact the Boca Raton Karate & Kickboxing Academy @ 561-926-1846 or

Step eight is to invest time and effort into bringing your child’s friends into your family life.¬† Get to know these friends and make them part of your winning family team.¬† It’s easier to bring them into the fold and have a positive influence versus trying to get youteens photor child not to spend time with them.

Stay active and involved in your kids school, clubs, sports and activities.  This is where the majority of friendships are made.  You can keep a watchful eye and help them navigate through the issues that inevitably will arise between kids.

Create a home environment that is welcoming and warm and open to your kid’s friends.¬† Give them a place to hang out – but instead of a mall or elsewhere, you get to watch (at least from a distance).

Involve them in activities with your family to make them feel at home with you.  Be accessible.

Get to know your kid’s friends – know their names and who their parents are.¬† However,¬† be sensitive to your child’s reaction to you spending time with their friends…. manage information gathering in small doses.¬† Too much time may cause resentment and have the opposite effect of what you are trying to achieve.

If you would like more info on how you can help your child develop positively and thrive, contact the Boca Raton Karate & Kickboxing Academy or call 561-926-1846

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If you would like more info on how you can help your child develop positively and thrive, contact the Boca Raton Karate & Kickboxing Academy @ 561-926-1846 or

Visualization ivisualization photos simply creating mental images.  These images can be created through reading, writing or an actual experience.  Visualization links knowledge/experience with imagination.  It is a strategy often used to enhance understanding and assist meeting certain goals in life.  If you can picture the success, you can achieve it.

In today’s world, our kids are so overwhelmed with imagery on TV and through video games, imagination isn’t heavily tapped into and visualization is limited.¬† But when reading or writing, visualization brings the story to life, greatly increasing comprehension.

Visualization is a skill that must be taught.¬† Start by reading with your kids, then sharing how you visualize a story or paragraph.¬† Then let your kids give it a try.¬† Tell them to close their eyes and tell you what picture their imagination has created.¬† Use the senses – how does it feel, smell, look, sound….

Then apply this technique to goals.  How would it feel and look and sound to meet that specific goal?  Can you picture yourself doing this?

If they’ve seen it in their imagination clearly and often, confidence in moving forward toward that goal naturally follows.¬† It is said that success happens twice;¬† first mentally and then followed physically.

If you would like more info on how you can help your child develop positively and thrive, contact the Boca Raton Karate & Kickboxing Academy @ 561-926-1846 or

If you would like more info on how you can help your child develop positively and thrive, contact the Boca Raton Karate & Kickboxing Academy @ 561-926-1846 or

Parents have a huge responsibility to bring their children up to be healthy, productive and independent adults. We have to guide our children, tell them difference between right and wrong, encourage them to believe in themselves, explain our expectations and why they are so important.¬† But the one essential element in leading your child down a ¬†positive path is to walk down that path yourself….. setting a good example.Family Playing Game Together At Home

Kids learn by watching the adults in their lives.¬† When we as parents are doing the right thing, we are naturally passing along that information without saying a word.¬† Here are a few suggestions to help lead by example….

РBe present when you are with your children.  Today we are bombarded by technology that can distract us.  Cell phone, computers, video games Рthey all take our attention away from our kids or other important people in our lives.  Put them down during dinner and family time.  Show your kids that people, family and relationships are more important than gadgets.

–¬† Spend your free time on a variety of healthy activities.¬† TV is fine in limited quantity, but also diversify activities with reading, hobbies, outdoor fun, etc.¬† Time is valuable and you should enhance your life as much as possible.

–¬† Show kids how to live a healthy life. ¬†Eat well – limit your indulgences of junk food and introduce a variety of vegetables and fruit into your family diet.¬† Spend time exercising each day and being active.¬† If they grow up doing this, it will naturally be a part of them.

– ¬†Mean what you say and say what you mean.¬† Don’t make false promises or threats.¬† Teaching kids that being honest to your word – living with integrity – is a key element to their future successes and relationships.¬† Follow through with actions every time.

–¬† Don’t get caught up in “things”.¬† Happiness cannot be bought in a department store or acquired through designer labels.¬† True happiness comes from within – from sharing our lives with loved ones.

–¬† Treat others as we want to be treated.¬† Watch your words and attitudes.¬† Whether it’s other family members, friends, co-workers or complete strangers, use kindness to handle situations that arise.¬† Remember, kids are always watching and they hear what you are saying about others even if the subject of your comment is not present.

Striving to raise healthy, happy kids makes us better parents and better people overall.¬† It’s a win/win for everyone!

If you would like more info on how you can help your child develop positively and thrive, contact the Boca Raton Karate & Kickboxing Academy @ 561-926-1846 or