We know how hard it can be to squeeze a workout into a busy schedule and when you add kids to the equation it becomes exponentially more difficult! Thankfully there are ways to keep your kids entertained and sneakily do some cardio at the same time. Take a look at the exercises below and try out this fun workout game during your next family movie night!

Ella Enchanted Workout Game

10 knee pull ins every time Ella receives an order
20 cross crunches every time Ella gains a new comrade
10 mountain climbers every time Ella changes her hairstyle
15 leg raises every time Ella travels to a new place

Enjoy the movie and let us know how it goes. When you’re breaking a sweat, remember at least you’re not the one with the gift of obedience!

Shawn Johnson's The Body Department - Ella Enchanted Workout Game Click here to download Ella Enchanted on iTunes!

 Adapted from The Body Department.

I recently read an article by Jillian Michaels that talked about the difficulty of dropping vanity pounds. Vanity pounds are pounds we want to lose, but our bodies don’t think we need to lose.

Because we’re made for survival.

Not appeal.

If we were vehicles we’d be Winnebagos.

“Survival” is what keeps those love handles lovin’ a lil longer and holdin’ a lil’ tighter. You never know when you’ll only be one cupcake away from starvation. Those cupcake pounds could be the ticket to making it to 16th place on Survivor. You won’t get to win the million dollars but you do get $2,500 and scurvy.

Sadly the only way to lose those pounds is good old fashioned diet and exercise. Of course dieting sucks. Not as bad as being hit in the face by a 10lb goose while riding a roller coaster. But it’s up there.

I’ve discovered that since turning 34 and having children, vanity pounds have appeared in foreign places where fat never went when I was 20. Though I greatly appreciate the warming insulation for winter, the summer reveal is just too much for my sense of self. And anyone else who can see.

These excess pounds are depressing. Frustrating. Downright aggravating. Generally at this point, most women—and by, “most women,”  I mean, “me”— would:

A. Wallow in self pity and eat a cupcake.
B. Get motivated to lose vanity weight. But enjoy one last cupcake before starting.
C. Set up a diet and exercise plan that highlights milestones. So one can reward themselves at each check point with a cupcake.

Let’s be honest.

Diet food is unrealistic.

And crazy.

Besides rabbits and fashion models, who fills up on lettuce? Everybody knows dieters can’t have dressing with a salad. Calories. Don’t even think about croutons or bacon bits. If it has flavor, it’s out. You just have to suck it up and eat your pile of weeds. Using only imagination for garnish.

Exercising is more realistic than dieting. But, it’s deceiving. After working out for forty-five minutes it’s natural to feel thinner. After all using the elliptical for an hour is a lot more work than eating an entire bag of Spicy Doritos in one sitting. And shouldn’t we be rewarded for our efforts? Instantly? Every time I finish a workout, I wait for a chunk of fat to fall off. Right there. On my floor. I actually wait. Then when it doesn’t, I get discouraged and go upstairs and eat 50 rice cakes. Because rice cakes are healthy and healthy is skinny. Being skinny is supposed to taste like hungry.

Now, I’m no a personal trainer. If I was, I’d be the only personal trainer who would not only encourage you to eat a Blizzard but would also drive you to Dairy Queen. And have one with you. Because I believe in indulgence.

This is why I’m a firm believer in the cupcake diet.

What is the cupcake diet?
The cupcake diet is a sweet, fluffy, high calorie, delicious disappointment.

How does it work?
I don’t diet. I just cut back on the amount of food I eat. Then, reward myself with a snippet of cupcake. So, if I take a small piece of cupcake, versus inhaling the whole cupcake in a single bite, I find that I don’t crave them as often.

What do you do when you aren’t on the cupcake diet?
I reward myself with a whole cake. Which is really just an overweight cupcake. If you think about it.

How do you sell yourself on this crap?
With a lot of denial and fluff. I prefer vanilla or buttercream fluff.

How can I also sell myself on this crap?
Just remember that a quarter of a cupcake doesn’t taste as good as a whole cupcake. But, it tastes better then no cupcake. And a quarter of a cupcake tastes good, but without the guilt or calories of the other three pieces.

So go ahead. Have a cupcake.

But just a bit.

Enjoy it.

If you get hit in the face by a gigantic bird you’ll be glad you did.

Originally posted at Christina’s blog

The other day as I walked into our living room to pick up some of the 250 toys that had been throw about that afternoon my five year old looked at me and said

“Look mom you should get that.” He was pointing at the television and when I realized it was some type of a weight loss product commercial a lump was suddenly in my throat.

“Honey, why would mommy need to get that?” Because it will help you lose fat and gain muscle. You know because you always say you feel fat.

Suddenly that lump turned into a giant boulder. Instead of feeling fat I just felt like a big fat failure.

Before I could say anything else my husband chimed in from the kitchen and said “Buddy mommy isn’t fat and it’s not nice to use that word when you describe someone.”

I could suddenly see the look of confusion on the face of my five year old. After all he didn’t actually call me fat. He simply repeated the fact that I often call myself fat. A wave of panic came over me.  All this time I never thought about what my fat shaming or body issues could be doing to my children. Why? Why had I not considered that they may be soaking it in? Why had I not realized that they were listening to me? Why had I not noticed them in the room when I would say things like “Ugh if I don’t fit in a run soon I won’t fit in my pants.” Why had I not noticed them looking at me when I would ask my husband if the jeans I put on made my butt look big?

Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. I never thought about it because I have boys.  I have often thought to myself that if I ever have a daughter I would really have to watch how much I complain about my body. The last thing I would want is for her to grow up with a warped body image.  I never once thought about what it could be doing to my boys.

As a society we have become so used to constant chatter about diets, weight loss, good foods, bad foods, the best workouts for better butts, arms, legs, abs and on and on and on that it doesn’t seem anything but normal to us. BLEH!!! I dare you to turn on a news program in the morning and last a whole hour without hearing anything about diet tips, the best foods for weight loss, how to cut out sugar FOREVER, jeans that make you look skinnier, taller, richer, anything but bigger.  Pull up Facebook at any given point in the day and try to avoid statuses about shakes, diet pills, powders, potions, new workouts, new workout gear, diets with no fat, diets with no carbs, no sugar, no solids, protein only diets, eating protein while running in place and lifting weights above your head diets.  You can’t. You would have to actually look away to not read anything about these things in your newsfeed. Oh and you can just forget standing on line at the grocery store. Every single magazine has something about diet; get a butt like celebrity A and legs like celebrity B. Maybe you want your left toe to be just as skinny as celebrity C in her last blockbuster. They hold the secrets to all of this and more.

Our kids are saturated by constant information about weight loss. CONSTANT! How do they stand a chance?  We have become a society obsessed by what we eat, what we don’t eat and what we do in between eating. There are so many commercials on all about weight loss it’s actually become absurd. The fat loss industry has taken over and I for one am over it. I am over the fat talk. I am over using the word fat in my every day life.

I have boys.  The last thing I want is for my boys to grow up with a mom who is constantly saying she feels fat. I run. I eat healthy and I should feel good about my body. I’m going to be 38 not 18. If I don’t embrace my body now I never will. I want my boys to know that there is so much more to a woman than her body.  I do not want my boys to grow up calling people fat. I do not want my boys to grow up and be so superficial when it comes to picking a partner because I will never forgive myself. I’m going to make an effort to talk about the positive instead of the negative. I’m going to set an example that I run because I enjoy it, which I do, rather than have them associate exercise as just a means to burn calories. I’m going to enjoy ice cream with them in the summer and pizza with them on a Friday. Oh and on birthdays I’m going to have my cake and eat it too!  I’m going to allow my children to see me live life in moderation not in desperation.   I’m going to start loving myself instead of constantly focusing on the negative.

The phrase: “I feel fat” is officially banned from this house.

I have not always been an athlete. I started as a chunky kid. I carried 180 pounds on my 5’4” frame for most of college and throughout graduate school. I tried diet after diet, but eventually assumed that this was just how I was built to be.

As my 30th birthday approached, I decided to try something new. Rather than seeing how little I could eat, I committed to see how strong I could be. I started working out with a personal trainer in earnest and gave Weight Watchers one more try.

One day at the gym, I saw an ad for Team in Training at the back of a magazine. I’d heard of the program before, and admired their mission to use endurance races as a way to raise funds to cure Leukemia and Lymphoma. But, quite frankly, I had no interest in running. I could never understand why anyone would CHOOSE to run around the block, much less for 26.2 miles. But for some reason, this time the ad caught my eye and stuck with me. If I was trying to see how strong I could be, why not try to do something that I never thought that I would be able to do?

I attended an introductory meeting and signed up for the 2006 Nike Marathon for Women’s Cancers in San Francisco. Over the next 4 months, I trained with the team twice a week, in addition to my solo workouts. I planned a wedding, dropped 5 dress sizes, got married, went on my honeymoon, came back to training and finished the race in a grueling 5 hours and 24 minutes.

I won’t lie —it was NOT love at first sight. The last 5 miles of the race were pure HELL. I went from the elation of finishing a four month long journey to quietly (and then loudly) cursing everyone and everything around me. But I crossed the finish line. I looked like hell, I felt even worse, but I finished.

Before I knew it, I was hooked. In less than 6 weeks, I had signed up for my next marathon with Team in Training. Over the past 7 years, I have run 4 full and 5 half marathons, delivered 2 babies and crossed the finish line at the San Diego Marathon in 2010 with both boys in the double stroller. Running has changed my body, for sure. But more importantly it has changed my mind—my self-image, self-esteem, and perception of what I am and am not capable of doing. When I run, I feel invincible. There is nothing the day can throw my way that I can’t handle, and nothing cures the drama of a bad day like a long run.