April 21, 2024

Competition and Children: Healthy or Harmful? By Tanya Memme

Competition amongst our children: Is it healthy?

Recently I attended my cousins hockey game. My little cousin is 8 years old and safe to say one of the strongest players on his team. At one of his most recent hockey practices while the coach was doing skating drills, his mom noticed something. The child that came in last for that drill was made to do a round of push ups. It was very upsetting to hear this, because I knew that if my little cousin only gave even 50% effort, he will still probably finish within the top few skaters.  My question here is, are we praising results or effort? What message are we giving to our kids? I mean, maybe the slowest skater on the team was trying his absolute best but just couldn’t keep up with the rest? Making him do push ups is the quickest way for him to feel like a failure, unsuccessful, weak, and eventually give up. Why not make the kids who don’t try their best (the coach is familiar enough with each child) do a few push ups?

Upon seeing this, I started to have flashbacks from when I was in grade school. St. Elizabeth Elementary school from JK – Grade 8.  I wasn’t one of the “smartest” kids in the class and was made to feel stupid because of it. I always tried as hard as I could to get a good grade. Sometimes I did and sometimes I didn’t. I was a B/C student which was average I guess. I tried extremely hard, I studied the best I could, and was never noticed for my effort? I remember having to write out misspelled words on the chalkboard in front of the class for hours (or so it seemed.) I used to dream of getting an A in English or Geography or Math but I just wasn’t capable under the schools given teaching techniques. Then the infamous “Awards Day” would come along at the end of every year! This is where the entire school would gather in the gym to watch the same kids every year go up on stage and receive an award for being the BEST in each subject. This was always one of the days I loathed most. I felt so much “less than” every awards day because I knew my name would never be called.

As the years went by, I started to feel utterly defeated and eventually submerged myself into my dance training after school. I WAS GOOD AT DANCE AND WAS REWARDED FOR MY GOOD RESULTS! In the meantime I built up such a big block in my mind about school that I started blanking out on tests and exams in high school and eventually college. Realistically I was fully capable of passing with a good grade, but I had become conditioned to believe I was stupid and not “smart enough” to pass the test. I believed I was a failure in the past because I never “WON” an award on Awards Day and the subconscious pressure I put on myself was insane! It took me years to work through.

Since then and a solid resume of hosting many shows etc, I’ve replaced the panic with confidence and have learned to deal with it and control it. It’s just too bad it has taken so long to get to a good, solid confident place with it, but none the less still a part of who I am.

When I heard about that little boy trying his best and still made to do push ups in front of his hockey team, I Instantly realized that that little boy was ME years ago. Do we praise RESULTS or EFFORT? Not every kid is great at Math, but if they are praised for how hard they work at it, then eventually and surely they will figure out the equation with great success and enjoy the process instead of quitting.  Success comes with determination and effort. Acknowledging the little ones for these qualities and encouraging them along the way is critical. It affects everything they do and eventually WHO THEY BECOME.

Tanya Memme is the Producer/Co-Host of the Emmy nominated, A&E’s Sell This House and Sell This House Extreme.  She is a new mom, pet lover, travel enthusiastic & lifestyle expert. www.TanyaMemme.com

Are you setting a healthy example? Insight from Tanya Memme.

Tanya Memme, Producer/Co-Host of the Emmy nominated, A&E’s Sell This House and Sell This House Extreme, offers her advice how to manage the challenges of raising healthy children.



How do you set a healthy example for your child?

The only way to have a healthy, happy child is for YOU to set an example for them. At about 11 months or sooner, babies start to imitate everything they see! They want to taste the foods we eat, play with the clothing and jewelry we wear, go outside when we do etc. Without them knowing it, our lifestyle becomes theirs, because its all they see and know.  They only see the world through the experiences you set for them. With my daughter Ava, I take her on at least one outdoor excursion a day. We walk, hike, play at parks, she has music and jungle gym classes, soon to take swimming lessons etc. She loves being outside if even to play on the swings. She loves being active because I love to be active with her. When it comes to food, I try to make sure she gets fruits, veggies and a protein everyday at every meal. I NEVER eat fast food, so she doesn’t either. I love my steamer! Everyday I have either brown rice, quinoa, millet or beans cooking with little to no effort. I haven’t exposed her to juices and sugary foods or treats so when she is given them by other people, she tends to shy away from them. She doesn’t like sugary foods because her body craves the good stuff. We eat the same foods and we eat together when I’m not shooting. Its imperative to teach your kids what a vegetable, protein and a healthy fat is and what it does to the body. Education is the first and most important step to being healthy for Mom, Dad and the kids.
Instead of sugar snacks or juices, here are some healthy alternatives:
1) Banana Popsicles with protein. I love Isagenix protein and so does Ava! Take one scoop of Vanilla protein and a banana, add water and blend! Then pour into Popsicle molds.
2) Take any fruit blend it up with water, pour into ice trays and put the fruit ice cubes into a mesh soother. You can buy them at Babies R Us! I love doing this with watermelon!
3) Try vegetable juice, you might be surprised! Every morning on our walk to Whole Foods I get a green vegetable drink with a pineapple or apple juice base and pour it into Ava’s sippy cup! She loves it!
You can also use green juices as Popsicles.
4) Instead of water all the time I take herbal tea, strawberry, cherry etc…..and make iced tea! It tastes great, there’s no sugar in it and Ava loves it!

How do you broach “touchy” subjects of body image/weight loss with your child?

I believe that again, setting a good example for your child is key. Mom shouldn’t talk about herself being fat or thin, but rather talk about bring healthy and happy as an individual. Also don’t judge other women/men in front of your kids. Instead, point out the nice qualities in other people and have them focus on appreciating others as a person. This pulls focus away from body image and directs it to appreciating others in what ever shape or size they come. Kids, especially girls, get ENOUGH pressure to look a certain way, and I think its up to us as parents to make them feel good about themselves. Have plenty of outdoor activities to focus on and expose them to good healthy food. Focus on total health instead of just physical image! Let a doctor or healthcare practitioner mention a noticeable weight issue to your kids, it shouldn’t come from Mommy and Daddy especially if Mommy and Daddy also have a questionable weight issue. Personally, I’ve never been seen as “skinny” and in the past I won Miss World Canada and now have a wonderful career on TV! I tell teenage girls that all the time.

What have you found works best to encourage healthy eating in your child?

The absolute best way to encourage healthy eating to your child is to make the healthy food taste good! There are many recipe books or online publications that give GREAT ideas to spruce up whole foods and make them burst in flavor! Its best for you to eat the same foods and eat with your child. Again, nothing encourages healthy eating more than the example you set for them.

Do you ever feel guilty about taking time away for your own workout? How do you overcome this?

Yes, and its something all moms go through for a while. I also travel a lot, so when I’m home I spend as much time as possible with my daughter Ava, and the thought of leaving for “ME” time is sometimes heartbreaking!  Im a better mom because I’m a happy mom. Taking time to work out or do something for me is medicine for the soul and is necessary for all mom and dads.
You’ll be happier and so will your kids!

What have you found is the best way to improve self esteem in your child/young people in your life?

Kids get enough negativity outside of the house so the last thing they need is to hear it from their Mom and Dad. I often give motivational speeches to kids and teens and I tell mom and dads to support anything your child finds important to them, even if its the last thing you want to do! Accept them for who they are. I learned this from personal experience. At 11years old I told my dad I wanted to be an actress in Hollywood. As I’m sure this was the last thing he wanted to hear, he and my mom supported me 100%. They helped me set small goals and reach them to get to the big ones. I felt very confident in myself and believed I could do anything. My mom and dad taught me how to work hard, set goals, and believe in myself. They came to every dance recital, every school play and fashion show, every pageant. They encouraged me to strive for my dreams with confidence knowing that along the way they would always be there to catch me if I fell.

Tanya Memme is the Producer/Co-Host of the Emmy nominated, A&E’s Sell This House and Sell This House Extreme.  She is a new mom, pet lover, travel enthusiastic & lifestyle expert. www.TanyaMemme.com

Staying Healthy On the Road by Tanya Memme

I’ve been traveling and living out of suitcases for the past 12 years as the Host of A&E’s TV Series “Sell This House Extreme.” 

12 years ago before all of this happened, I was a workout junkie, had a membership at Equinox Fitness Club in Santa Monica, loved my Tae-Bo classes Sherman Oaks, ate very healthy and overall had a pretty consistent healthy schedule.

From the very first episode, my crazy life on the road began. Suitcase, flight, hotel and car rental information in hand off I went and I’ve never looked back. It was a HUGE adjustment mentally, physically and spiritually. Never thinking I would ever have a problem keeping up my exercise and eating program, trip by trip, episode after episode, the pounds accumulated. 25 pounds later, I tried using the hotel gym, local yoga classes, jogging in various cities, I’d bring exercise videos, exercise bands, skipping ropes etc…but with the show growing in popularity and with early call times and long shoot days I became exhausted and totally defeated. I’d beat myself up for not being able to exercise consistently and eat right. Surrounded by restaurant food in small remote town where a green vegetable is unheard of!

This past year, I’ve had a busier travel schedule than ever, and became a new mom. I don’t always get to the gym consistently but I found a way to fit right back in to my pre-pregnancy pants and stay healthy. 

Whole Foods has become my tag team companion in staying healthy on the road and since healthy restaurants and organic food is more readily available it makes everything much easier. Every time I land in a new city and before I check in to the hotel, I make a stop at a grocery store. This way I can buy healthy snacks and lots of water so I don’t get tempted by the mini bar in the hotel room.  Always ask for a mini fridge in the room so you can store perishable items. Its worth the extra charge to stay healthy. 

When it comes to exercise, I do what I can and have stopped beating myself up when I’ve worked a 14 hour day and am just too exhausted and have to choose between sleep and exercise.  I work out when I can, as often as I can and always make sure I’m having fun and enjoying it. I recently started taking dance classes with my 67 year old mother too. It might sound crazy but I’m getting stronger, having a blast and laughing my way to getting back in shape. 

A friend also introduced me to online personal trainers. Now THIS IS AMAZING!  No matter where you are or what time zone you’re in, you can have a personal training session via Skype! We use things in my hotel room and customize it to what I have access to and what time I have available. We have fun, and he motivated me to stay on top of my working out when the last thing I want to do is workout. 

Eating right more than anything will keep you healthy and lean and proper exercise keeps you strong. Do your best, give yourself a break, have trust in your best and let it all go! Find that AMAZING YOU and enjoy traveling, enjoy life and enjoy staying healthy along the way. 

Tanya Memme is the Producer/Co-Host of the Emmy nominated, A&E’s Sell This House and Sell This House Extreme.  She is a new mom, pet lover, travel enthusiastic & lifestyle expert.  www.TanyaMemme.com