We’re happy this month to introduce a guest post this month from our friend Leslie Klenke, the author of “Paleo Girl.”  It’s a fun and engaging primer on how to integrate the Paleo lifestyle into the life of teen girls or anyone for that matter.  Enjoy!

You’re stressed. Your spouse is never awake. The kids are bored. The dog is…wait, has anyone seen Rex? Your family used to have it all together, but lately something has been off. Now that school is out, it’s time to reassess everyone’s schedules, summer plans, and family goals—but where to start? It’s time to go back to the basics and rebuild a solid foundation. The following are the top five signs you and the family are ready for a serious lifestyle upgrade.
1. Is this a kitchen or a 7-Eleven?
Problem: Your kitchen is bursting at the seams with junk food—candy, soda, snacks, and everything in between.
Solution: It’s time to purge. The obscene amount of chemicals, processed junk, and sugar your family is consuming is causing more problems than you realize: weight gain, anxiety, skin problems (acne, eczema, etc.), poor sleep, and the list goes on. Help your family (and yourself) get on the right track by tossing anything that has a long shelf life, and stick with real food like meat, vegetables, fruit, healthy fats, nuts, and seeds.
2. Night owls
Problem: Now that school is out, everyone stays up all night, and sleeps the day away.
Solution: Limit or reduce the use of electronics that emit bright light from screens at night—like cell phones, TVs, computers, etc. The artificial light from such devices suppresses the body’s production of melatonin (the chemical that helps you sleep) and skyrockets cortisol (the stress hormone that makes you crave sugar and store fat). Ever notice your family get the late night munchies when they stay up and watch TV at night? Well, now you know why!
3. We’re bored!
Problem: Summer break just started, and your kids are already complaining about being bored.
Solution: Boredom is actually a good thing for kids to experience (although it might not feel fun to them in the moment). So don’t beat yourself for failing as a “child entertainer of the year” because, quiet frankly, this isn’t your problem to fix. When your kid finds him or her self with nothing to do, this sense of boredom actually spurs creativity and play—not to mention it helps them learn how to become motivated and take initiative. Let them figure it out on their own, and if necessary, a few hints along the way won’t derail the lesson.
4. Who, me? Stressed? How dare you!
Problem: Your stress levels have you feeling less like yourself and more like a villain out of a Disney movie—and it’s starting to wear off on your spouse and the kids.
Solution: Take a deep breath. No really, do it right now. When is the last time you’ve stopped worrying and took a moment for you? Think of the oxygen mask analogy on an airplane. If the masks drop from the compartment overhead, you’re supposed to put your mask on first so that you can help others. After all, if you pass out, you won’t be able to help anyone. This logic applies to real life too. If you take care of your own health and wellness first, you will be able to help your family thrive that much more. Don’t let this feel like a selfish act. It’s much more selfish to put it off.
5. What now?
Problem: You’ve found your family in a rut that you just can’t seem to get out of.
Solution: It’s family bonding time! When nothing seems to be going right, the most important thing is love and togetherness. Sometimes all it takes is a little communication and fun to strip away the funk and reveal the things that really matter. Try incorporating a family fun night at least once a week. I suggest the entire family collaborate on a meal they’d like to try, and cook it together. Talk about your day. Share something you’ve learned. Tell a funny joke. When the meal is ready, sit the whole family down at a real table (not parked in front of the TV) and continue the bonding time distraction free. The members of your family probably have crazy schedules and getting everyone in the same room can be tough at times, but at the end of the day, togetherness is vital and these are the moments that really matter—so make an effort!
For more tips to help your teen get in great shape and find true happiness, check out leslieklenke.com and don’t miss my new book Paleo Girl available now through PrimalBlueprint, Amazon, and other retailers.