This week on “Green Clean Talk” Radio, I had the pleasure of speaking with LeTa Jussila, co-founder of a twelve week integrative holistic health and fitness program called the “Santa Cruz Challenge.” The purpose of the Santa Cruz challenge is to promote health and sustainability of individuals through education and empowerment that encourage habits of wellness and well-being. LeTa and her co-founder, Michelle Bean, developed the Santa Cruz program to educate, empower, inspire, and share their passion and gifts to the world.

What a great idea! There are so many individuals that I have met that want to live a healthier life, inside and out, but need the guidance to do so. This “one stop shop” has a variety of information and classes where you learn to de-stress, cook healthy, learn a proper exercise routine for your lifestyle, and learn to exercise your mental as well as the physical side of you. They even have classes about money and finance.

My first reaction was that this program should be called “Optimal Living 101,” and should be taught in schools around the world. After all, optimal living starts with ourselves. Young kids these days need to learn to take time off from the “technological side of life” and learn to take responsibility for their own perception of themselves.

This program got me thinking of not only myself, but of my three beautiful children. As a mother, I want to empower my children by educating them on nutrition, fitness, and overall health, including body, mind, and spirit. I want to be mindful of my actions and reactions, so I am a great role model. I want them to eat healthy but also understand why healthy foods are important. Most importantly, I want optimal health and fitness to be a life changing experience that will inspire my children to become leaders and give back to this beautiful world we live in.

We can all empower our children everyday by keeping these little tips of empowerment in mind:

Educate your children about overall health, nutrition and fitness on the inside and outside of the body. Encourage healthy eating and fitness goals. Find out what your children enjoy doing.

Discuss the Media. Find out what role models your children have. Talk about self-esteem, body image, respect and confidence with them. Talk about celebrities and the messages they present to society.

Empower their way of thinking. Discuss boundaries and how they are important in relationships. Discuss bullying and abuse – physical and mental. Talk about certain situations and your child’s approach to handling conflicts and deciding a plan of action in approaching conflicts. Encourage discussion and communication of feelings and questions.

Acknowledge their accomplishments and compliment their strengths. Nothing motivates a child to work harder than a pat on the back from mom or dad. Tell them you love them often. Express how proud you are of their achievements. You will be surprised by their efforts in return.

Get in touch with your emotional side. We all have emotions and feelings, and that is ok. Getting in touch with your emotions and learning how to express, process and move through them properly takes work. Learning healthy responses to emotions and feelings is also important.

Observe and Support. Watch how your children cope with life’s challenges and observe them for signs of extreme mood or behavioral changes or withdrawals. Give them the proper support they need to get through tough obstacles.

Be an honest communicator. Learn to create a positive self-image, especially with your daughter. Discuss body image and struggles that you have overcome in the past. Sometimes hearing that “mom and dad” are not perfect helps kids learn acceptance, communication, and goal setting. Leave communication lines open and check in with your children often. Monitor all Facebook pages and cell phone messages from time to time. Make sure they understand the dangers of texting and online chatting.

Empower your children! Be a cheerleader in their lives. Communicate love, acceptance and support, especially through the tough times. Teach them to listen, communicate, and give back. Show support. Teach them the three small words that are key to living a healthy life inside and out…”Start with yourself.”