It’s no secret that obesity is a massive epidemic with our children. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want my child to be obese. The hardship and scrutiny are totally unnecessary. Kids have enough going on with growing up and coming into themselves, life becomes infinitely harder when obesity is thrown into the mix. I have an opportunity as a parent to do my best to prevent this.
The best thing I can do for my child is lead by example. Making fitness and healthy eating a priority lays the foundation for a healthy lifestyle that will carry them into their adult lives, at least that is the goal. My daughter will experience a mix of everything in terms of physical activity. She will be exposed to both organized and individual sports. We have plans to enroll her in both dance (ballet) and soccer in the upcoming year. While I personally have never really participated in organized sport (minus two years of softball), fitness has always been a priority for me.
I grew up in a house where outdoor play was expected. Unless it was storming out, we were expected to be outside playing. Though it doesn’t seem as active as playing a game of soccer, there’s no doubt my childhood explorations are what kept me within a healthy BMI.
Now that my husband and I are adults (and parents), we lead by examples in areas we know. He plays weekly soccer and I’m a big walker. If I can get to something within reasonable walking distance, kid will get in stroller and we’ll walk there. We also own a treadmill that the family has access to use, the best $800 we as a family spent I think. I also have a Fitbit where I partake in a weekly challenge with a few other family members that keeps me motivated to move. It’s amazing the power this little device has over me. I could be so tired I can’t get out of my own way, but if I see someone is ahead of me by 3,000 steps I get off my butt and get on the treadmill. My innate competitiveness comes out fiercely, in a good way.
Exercise is only a small part of being healthy though. As my daughter gets older she will be more involved in meal planning and prep. She’s still young so we’re just starting this but growing up my sister and I were always encouraged to seek out new recipes to try as a family. The fact that we could take ownership over the recipe and helping our mom prepare it gave us a sense of pride and nurtured a love of cooking as we got older. Cooking is a skill far too many people lack and, in my opinion, a big reason obesity is as high as it is. When people lack the ability to prepare and cook healthy meals, far too often cheap, fast food wins the battle.
Life is about moderation. There will be days that we eat at McDonalds but if our overall life is balanced we’ll be ok.
How do you make healthy living a priority for your family?