I’ve talked about resolutions and goals a few times here lately, and today I’ve got something else. It’s January, friends, and I’m on a motivation spree. Apparently, so is Uncle Sam, because this month is National Family Fit Lifestyle Month.
Of all the resolutions you make this year, let forming a healthier family be the one you stick with. If not for you, do it for your kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews. That way, on some distant January 1st, when they are setting their New Year’s goals, losing weight and working out won’t need to be one of them.
If you click through on the link above, you’ll find resources for incorporating healthier habits into your family’s lifestyle. Some of my suggestions include:
- talk to your kids about food in ways they can understand. At my house, we talk a lot about how healthy foods help your body grow strong and smart, and how sugary foods make your body feel slow and yucky. A favorite trick for getting the boys to eat just a little more of the “good stuff” at dinner: Mike tells them one big bite of salad is going to “this arm” (while flexing a bicep), and the other bite is going to “that arm” (while flexing the other). The kids think it’s hilarious, so they copy him (with their skinny little arms), and they eat it.
- encourage your kids to find activities they love. It doesn’t have to be organized sports, though that’s a good start. It could be martial arts, hiking, dance, running or biking. There’s an activity (or two!) out there for everyone, though it may not be a traditional one.
- get your kids involved in shopping and cooking. I mentioned I thought the Fooducate app I downloaded would be a great tool for involving kids in grocery shopping, and I’ve used it that way several times. At Costco with Graham the other day, we bopped along scanning potential purchases. If it scored less than a B, we didn’t buy it. “Yuck, mommy, we don’t want a C!” I didn’t have to say no once.
- value your own workouts. I’ve heard the guilt excuse too many times to count, and while I don’t doubt it’s veracity, it’s just a crappy reason not to exercise. Your body needs you to pay attention to it, move it, care for it, and your kids need to see that example. If you feel guilty about time away from your kids, find something else to cut out of your day, like oh, I don’t know, television, e-mail and gossip magazines.
If your family is used to soda, video games and sugary cereal, making changes will not be easy. The older your kids are, the harder it will be. Right now our world is set up to make people trying to teach their kids a healthier lifestyle feel like crazy extremists. But trust me, you can do it. You may get frustrated, your fellow soccer parents may think you’re a whack job, and your son’s pre-school teacher may look at you like you are from another planet (not that I’ve experience any of these reactions, mind you), but when your three-year-old devours his salmon and brussels sprouts, it will be soooo worth it.