It’s time we turned fitness into a family affair. No, you don’t need to make the family do any crazy workouts or diet regimens. The goal is to establish habits that are fun, sustainable, and effective at keeping us vibrant, healthy, and energetic.
“The goal is to THRIVE, not just survive!”
This begins with food. Mentally and physically, you’re only going to perform as well as you fueled. This also happens to be one of the most convoluted topics ever discussed. I’m not going to tell you what to eat, as that’s something you need to figure out for yourself, but I will give you some tips for implementing healthier habits for you and your family. They’re all fairly simple, as any long term habits should be. If they seem like a big stretch, don’t worry about trying to do this all at once. Pick one and roll with it.
#1- If it’s good for you, it’s good for them
Children are, after all, just miniature humans. They have relatively the same nutritional needs that you do. In the end, it comes down to good protein, fat, carbs, and lots of micro-nutrient dense fruits and veggies. The same junk that’s bad for you is bad for them too.
#2- Make meals a family affair
This won’t be possible for every meal but get the entire family involved in prepping, cooking, eating, and cleaning up after meals. Food is and always will be a very social aspect. Getting the kids involved with cooking will teach them invaluable skills that they can use later on in life. This will also give you a chance to connect with your family and make it far more enjoyable. Head for the dinner table instead of the TV and actually talk—you know, like you like each other.
#3- Just because the kids don’t eat it doesn’t mean you need to
Parents, tell me if this scenario sounds familiar. You’ve been running like crazy all day and barely get home in time to get dinner cooked for the family. After dinner is over, you find yourself polishing off whatever was left on the kids’ plates while doing dishes even though you’re not actually hungry. Then you wonder why you can’t lose any weight! Put down the tiny fork and back away from the princess dinner plate. Uneaten food goes in the Pyrex for storage or the trash for disposal.
#4- Don’t stock junk and you won’t eat junk
This weekend, clean out your cupboards. Toss all crackers, cookies, chips, cereal bars, and anything else of that nature. The fridge isn’t getting a pass here either. Dump the fruit juices and sodas. Trash those fake health foods too. If the packaging of the product has to tell you how good it is for you, it’s lying.
#5- Lead by Example
I don’t know how many times I’ve spoken with parents who say they really wish their kids would eat better—but when they look at their own habits, they see their kids are simply eating like they do! If you want your kids to eat better food, you eat better food…and don’t make the other stuff an option. This works for kids as well as your spouse, your parents, or anyone else you wish to inspire. The most effective way to change someone else is to lead them instead of pushing them.
The last thing I want to mention is that it’s critical that you keep all this in a positive light. What starts as our own personal body image issues may be passed onto our kids simply by the example we set. Focus what positive attributes these changes provide. So, instead of saying, “I’m not buying chips and soda anymore because it’s bad for you/us/me,” turn it around. “I’m not buying chips and soda anymore because I have more energy and feel better when I don’t eat them. Plus, since I’ve been drinking more water I feel less bloated and my skin has really cleared up!”
Small changes presented the right way can have an absolutely massive impact on not only your health but your family’s health as well. Make it easy, make it fun, and make it part of your normal routine.