I spent the majority of my adolescence and early adulthood morbidly obese, inactive, and very very out of shape. I'm 31 now, with two small kids, sit on my butt 50 hours a week editing for a worldwide publishing company and am in the best shape of my life. Of course, I love what I do for fitness (CrossFit) and it has changed my life, but the reality is that there's no "magic pill" for weight loss, health, and fitness. It's about trying new things, failing, trying again, failing better, trying again.
Part of what made me decide to finally be the victor in the battle was my kids. How can I expect my daughter to grow up with a strong sense of self-worth and understanding of what a healthy woman is if I don't SHOW her? How can I expect my son to learn to cook healthy food for himself if I don't TEACH him what healthy food is?
I know we all have excuses: we're tired, we're too out of shape, we're broke, etc. But there's a whole lot you could do to show your kids that health and wellness is important without much time or money. We only have one life - one body - and if we don't fuel it well and work it properly, it will fail. That's the lesson I want my children to learn. Not to be skinny. Not to be buff. But to be healthy and fit and with that, happy.
So I take my daughter with me to my Crossfit gym in the afternoons. She watches me deadlift 265 pounds, swing a 55-pound kettlebell over my head, do pullups, pushups, push-press heavy weights over my head. Kids see and understand way more than we give them credit for. She sees me being a strong woman and, in turn, wants to be one too.
I'm not saying you need to do the things I choose to do - everyone's fitness passion and goals are their own - but doing something, anything, shows your children that you care about your body. And that's a gift that will have lifelong benefits.
Maybe you could do a workout DVD or an on-demand video with your toddler using soup cans. Or when you see a big hill on your walk, offer to race them to the top. What if you climbed the monkey bars with them?
For all of us who has a kid who's repeated a naughty word at just the
right time, we all know that our kids watch us. They are the ultimate
mimics. The best way to teach them that being healthy and fit is
important is to work for it yourself and get them involved. The same goes for any negative self-talk. In our house "fat" and "skinny" are bad words. We don't use them to describe people, especially ourselves. I want my children's sense of self-worth to come from who they are as people and their accomplishments, so we try very hard not to use those kinds of labels.
What are some ways - no matter your budget or life situation - that
you focus on health and fitness and get your kids involved? What more
would you like to do? Are you cognizant about how you speak about yourself and your body around your children, especially your daughters?