Our Kids Need Us!
*Disclaimer…I write this from a standpoint in what I hear and see all the time. I don’t claim to be perfect and do mess up ALL THE TIME, just ask Liz. This isn’t a judgment post, but a post to help us live healthier lives. Don’t hate the player, hate the game….
Every week, we, as trainers, hear the same excuse. “I didn’t lose weight because I keep eating all my kids snacks/food” or “we ate out every night last week.” Why is this even a thing? Why do our kids need special snacks that we label as theirs and what happened to making our own meals? Is it because it is too hard to tell your kids they can’t have candy or junk food? We as parents are the ones buying the groceries, so we need to make the change. STOP BUYING JUNK and provide healthier opportunities for our family!
We should be able to establish healthy eating habits in our kids, which in turn will help us be healthier. Ultimately, our kids watch our every move. If we do terrible things (like drink pop with every meal), they will want to do the same. If our kids watch us workout, they will want to join in. They LOVE to watch and mimic our every move. Establishing healthy habits will help them in the long run, as well.
Let's stop the unhealthy cycle!
I know when I was younger I was never sat down and told that a box of cereal for breakfast wasn’t good for me. Crappy meals was the sole reason for falling asleep in my morning classes. I had no idea what was going on. I would eat a half a bag of cheese puffs when I got home from school as a snack before practice. I thought mass amounts of milk/cheese were good for me and this was the way of life. It has protein, right?! Cereal is one of the worst things for us, especially to start the day. I only wish I was told how to eat healthier and how it would have helped me in sports. I was extremely unhealthy and felt tired ALL THE TIME. I was so active in sports and playing outside that I somewhat maintained a weight that allowed me to be the best that never was. From 5th grade on, I gradually became what the other kids would call “Beef Cake”. I was a big guy with some chub. I earned that chub!
I realize now that I need to not let my kids make the same mistakes I did. I still struggle with sugar. It's addicting! My wife is extremely fascinated at how addicted to sugar I am. I wish I could go back to smashing a box of cereal, but I know I will pay for it the next day and feel like garbage. My goal is to not allow my kids to feel the same way. Teach them that healthy habits will help them become better humans. You’re probably thinking, Brad doesn’t let his kids have sugar. Not true, we do, but it is only on special occasions. It isn’t the staple to their diet and shouldn't be. I want them to always feel this way!
Here are some items that I believe will help and have helped our kids (we hope). Things to Consider/Implement:
Your kids should not be slamming pop and Gatorade all the time. Teach them how to drink water. Some of you are saying in your head, yeah I struggle to drink water, too. Start creating habits with them. Buy them a water bottle and make them bring it everywhere. Gatorade is somewhat acceptable AFTER a long day of sports, not as a go to everyday.
Your kids shouldn’t have separate meals made specifically for them (unless they are gluten free or something along those lines). Make your kids eat what you eat. Eat veggies and fruits. Eat lean meats. If they try to skip the meal and complain, explain the benefits. Don’t have any of their meals in the house. They will eat it. I promise they wont starve themselves.
Your kids should only have candy and desserts at birthday parties or special occasions. Don’t have candy and junk lying around the house all the time. Get rid of it! My wife throws everything that is full of sugar and bad for us away, so that it is out of sight and out of mind! Another tactic is to ask your kids if they want to be healthy. 99% of the time they will tell you they do.
Don’t let your kid eat the lunch served at school. There is hardly anything good served at schools anymore (unless you think breadsticks is a go to meal). Pack their lunch or make them pack their lunch. This will teach them how to plan their meals. My wife implemented this with our kindergartner and I LOVE IT!
Eating out all the time. This is a common thing. Parent’s love getting take out and taking their kids out to eat (I actually am not a big fan of going out, but my kids are younger and I usually end up with a stomach ache after). I get it; eating out is way easier and stimulating. Key is to not allow the six pop refills and unlimited French fries. Make them eat a veggie before they get fries. Make them slam water before they have any pop. Most times they will be so full from those items, they will eat small amounts of the junk.
These bullet points are only a few of the items I feel will help the unhealthy habitual cycle our nation has made normal. We see people all the time that want to lose weight, but struggle to do so. They need to consider being a solid role model for their kids, so that their kids don’t end up making the same mistakes. Do your best to teach them how you got in a bad spot with your nutrition habits and why it wasn’t ok. Tell them how you couldn’t stop eating the whole bowl of candy on the counter at work. Teach them to make their own food and help them set their bodies on the right path for success. It all starts with YOU. Do any of the items above and I guarantee you, you and your family will be much happier! Even if it is just one of these steps!