Your Children's Diet vs Your Diet
At Coachman we’ve recently started up a spring partner challenge. This challenge isn’t so much about a body transformation, as it is more of a lifestyle transformation. We’re trying to help our clients and members develop habits that will make them stronger, feel better, eat better, and improve their overall standard of living. We're trying to make sure we as adults are being healthy, so that we can teach our kids to be healthy. This will make our community, as a whole, a well rounded/healthier community!
At the beginning of the challenge I had a conversation with all the participants about their worst dietary habits. During this conversation I suggested a way to drop the bad habit and gave suggestions on good ones to replace it with. During all of these conversations the most common “bad habit” was the food they ate when around their kids. Several times I was told “I actually eat really well during the day! It’s when I get home and am around all the food that my kids eat that I have a problem”. Or “I work in a school and am constantly surrounded by sweet snacks and treats! They’re everywhere!”.
In these conversations I was able to offer ideas on how each individual might be able to avoid the sweet treats and maybe have something else available for themselves instead.
However, I wanted to address this issue on a slightly deeper level and go straight to what I’d consider the biggest issue here.
If the food items your children are consuming are the worst part of your diet, what makes them okay for your children? I am not a parent. I am not casting judgement here or calling anyone a bad parent or teacher by bringing this up. And usually the individuals taking most offense to this are usually the ones that are struggling with this the most. I’m simply asking a question that I think many don’t ask or even think about. I believe as a whole, society tends to think children have faster metabolisms and bulletproof stomachs. They tend to be more active, so they respond to the added sugars and extra fats better. I remember several times as a child, while eating a sugary treat, I’d hear “enjoy it while you can! Someday you won’t be able to eat it anymore without it catching up to you”!
However, current statistics tell a very different story. These foods are catching up with our kids now! According to Endocrine.org, “Obesity affects about 12.7 million children and teens in the United States” and “A child with obesity faces a four-fold greater risk of being diagnosed with diabetes by age 25 than a counterpart who is normal weight”. These simple facts should motivate us all to start teaching our children and youth the importance of a diet full of whole (unprocessed) foods and very low in added sugars. Teaching them young and modeling a good diet for them could prevent so many future health issues.
I have had a ton of people, who have found results from following suggestions I’ve given on diet change, come back and say “where were you when I was a teenager? I wish I knew this then”. Mind you, most of these people weren’t obese as a child nor do they struggle with type 2 diabetes. But they realize the bad habits they can’t shake now, the ones that are leading them to adult obesity, were formed as a child and teen. It’s often said that the younger a child is exposed to a foreign language the easier it is for them to pick it up. The exact same thing goes for a healthy diet. The younger they are exposed to good foods the easier it is for them to develop and maintain good habits. Our kids don't grow up knowing the difference in how something tastes. Usually we, as parents, influence the way a child feels about food. A child doesn't know the word spicy, unless we tell them its spicy. They don't know that ranch can be added to food to make it taste amazing, unless we add it to their plate.
How does any of this help you now? As an adult you’re probably feeling like it is too late to change your habits or your kids' habits. Usually we tend to be pretty selfish when it comes to goals. Well, if doing it for yourself isn’t enough to motivate you and if we’re honest for most of us its not, then do it for the kids around you. Maybe you don’t have children. Chances are there are still young moldable minds out there paying attention to what you're doing. Do you have nieces and nephews? Grandchildren? God-children? Do you work in an environment where youth look up to you? Make the changes for them. Do the hard work of changing for them. Then maybe those young eyes watching you won’t have to fight so hard against the same bad habits in the future.
Not only are you preventing them from all the same struggles you are facing currently, but it is great motivation to get to the best version of YOU as well.