Hi, there fit folks!
Thanks for checking out today's topic where we will discuss why it's important to set up your kids for a healthy lifestyle and how to take immediate action to do so.
In my extensive experience in the health and wellness industry, I have worked with lots of different people and one recurring observation is that people who have an athletic background from their youth are generally healthier than those who were never particularly active when they were kids.
Even if the client I am working with is overweight and deconditioned, they will be able to work harder from the getgo and thus get results faster that last longer than someone who is working out for the first time in their lives. If you’re reading this and thinking, well, shit man, I didn't do sports when I was a kid unless PlayStation and air hockey count. How is this helpful to me?
And the answer is… it isn't.
I'm not saying you’re fucked, but the point that I would like to get across is that if you have kids, it's important to get them exercising and used to living a healthy lifestyle. The body you build for yourself in your teenage years is the body that you will live in for the rest of your life, so that's why it's important to help your kids get started right.
It may be too late for you, but think of the children!!!
Just kidding… But only sort of.
I know that kids have a tendency to do the exact opposite of what their parents would like them to do, but it's like getting your kid to brush their teeth daily. It may be a battle, but if they don’t clean their teeth, they will regret it when they are older and we naturally want to save our kids from pain down the road. And after a while, there is no longer a battle to get the teeth brushed, it's just a normal part of the evening.
However! Given that we don’t want to have a battle with them to exercise, what are some ways to inspire them to live a healthy lifestyle without creating a conflict?
The same tools and strategies that we use in our coaching program can be applied to helping your kids build a healthy foundation. Because this stuff is universal for people, little people as well as big people.
One of the things we can do as parents to help our kids get and stay healthy is to change your environment and address making a healthy change by what you see and what is in front of you.
So, what do I mean by that?
That means that we are visual creatures and we tend to grab whatever we look at. If you have a plate of cookies on your kitchen counter, chances are you will grab one every time you walk by. But that also means that if you replace those cookies with a bowl of fruit, you will be more likely to eat that instead and fruit is healthier than cookies.
If you are a big TV family and gaming is a regular event in your home, you could consider putting the gaming console away in the closet and hide the remote control in a box in the garage or some other out-of-the-way place.
Instead of having sedentary activities available, leave out a basketball or running shoes in a highly visible area. Have a frisbee or football by the door to encourage more healthy activities.
Or maybe create a schedule for when you play or watch. For example, in our house, we have a schedule for watching movies/tv (insert what it is) and now that our oldest son is into Minecraft, he is responsible for completing his homework before he can play (on weekends, he does some reading and piano practice first). We use a “first…then…” approach.
The same applies to deserts. First, we fill our belly with healthy foods, then we can have dessert. First, we move our bodies and get all that energy out, then we can sit and watch a movie.
These are just a few ideas to get you started, but by changing your environment by making the activities you want to do visible and easy to initiate, you are more likely to do them and so will your child. Try out different combinations and see what works for you and your family.
The ultimate healthy habit activity-building exercise is to do outdoor activities as a family on a set day. Sunday/Funday is a good option since most of us take Sundays as family days. As a family, do something active together. Even if there is some bitching getting started, after a few fundays, it will become normal, and eventually, it will become a tradition.
Kids love rituals, so one thing that we do in our family is called “Fancy Breakfast”. Sunday morning we all pitch in to squeeze fresh orange juice, bake croissants and make a fancy breakfast. We light candles and pull out all the stops and the kids love it! It feels like Christmas morning one day a week.
After the fancy breakfast, we do an outdoor activity that involves a hike, skiing, rock climbing, bike ride, or some combination. If it's raining we go to an indoor climbing gym, trampoline park, skating rink, or do a rain hike (those are good muddy fun!).
We treat it as a celebration and the kids love it!
The food is a little trickier to get them to want to make healthy choices. As a family, we don’t deny sugary foods or processed foods to our kids and encourage them to listen to their bodies. How do eating candy and other shitty foods make a person feel? Generally, it makes them feel like crap. And when a person eats healthy whole foods, they tend to feel better. So we encourage them to listen to their bodies and eat what makes them feel good!
We don’t keep any of that kind of food in our house and have healthy snacks and food at kid level and readily accessible. The kids only drink water and herbal tea at home and generally eat when they are hungry.
BUT, we also don't stock our house with processed snacks or candy. When the kids are hungry, they grab a piece of fruit, cheese, olives, veggies, and hummus or fix a healthy sandwich.
We don't want to control them to the point that they are forbidden from eating processed foods when they are out with their friends, at birthday parties, or pretty much any holiday at school that for some reason everyone brings heaps of candy to. That's weird…
So we try to get them to see how they feel when they binge on a small mountain of candy that has enough sugar and other weird chemicals to kill a small village full of type two diabetics.
Having a healthy home creates the environment for your kiddos to build the belief that it's normal to live a healthy lifestyle. Kids are adaptable, kids may ham and haw a little at first, but they get hip to the new normal pretty fast. It's adults that have a harder time making the change to a healthy lifestyle from what they are used to.
The course that my wife and I coach people on is how to make these healthy changes effortlessly and lasting. We work with our clients on both the psychological aspect of health and fitness, but also get them on a workout and nutrition program from day one.
Because getting your kids started with a healthy lifestyle is the best head start you can give them. I completely acknowledge that it may be challenging at first, but it's worth it. It's worth the extra work to give your kids a longer and healthier life. And we are here for you. You don't have to start this on your own, fumbling around in the social media desert of broken dreams and fantastical lifestyles.
We have cut through all the bullshit to create a coherent system that follows a logical progression that culminates in the adaptation and implementation of your new desirable behaviors.
And that is how you create healthy habits that last a lifetime and get your kids at least familiar with health and nutrition concepts.
I hope that this has helped you, or even possibly lit a spark to go buy some veggies!
From me to you, stay healthy, stay healthy and keep being awesome.