How can I apply all I’ve learned as a doctor to my parenting strategy? Or…how could you do the same with your children?
Most of us are aware that there are steps we need to take in order to control our weight and improve our health. We find ourselves saying things like, “I really need to stop eating sugar and bread”, or “I know I need to stop sitting so much and get outside and some exercise”.
We all know that we need to improve our habits and live a healthier lifestyle, but knowing is only half the battle. All the knowledge in the world won’t help us if we can’t put our plans into action.
We all experience obstacles that impact our reaching our health goals (kids, too!)
I will teach my daughters that there are a few obstacles stopping us from reaching our health goals, but they can be overcome if we learn to recognize and deal with them efficiently.
Here are 5 things I’ll make sure to teach my kids about staying healthy, controlling their weight, and remaining energetic as they grow up:1. THEY NEED TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY
Their first obstacle is the influence media has over the way they perceive and treat their health.
Everywhere we look, the media tells us to treat our symptoms, but rarely encourages us to look beyond a quick fix with a pill. We are encouraged to take a “head in the sand” approach to our own bodies; that is, to ignore the underlying cause of a problem and simply pop a pill to temporarily alleviate it.
Obviously the focus of most marketing campaigns is to sell a product – not to teach us how to live a healthy life and reduce our dependency on these commodities. I want my daughters to remember that the media is not the best source for information pertaining to our health. Nor is social media!
Rather than television commercials, social media and magazine advertisements, they need to consult with their physicians (functionally trained) or read with discernment to gain knowledge from unbiased health articles.
They need to pay attention to the way they receive information if they wish to change how they perceive themselves. They need to guard their minds and constantly renew them with truths.2. SCHEDULE YOURSELF IN
Time constraints will be a reality in their lives. They will be busy juggling careers, families, social obligations, and other demands on their time.
Many of us feel like we live our entire lives in the car, driving from one destination to the next all day. Or live at the computer or tied to our cell phones. It is no wonder so many of us “prepare” dinner at a fast food drive-through or cannot find the time for outdoor activities and exercise.
I want to stress to them that it is important to schedule time for themselves, each and every day – not only for exercise, but for rest and rejuvenation as well.
This sounds difficult at first, but if we all remember that this is an investment in our longevity and quality of life, it helps us to understand that this time is just as important as a meeting with a financial advisor to discuss retirement, or an appointment with an accountant to file our taxes.
These are things we all do without question, because they are considered important for our lives and futures; by viewing “me time” in a similar light, we can understand how important it is to schedule into our busy days.3. HEALTH FIRST, MONEY SECOND
As they get older, they’ll see that money constraints are another problem for many people.
When money is tight, people are compensating by purchasing lower quality food, losing sleep, or canceling gym memberships. In addition, finances can be a huge source of stress, and stress can lead to problems with hormone imbalance and inflammation in their bodies.
It is helpful for them to view money constraints in the same way they view the time issue, and realize that decisions which affect their health are not the best areas in which to compromise. Health is one of the biggest investments we can make, and it is not a good place to cut corners.
A little “Looky, Looky, No Buyee”, is a good motto too!4. THAT THEY ARE WORTH IT
Even though it is easy to see the value in these first three points, many of us stop ourselves from committing to our health because of low self-esteem or self worth.
This is a huge mistake, and we all have to learn to make ourselves a priority. We women are programmed to put everyone else ahead of us, and so we often neglect to take care of our own health and our own lives because we feel we are not as important as others.
This is a viewpoint we all need to work on changing. We need to be asking some very serious questions, such as, “Am I efficient when I’m unhealthy? How can I take care of others when I am feeling unwell? Do my friends, family, and co-workers really expect me to martyr myself in order to take care of them?”
And back to the earlier point on the media, I want all young people to love themselves and their bodies. Don’t measure your worth by an image you see on the television or in social media.
If kids and young people learn that yes, they are worth it, and yes, taking care of their own bodies is important, then they will be healthier and happier and perform better as wives, mothers, sisters, friends and in purposeful careers.5. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH SUPPORTIVE PEOPLE