Steps for Becoming a Healthy Family (Well, Healthier)
A healthy lifestyle is something that is super important, for adults and children alike. My middle daughter, Bug, struggles with being healthy. We used to joke previously that her “full switch was broken”. She was (and still is) always hungry! After eating a full meal, she’d be complaining about needing a snack ten minutes later. It was so bad that at one point my mom even called my sister (mom lives out of town but sister lives here) to ensure that I actually fed the children. When we got her autism diagnosis, they said that food was a fixation for her. Now it makes sense as to why she’s always hungry, but we have a huge task in front of us. We have to teach a child who doesn’t understand what her body is telling her about being hungry/full, how to eat healthy food in proper proportions.
Due to her eating habits, she is overweight. I love her, no matter what size she is, but being overweight at a child definitely has its drawbacks. With her autism, she lacks the social skills of a child her age. She struggles to make and maintain friendships. Add to this the fact that kids will be kids no matter how much we try to change them, and you end up in a situation where she is getting teased for being overweight. Being the sensitive soul that she is, due to the teasing, weight is a super sensitive subject for her. It’s hard to discuss having a healthy lifestyle with her because she will break into tears thinking that I am implying that she’s fat. I’ve tried several times to speak to her about portions and choosing the proper foods to eat, but it always ends with her in tears, hurt. Even though I’ve never once called her fat, any implications that she needs to make changes, she interperpates as being called fat.
Last week, a wonderful idea struck me. It happened one morning, when I was in my room attempting to get ready for the day. I stepped on the scale, something that I haven’t done in quite a while. I fully admit, I hated the number that I saw. I haven’t weighed as much as I currently do, ever. Not even when I was pregnant with any of the kiddos. I knew that changes needed to be made in my lifestyle – and I suddenly knew how to do it!
In my house, we have adopted a Healthy Lifestyle Challenge. We’re making some changes, together!
All For One and One For All
Things are easier when you have the support of others. We’ve turned being healthy into a family affair. When I addressed the family over dinner about the changes that I was going to make in my life, they were all excited to join in with me! Even Bug, who was always in the past offended by talks of her becoming healthier, decided that she wanted to do it with Mommy. So whether you’re enrolling your family with you or finding a friend or group of friends to hold you accountable, create a support net for yourself. Having the encouragement of others, knowing that there are others who will encourage you when you’re struggling or rejoice with you when you’ve succeeded, can make all the difference!
Chug Chug Chug
One of the first things that we had to change, is what is drunk. Before the challenge started, my go to drink was soda. The kids already did mostly drink water, so on this one, they are more of a cheer team than a participant. Water brings so many benefits to your body. It is truly healthy for you. I mean, we’re made from over 50% water. I will be honest though. I absolutely hate the taste of water. Yeah, I know, I’ve been told over and over that water has no flavor, but I disagree! In order to improve the taste, I’ve been creating fruit water. It’s super simple and adds delicious flavor combinations that I actually love to drink.
The easiest way to create fruit water is with a Infuser Water Bottle. These special water bottles have a center section where you can put fresh fruit. The fruit is trapped inside the center cylinder so you don’t have to worry about anything but taste getting into the water you drink. By using this bottle, I’ve been able to drink a delicious drink, that is much healthier for me than the carbonated beverages I would have grabbed in the past!
Work It Baby
We’ve also adopted a dreaded, 8 letter word in our house. E-X-E-R-C-I-S-E! Each day, we complete some form of a workout routine. Some days we go for a bike ride, or a walk in the park while others we stay inside and do some yoga or perhaps my favorite Just Dance. We don’t do the whole, weights and horrible workouts that I’ve tried to do in the past. I hated doing it, and continued on for the short time that I did simply because I knew I wanted to be healthy. Now we keep our bodies physically moving while having fun! That’s the way to stick with it. If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, you won’t stick with doing it! Find something that gets your heart pumping, something that you can do as a family and embrace it. Have a daily dance party! Play tag in the backyard. Create a morning yoga routine to help wake your body up for the day.
Just Eat It
There are so many different diets out there, it can be completely overwhelming. One tells you not to eat carbs, with another swears that eating more carbs is the way to go. I tried to look into a few different ways to go, and decided I wouldn’t follow any of them. It was just too much! So, what do we do? We eat healthy.
What do I mean by saying we eat healthy? I mean, I try to make balanced diet decisions. Most all of my grocery shopping happens around the outside of the grocery store; produce, meat, dairy. Items that aren’t filled with artificial things, but are as close to natural as we can get them. Yes, we still eat pasta and candy and items found inside those grocery isles, but our primary meal comes from the outside realm. It means I’m cooking more from scratch and we’re eating out a ton less. While I won’t say our diets are anywhere near perfect, it is a huge step of improvement from the meals we used it eat!
Step by Step, Day by Day
While I know that our lifestyle isn’t wonderfully perfect, we are taking little steps each day that are bringing us closer to being healthy. If I change everything, all at once, in order to live the kind of life I want, I will fall off the wagon. The way to make positive, lifelong changes, is to take it bit by bit, little by little. As my family gets used to dessert every other night instead of every night, I slowly start making the desserts healthier choices. Chocolate cake with fudge icing becomes Fruit Pizzas. The half hour family bike ride becomes an hour. The time spent cooking dinner becomes a Dancy – Dance Party. Rome wasn’t built in a day, you didn’t become unhealthy in a day, and unfortunately you won’t get healthy in a day either. Just take it little by little, stuck with it, and you’ll get there!
Is This Enough?
I’m definitely not a fitness expert. You only have to take one look at me to know that. I can say with confidence though, that since making these changes, thanks to the wonderful support of our family, both Bug and I have lost weight and we feel great about it! We have a long road ahead of us, learning about portions and proper foods to eat, daily exercise and how to take better care of our bodies. By working together, as a team, we are going to discover each new piece of information step by step, hand in hand.
What’s your Healthy Lifestyle Advice?