I have always struggled with my weight and grew up convinced that one of my genetic gifts was “big bones.”Â Â Always on the chubby side as a kid, I became accustomed to shopping in Husky Hell and nicknames like “whale” and “bubbles.”Â Â Although at one time or another I have probably tried almost every diet fad, I have finally learned that there is no such thing as a diet. Period.Â Â The only way to effectively lose weight is to change your lifestyle and simply eat better and exercise regularly.
Bringing It Home
As a parent it is apparent how genetics come into play, and all three of my kids, at one point or another, have displayed evidence of my “big bones.”Â Â They even spent a summer or two at the proverbial “fat camp,” though in hindsight that was probably overkill…Â Â As I have worked diligently on improving my own health and fitness I have tried to instill a similar focus on fitness for my kids, and I am very proud of the steps they have all taken toward a more active, healthy lifestyle at home and away.Â Â Here are a few of the tips I have tried to incorporate into my family’s fitness routine:
5 Tips For Family Fitness
1)Â Water – Say sayonara to soda.Â Â Make pop passe. Don’t let sugary juice add to the size of your caboose.Â Â Water is the drink of champions and champions drink lots of water.Â Â I stopped buying any soda or juice other than the occasional quart of “not from concentrate” orange juice, many years ago and the drink of choice for all of us Sasses is a glass of water.
2)Â Join A Gym – I started going to the gym regularly about nine years ago, and I joined LA Fitness because at the time they were the only gym in my area that let me also get a membership for my oldest son, then age 13, and I was determined to make fitness a family affair.Â Â Eventually, as they each got old enough, all three of my kids became gym members, and we work out together whenever time permits.
3)Â Walk & Ride – There is no excuse not to walk, and walking with your kids is a great time to just share the moment together, talking, laughing, and getting some needed “cardio” at the same time. Â If you’re feeling more of a need for speed, then break out the bikes and make regular family rides a part of your routine. Â Don’t forget to wear helmets – especially YOU!
4)Â Slow Down When You Eat! – Gobble, gobble should be reserved exclusively for Thanksgiving. Â Wolfing down food should beÂ reservedÂ for wolves. Â One of the healthiest lessons you can teach your kids (and exercise yourself) is to eat meals at a slow, relaxed pace. Â The fastest path to overeating is to eat fast, because your plate is empty before your stomach has time to tell your brain it is full, leaving you no choice but to invoke “Oliver” and say, “please sir, may I have some more?” Â The best way to resist seconds is to slow down while eating the firsts. Â TIP: Eating as a family and engaging in conversation over meals is a great way to keep the chewing in check. Â Another “behavior modification” tip is to insist on putting down the fork, or spoon in between every bite – a great way to break the “shoveling syndrome.”
5)Â Shop For Success – As the parent you are likely the Ruler of the Refrigerator, the Commander of the Cabinets and the Protector of the Pantry! Â Therefore it is your job to fill your Culinary Command Centers with the right stuff. Â The easiest way for you and your kids to eat healthy is for you to shop healthy. It is a lot harder to snack on chocolate dipped Oreo‘s if they don’t exist in your household. Â The best way to dangle healthy carrots in front of your kids is to make sure you always have fresh carrots in the fridge. Force yourself to take the time to read labels and don’t be fooled by the marketing. Â “Reduced Fat” and “Fat Free” are rarely actually better than an equivalent choice that is made with fresh, unprocessed, “whole” ingredients.
What do you think? Â Are there additional healthy tips you have? Â If they are Â fit to go, please add them to the comments!
Jeff Sass is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 22, Ethan, 20 and Olivia, 19). Â He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast. Â You can see more of Jeffâ€™s writing atÂ Sassholes! andÂ Social Networking Rehab and you can listen to Jeff on theÂ Cast of Dads podcast.?
Photo Credit: ?Â© Ekaterina Pokrovsky – Fotolia.com