Wherever you are is the right starting point for you and your family. There is no "wrong" time or place to begin the journey to better health. Here are a few tips from our advisors to keep in mind along the way.
Our kids look to us for guidance and it's our job to help them learn how to make good choices. We need to set limits and raise expectations in order for our kids to live healthier lives.
Remember, you know your family better than anyone else. Where you lead, they will follow. If your kids are competitive, challenge them to a family "food fight" that charts your family's daily consumption of fruits and vegetables and let the winner pick a fun non-sedentary activity for the whole family to enjoy that week like a trip to the zoo.
Make sure that healthy fruits and vegetables are cut and ready for immediate consumption. Serve vegetables with a healthy dip, like hummus. as an appetizer before mealtime. And keep dance videos, jump ropes and other easy-to-use exercise equipment visible and accessible to all.
Think Healthy Behaviors, Not Weight
We can't expect our kids to focus on healthy living while our sole focus is on the scale. It's important to incorporate weight into discussions about overall health and making good choices for our bodies.
Forget special diets
What's good for one is good for the entire family. There is no need to have one family member on a restrictive diet. Find healthy food options capable of satisfying the entire family.
Promote the Positive
Catch your kids doing something right and applaud their efforts. That's the key to success in addressing weight-related health challenges, according to mental health professionals.
Don't Become the Food Police
Don't ask your child if they really "need" another piece of cake. Teach them to self-regulate by paying attention to their body's signals, like feeling full. Experts warn against restricting certain foods, which often leads to binge or closet eating in children. Focus on portion control instead.
Do the Right Thing
Our kids do as we do, so make sure you model the behavior you are seeking. A parent who says, 'Go get some exercise' while lying on the couch" is not likely to meet with success Eat your vegetables, drink plenty of water and take the stairs... Remember, where you lead, they will follow.