Building a Healthy Family

The life of a mother; rushing from here to there, to this practice, that play, this tutor or that friends house then make dinner, do laundry and pack lunches. When is there possibly time for things you want to do for yourself? Alabama sings it perfectly in their country ballad “Rushin’ rushin ‘til life’s no fun. All I really gotta do is live and die, I’m in a hurry and don’t know why.” Okay, so maybe you feel like all the rushing is for a purpose. Ask yourself, is the benefit short term or do you see long term gain?

As women, the responsibilities of running the household often falls onto our shoulders and, in the process, our own “stuff” gets pushed aside for everything else. You want to work out but don’t have the time, you want to eat healthy but you have a picky kid who only eats chicken nuggets and goldfish crackers, you want to get back to your sport but your kids take up your time and well, you get the picture. Our focus on getting our kids into more activities to get into the best college and be the best athlete creates an overwhelming situation for fitting everything into an already tight schedule.

All this being said, you can make it happen with a little thought and planning. We forget how much our children learn from what we do as much as (if not more then) what we say. Start by modeling the behaviors you want them to adopt. Make physical activity and healthy eating part of regular family activities. Include the kids in decisions, cooking and exercise. Set aside family time to be active and eat healthy together.

Let your kids into the kitchen. Have them mix up a dressing or marinade, put together a salad or measure out the water for cooking rice. Challenge the family to eat more fruits and vegetables and encourage like and dislike of any food. Ride bikes, take a hike or participate in activities like tag to encourage movement. Play games and hold contests for added incentive with fun rewards and little prizes.

When working with a busy schedule, remember every little bit counts. Hearing that we must engage in 60 – 90 minutes of activity every day seems overwhelming at times. Do what you can as long as it is something. Short on time? Make twenty minutes can go a long way in a workout by incorporating big movements and minimal rest. By increasing your intensity, you accomplish a lot in a short period of time. Incorporate small changes into your daily eating as well. Set out to achieve one or two goals a month to make habits.

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