I realized this week that kids crave activity. When you give them the opportunity to be active and have fun, they want more — and more, and more.
We took the Today’s Parent Healthy Family Challenge on the road this week and joined friends for a ski vacation in Maine. Many times during the week I found myself looking at the two four-year-olds and two six-year-olds on the trip and wondering where their energy was coming from. How was it possible for those little bodies to ski for five hours a day, swim for an hour and then play Just Dance Disney for another hour before bed?
It quickly became apparent that I have another reason to lose this excess weight and take better care of myself health-wise — I need to be able to keep up with my kids. They are only going to get stronger, more adventurous and busier in the next decade and if we truly want to be a healthy, active family then I need to be an equal participant. This week was great — we had so much fun together — and it made me realize that I never want to have to sit on the sidelines for reasons that I can control.
A few years ago, I read an article that gave some quick tips for making major lifestyle changes. One of the suggestions was to surround yourself with people who are positive role models for what you are trying to achieve. Like-minded people tend to stick together so if you are hanging out with people who like to eat out a lot, you’ll eat out a lot. If your friends prefer movies and cafés to hikes and walks, that’s what you’ll do. Obviously it didn’t suggest ditching your friends but it did talk about the merits of making sure you have some good role models around you who naturally encourage a healthy lifestyle.
The family we took this trip with is exactly that and I learned a lot from watching their eating habits this week. As an example, she puts a tray of veggies and dip (hummus or tzatziki) out while she cooks dinner every night so that the family can graze if they’re hungry. Her rationale — if they’re really hungry they’ll eat it and if they’re full and can’t eat their whole dinner, it doesn’t really matter because they’ve filled up on the good stuff. She was right too — they devoured that tray every day.
So all in all it was an incredibly motivating week of healthy living for the Miller family. Lots of fresh air, healthy food, exercise, learning, play, rosy cheeks and most importantly, smiles.