Ladies & gentlemen, we have a lot on our plates and sometimes we can forget that little eyes are watching and listening. We are the leading example for health and happiness to our children… No matter how healthy or unhealthy and no matter how happy or unhappy we are. Our kids are watching and listening.
Our kids will take on the idea of health and happiness by what we demonstrate on a daily basis. What we do becomes – what I believe – our kids will consider “normal.” The leading examples that you set forth to them every day can set the tone for the rest of their life. So, no pressure but what are you putting out there?
If you are constantly talking about dieting or how you have to exercise, in a way that is stressful, I believe this will be translated as a stressful thing to your child. If you say things like, “Uhh I have to get to the gym but I don’t want to” or “All I can eat is salad because I am on a diet, (sigh).” These are sending negative messages attached to exercise and salads to your child.
Now on the flip side, if you talk about how you are excited to exercise and how you cannot wait to sweat because it makes you feel so good, you are creating a positive connection to exercise. Another positive is if you flip how you talk about that salad. Flip it to how much you enjoy fresh greens in a salad, because it is so nutritious and makes your tummy so happy. This too connects positive vibes with eating a salad.
Too many people these days have a negative neuro-association with salads. Exchange my salad example with any fruit and veggies and remember to always talk about how wonderful, energizing, and healing your food is for your body. I was blessed to be raised by a mother who was never on a diet (at least not that I was aware of). The only reason I started to correlate diet with my waistline was after hearing my friends mom talk about how she couldn’t eat this or that because it would make her gain weight.
I remember thinking (probably around 3rd grade) food was good for you and you are supposed to eat. My friends mom was showing me (without even realizing) that eating less food and “fat-free food” is better because it will make you skinny and skinny is good (which is so not true nor always healthy). This was the first time I started to associate the way my body looked with my self-worth. I bring this up because I have many friends that experienced the yo-yo dieting adult in their life which has left them to have a poor relationship with food and the word diet. I can’t help but be mindful of how I speak about food and exercise in front of my kids and how the way I choose my words will impact their overall well-being and the way they think of their bodies and own self worth.
Here are some key comments I choose to make in front of my kids and these are statements that truly reflect how I now feel about health. Exercising makes my heart so healthy and makes me feel happy.
1. I love how these veggies are going to nourish my body.
2. These colorful foods help heal the inside of our body and make our brains happy.
3. The more green veggies we eat the bigger our muscles get and keep us strong.
4. Sometimes to get the yucky out we need to just smile and begin to move our bodies
5. You do not have to like the veggies but you need to eat them because they are good for your body.
6. Let’s dance to get the wiggles out.
7. I can’t wait to go for a bike ride with you. I love the way I feel after.
8. Yes, let’s play at the park.
9. Carrots help your eyes see better.
10. Drinking lots of clear water is liquid energy for your body.
The key is to bring up how you will feel (the positive). I bring all this up as encouragement to be mindful of how you are speaking in front of your little angels because before you know it you will have a tween or teen that could be healthy and happy or worried about every little thing they eat and have developed a negative association with self-worth and health. Lead in your health to lead in life!