In my efforts to raise consciousness about obesity and its contributing factors, I am hoping that the same phrase that is being used endlessly in the financial world, will raise some interest and motivation here in this community.
I keep reading about experts who point to TV time, video time, advertising, celebrity bodies, fast food, high fructose corn syrup, metabolic issues, poor and unsafe urban planning as the contributing causes of obesity. YES to all, I say. But I have repeatedly pointed out that healthy habits, like charity begin in the home. A home that is run without structure or planning - a free for all when it comes to food and exercise (or the lack thereof) is a home that will encourage obesity. A home where the parents are obese or simply have "fat habits" will encourage the same in their kids. And if there kids are somehow blessed with a metabolic gift - burning calories fast - in this household, trust me, in time they will succumb to unhealthy habits. They will become overweight down the road, or develop diseases associated with poor nutritional choices (or zero physical activity).
Just like you are planning to deal with financial concerns, you need to PLAN to deal with health concerns, especially as they relate to nutrition and exercise. You do need to ask the family as a group to help with food choices and menu selections; you should shop with a list; you should buy bulk when possible but individualize portions at home so you don't overeat; you should prepare salads and fruit so they are ready to be grabbed; you should take your kids shopping with you when possible since this is a time when they can learn about different foods and learn to read labels and learn the areas in the supermarket (produce) where they should be hanging out and taste testing. You should also be modeling physical activity behaviors - not just ordering your kids to be active - but joining them in a variety of fun physical activities.
A Family Stimulus Lifestyle Program needs time to be implemented - Rome wasn't built in a day - so you can't undo unhealthy habits in a day or even a week or even several months. It takes time to implement a plan - it takes time to undo years of entrenched poor habits. And just like all stimulus packages - there will be days, many days, when the "package" doesn't seem to be working fast enough. But as with all plans - you need to continue to "work the plan" with troubleshooting and adjusting when it's appropriate.
So even during the holiday feasting season - which goes on for weeks and weeks - start slowly, and begin to implement a Family Stimulus Package that will move your family into a healthier zone. One habit at a time....one day at a time....one meal at a time...
Published On: November 24, 2008