What are you Teaching your Children about Fitness?

As moms, we teach our children about so many topics. Of course, we focus on reading, writing, polite behavior, obedience....and so many more. But what are we teaching our children about Fitness and healthy living?

Growing up, I saw my dad alternate between dieting and binging. We were forced to "spot" him while he lifted weights and saw him yo-yo through all sorts of sizes. Weight was a constant topic and focus.

My mom complained about her squishy belly and religiously did 100 sit-ups a day - for years - with no change in her appearance. It was an odd environment. On the one hand they complained about their weight, but on the other hand they were buying soda, chips, and all sorts of "treats."

I've been thinking a lot lately about the health legacy I'm leaving for my children. For the longest time, the only TV show I watched in front of my kids was The Biggest Loser. It's still, hands-down, my favorite show, but I think it may have had the wrong effect on my kids.

I started to notice a problem when we'd be at parties and my children would tell people that what they were eating or drinking was going to "make them fat!"

They'd often ask me "how many calories are in this" and other weird comments. They'd get just as excited as I would for the transformations and weekly weigh-ins.

Not long ago, my daughter hopped on our scale and said "how much did I lose?"  I know for a FACT that she has never gotten that from me! I almost never weigh myself and never talk about it with my kids. But the focus of TBL is always "how much they lose" each week.

So I've stopped watching The Biggest Loser in their presence. In my defense, it used to run at 7pm and I had to watch it with them or miss it all together. These days I have Tivo and I can watch it  once they're in bed.

But what message am I sending them? They eat with me for almost every meal and frequently join my workouts - as spectators mostly but they give it their best in the gym. To find out what they think, I've been asking them. Here are the key takeaways that my children are getting about living a healthy lifestyle.

  • Exercise is Fun.
  • Exercising makes mommy feel better (super general but still true and very, very good.)
  • Exercise is important and something we want to do every day.
  • Food from nature is good for our bodies.
  • Calories are energy and we need energy to learn and grow.
  • We want to build our bodies out of "earth food" and not "chemical food."
  • We don't eat treats if we don't have room in our tummys for good food.
  • If a food is mostly sugar, it's not a great choice.
  • It's not important to be thin. It's important to be strong.
  • Try to get stronger and faster every time you workout. 
  • Watching TV shrinks your brain and muscles
  • Mom really likes spinach and refuses to share. Mom loves berries but will still share.

And a few specifically from my 5 year old:

  • Don't talk to mom when she's running or she might roll of the back
  • You should make noises when you lift weights
  • You should do pushups until your body falls on the floor
  • You can shake your butt in between exercises (cuz we dance, hoop, or jump between sets, lol)
We work so hard to prepare our children for life in the "real world." Don't forget to prepare them for a lifetime of health!


Molly said...

This is a great post! I never thought of it from that particular perspective, but it's so true! Thanks for the tips and the list, I'm going to have to tell my kids a few of them as well.

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Thank you for your comments! I appreciate all your tips, advice, and well wishes!


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