Raising Healthy Kids From The Inside Out

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By Marci Warhaft Nadler

kidsjumpingWe all know that childhood obesity is a serious issue these days and that it’s up to parents to make sure their kids are being given the tools they need to grow up as healthy as possible. Sometimes, however, it can be easy to confuse being healthy with just being skinny and these two words are not always interchangeable. If we truly want our kids to understand the importance of living a healthy lifestyle, we need to make sure that we keep our focus on how our bodies WORK and not on how they LOOK, because fit bodies really can come in many different shapes and sizes.

Let’s face it, as much as we would love to always know exactly the right things to say and do when it comes to the health of our kids, sometimes it’s hard to know what the right things are. Here are a few suggestions to help you get started.

DON’T let them see you stress

Worried parents make for nervous kids and that’s the last thing we want. We are not powerless when it comes to making healthy lifestyle choices and it’s never too late to start. Make a commitment to read more labels when food shopping and to buy more fresh produce and less processed food.

DO let them see you sweat

familyfunBeing physically active is the best way to become healthy from the inside out. Encourage your kids to PLAY more and sit less. If your kids are interested in sports, feel free to try several out until you find the one(s) they enjoy the most, and then encourage them to participate. If sports are not up your kid’s alley, a simple trip to the park could be fun or going for an adventure walk. The trick is to get creative and involved! You may find it easier to keep your kids active if you’re leading the way, so jump in and start playing! It doesn’t have to be complicated, try playing a game of Simon says or Follow the Leader involving things like jumping, dancing and running, for example.

DON’T talk about weight

As parents, we need to be careful that in trying to solve one problem, we don’t accidentally create a different one. By stocking the house with healthy foods and becoming more active, our kids will get the message that being healthy is fun and that it FEELS good and that’s what we want. If we talk about health in terms of numbers on a scale or the size of our clothing, there’s a good chance they’ll become so attached to these numbers that their focus will turn away from being healthy and towards negative body image.

DO expect your kids to put on some weight at certain times of their lives. Often, people mistake healthy weight gain in puberty for a reason to be worried. Kids need to know that it’s at these times when their bodies are preparing for adulthood and that dieting is never the answer, but staying active and eating with balance and moderation is the way to go.

Remember: Eating a balanced diet and being active isn’t something we do because we don’t like our bodies, it’s something we do to celebrate and take care of them!
Self-worth isn’t measured in pounds!

– Marci Warhaft Nadler is the Author of The Body Image Survival Guide for Parents and creator of www.fitvsfiction.com