Wednesday, July 14, 2010

FitCity: I Must Be Doing Something Right

There are a lot of struggles and hurdles to face when you choose to start living a healthier lifestyle.  If your family has been relatively sedentary, boosting up the activity level can be a challenge.  If your family doesn’t eat much fruit or veggies, adding those into the daily diet can be a hurdle.  Even on a personal level, sticking with big changes to diet and activity level and exercise can be a real struggle.

Prior to making these changes to my self-care lifestyle, my family was not very active.  Taking a day to go to the Indianapolis Zoo or Conner Prairie or any other place or event that would require a lot of walking and energy was a very special treat that didn’t get planned too terribly often.  And when we did make those ventures into the great outdoors, the pace was slow, the kids did all the running and effort while Jeff and I struggled along behind them.  Our evenings consisted of getting the kids to bed and then sitting on the couch.  When the kids wanted to go outside and play, I’d go sit on the front porch and watch or read a book while they ran around.  Or I’d send them to play on the back deck so I could relax inside.  As parents, we were finding ways to put out as little effort and energy as possible.

I think a common struggle in families with children is getting the family to eat healthy- especially getting everyone to add in more vegetables.  It seems most moms, at some point, express concern over their kids not eating green vegetables or they are trying to find a sneaky way to get the vegetables in.  My kids will eat fruit all day long if I’d let them.  Blueberries, strawberries, bananas, watermelon, peaches, grapes, cantaloupe, and more.  But veggies?  Different story!

The one thing that has worked the best for getting my kids to eat more veggies is modeling.  For the past few months, I’ve made huge changes to how I eat.  My kids see me choosing salads, fruit and veggies in restaurants.  They see me making a fruit smoothie for breakfast.  They see me fill my plate with veggies at dinner.   In fact, I usually make my own vegetables for me and something I know the kids and husband will eat for them.  They get peas, I get spaghetti squash.  They get peas, I get a green mix of broccoli, cauliflower, peas, and romanesco.  They get peas, I get brussels sprouts. 
But there are changes happening in my family…

1. At dinner, my kids have started coming to my plate and eating my vegetables!  Sometimes it is only a bite.  Sometimes, they eat almost all of my half plate of veggies!  I make sure to talk about my food.  I explain what I’m eating and what I like about it and how it’s good for me.  I also offer a bite to everyone at the table.  By about the third time or so, one of my kids will take me up on the offer and try a bite.  The next time I’m eating that food, there is a good chance they are going to want some, too.

2. I recently did an interview with my family for my personal blog- Eternal Lizdom.  When I asked my 5 year old what Mommy likes to eat, she answered, without hesitation, “Brussels sprouts!”  I asked my 2 year old the same question and his answer was “Noodles.  And vegetables!”  To me, it’s yet another sign that the food choices I’m making, that the changes I’ve made are coming through to my kids.

3. Even when I make something really off the beaten path, my kids just might try a bite.  I made some really delicious fresh beets recently and my son actually opened wide when I offered a bite!  He wouldn’t eat a second bite but the first bite passed his approval- he didn’t spit it out!

4. I’ve taken to letting my 5 year old daughter be in charge of picking out veggies in the frozen food section.  I get to choose what comes in our Farm Fresh Delivery bin each week, so it’s only fair, right?  So far, she’s picked out mixed veggies, corn, peas, and green beans.

5. Even my husband is getting on the healthy train!  He is watching what he eats for lunch (he often eats on the run due to his job) and trying to come home to eat instead of just grabbing a burger and fries.  He is increasing how much fruit he eats each day.  He is even talking about starting his own exercise plan!

6. My daughter likes to dance with me.  My son likes to dance for fun and we have little family dance parties in the living room sometimes.  But I like to do various cardio workouts that I find on my Comcast On Demand (for free on the Sports & Fitness channel, Exercise TV) or pop in my ZumbaDVD’s.  Teagan doesn’t do the entire hour of sweat with me… but she will join in from time to time.  A friend of mine took up running a while back and her 4 year old has started to go on runs with Mommy.  Teagan has asked once or twice but we haven’t pursued it.  I think it might be time to offer to go for a short run together! 

7. We’ve already had a busy and active summer with trips to Holiday World, the Indianapolis Zoo, the Fort Wayne Zoo, all around Santa Claus, Indiana, visits to parks, Mommy participating in her first 5K, and more.  And I’m not just sitting on the sidelines while my kids have all the fun.  I can run and jump and chase and play with them. 

What steps have you taken to get your family more active?  What have you done to make your own healthier eating choices?  Fit City is here to help with the Summer of Go!  You really should become a fan of Fit City on Facebook so you can stay in the loop with everything going on this summer!  How about free roller skating for the family on Thursday evenings?  How about recipe reviews with a new healthy recipe posted each week?  How about knowing spots around town where you can be active?  How about winning lots of cool prizes for all of those things?  You really must check it out and participate!! 

Share what you are seeing in your family.  What changes have you made that have really caught on with your kids, your spouse?