So for those of you rolling your eyes at me right now, hear me out! This will (hopefully) inspire you 😆 . Let me start off with a little story that STILL has me floating (and gloating!). A few days ago, my teenage daughter ACTUALLY said this to me! “Mom, I wish I could devote a whole week to just feeling great and working on my health! I’d work out every day with you, maybe do two boxing classes a week – and on top of THAT, still go for walks, hikes and bicycle rides and run – and every meal would be perfectly healthy and energizing.” …..something like that! (I may have embellished the “with you” part when she said she’d work out every day…… ). Anyway, needless to say, I was THRILLED! And did I mention that I was thrilled? Just checking. I LOVE that I don’t have to be too preachy with my kids (even though THEY’RE probably reading this and rolling their eyes in disagreement!). They SEE me chugging aloe vera, whipping up black bean brownies, trying that new kale recipe or a new work out class – and that I enjoy seeking out and indulging in opportunities to up the anti with my health. READ ON! It’s fascinating! 😉 ….
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I coach a lot of teenagers and I LOVE talking to them about their view on “being healthy”. It sounds so cliche’, but I’ve found that their perspective comes from what they see at home. If their parents (or even just ONE parent) work out or are “health-conscious”, the adolescent is so much more likely to be open to it. And the good news is that it’s never too late.
I’ve been an annoying, health-obsessed (according to my kids) mom for most of their lives. As much push-back as I’ve gotten from them about NOT buying potato chips, Oreos, white noodles or white bread, I hear them doing what I call “brag/complaining” to their friends about how healthy I am. (I do buy these things on occasion though because I don’t want to be too extreme, which I believe would have the opposite affect and turn them OFF to healthy choices.)
I recently watched a lecture by a health guru who I really respect, talk about what really inspired HIM as a kid to get more interested in HIS health and well-being. He said that as a kid, he’d go to his friend’s house with his buddies and they’d all DROOL over the hot mom. He said she looked half her age (and still does) and that when they’d open the fridge, it was piled to the sky with colorful veggies and herbs (and aloe vera 😉 ) EVERYWHERE! His buddy, who constantly complained about the lack-of-Dorito-situation in his home, is currently a top marathon runner (and successful MD) somewhere on the east coast. Clearly her healthy habits had a ripple affect even beyond her own family!
I’m rambling….. Bare with me! Currently I have a 12 year old client whose mom enlisted me to help her lose A VERY NECESSARY 30 pounds (at least). Both of the parents of this 12 year old can easily stand to lose quite a bit of poundage themselves. One thing I’ve noticed is that they’ve focused so much on food and telling this poor child that she’s overweight, that it was almost impossible to get her excited about HEALTH (and to get her focus off of her WEIGHT). It was absolutely crucial that “the mom” get on board with making eating and feeling great – a really FUN thing! First off, there was no more saying “lose weight”. Instead we say “get healthy”. There’s no more buying junk food and keeping it in the cupboards only to tell this 12 year old that it’s off limits! You don’t put drugs in the cabinet and tell an addict they can’t touch! NEXT, it was a matter of taking her favorite foods and HEALTHIFYING them! I may be crazy, but this should actually be a lot of fun! She loved fettuccini alfredo! Guess what – so did the parents! We used zoodles (zucchini noodles – message me if you want to know how to do this!) as the fettuccini and made an alfredo sauce out of cauliflower, veggie broth and nutritional yeast (also happy to share this recipe if you message me).
I know it sounds simple, but my young 12-year-old client LOVED coming up with healthy ways to enjoy her favorite meals! She is now ENJOYING cooking with her mom (I got them started – and it was not hard at all) and neither of them even thought they could ever cook! Pepperoni pizza, another one of their favorites, we re-made in three different ways to accommodate all of their tastes (cauliflower crust, an Ezekiel sprouted grain tortilla as a crust, nutritional yeast and/or Daiya to occasionally replace the cheese, TONS of veggies, real tomatoes….. loads of options!). They now enjoy hanging in the kitchen NOT eating cake frosting from the container, but making garbanzo bean cookie dough! The bottom line is that health became a hobby for both the mom and the 12 year old. They are actually enjoying cooking healthy dishes – TOGETHER! And BTW, this child’s mother told me she cannot, will not, cook. Just not in her genes! They have both been steadily losing weight. Lastly, I was able to talk ‘the mom’ into putting work out clothes on twice a week and just going for a walk JUST so her daughter can SEE her doing it. Even though her husband is still not on board, she and her THREE KIDS (12 year old included) go on regular walks together and have even upped the anti to jogging up any hills they encounter.
Every once in a while I indulge in caramel (my weakness!). I am SURE to let my kids know/see how crappy I feel afterwards! I always point out to my kids that people who DON’T feel crappy after eating CRAP – have made their bodies USED TO EATING, uh, how do you say?, ….. CRAP! How crazy dangerous is that!? Of course there’s the caramel I make with almond butter, maple syrup and vanilla (still crazy fattening, but definitely healthier!) and my daughter came up with THAT recipe. YUM!
Of my four children, two eat pretty healthy and really CARE and NOTICE that they feel great when their diet is clean and when they are more active. (They’re also AWESOME in trying to convince the other two to care more also!) I’d like to say that my other two kids are works-in-progress. They’re the two who break bones (every summer – for real!) and get sick. I always take the opportunity to tell my kids (when they’re sick) that their nutrition COULD really help their bodies fight all of this junk! I do see them take it in and I know they care. They’re just going to come around a little later. My son, who has broken more bones than I care to talk about, asks me from time-to-time to make him a huge salad with everything in it! He requests this when he observes me mixing up a protein/veggie drink and saying out loud how I can’t wait for the amazing feeling I get from the health benefits of Moringa. I really don’t miss an opportunity to point out how food and activity determine our health current AND FUTURE health! And it is NOT lost on my kids – and would not be lost on yours either – so seize those moments! They’re listening!
There are so many opportunities to be an amazing example to your kids in this way and so many reasons to make health a hobby! I cannot tell you how fun it is to be in the kitchen bonding with my 16 and 11 year olds SLOWLY watching them (and my other 2 kids) come around and COMPLETELY get excited about the fact that they can control their HEALTH and how awesome they (do or don’t) feel!
One of my kids recently asked me to take her to the dermatologist to clear up her skin. I suggested she first try cutting out dairy for a week or two (since that’s how long it would take anyway to get her into see the dr) and seeing if it helped. (And of course it helped! I cancelled the appointment – saved a few $$ 😉 ) I loved watching her come up with interesting ways to replace the goat cheese in her salads when going dairy-free. I would have never thought to crumble up the head of a cauliflower to LOOK like goat cheese, but remember – the beauty of a dish – they say we eat with our eyes first! This did it for her just fine! I hate to brag, but I was so proud!
I love doing boxing classes with my kids or dragging a kid along with me to work out with a personal trainer! A few summers ago I would bribe my son to go on long runs with me – and he SMOKED me! I LOVE IT! How awesome was it for him to discover he loves to run!?! He joined track after that! He gets MY butt out there sometimes when I’m not in the mood.
It’s so fun to go to Whole Foods WITH YOUR KIDS and tell them to choose the funkiest vegetable they can find! Then google recipes with that ingredient. I LOVE making my husband eat our crazy creations because he is SUCH a reluctant guinea pig! But once in a while we come up with some really great sh**!
Anyway, the goal is HEALTH! To feel AWESOME! Not to be thin. Not to become vegetarian or vegan or paleo – but to eat natural, healthy foods that nourish us and feed our cells to make us our personal best! To get out there (now is the perfect time!) and run, hike – do things with your kids! Don’t miss an opportunity to bond with your kids while pointing out how all of yours and their cells are just oozing with HEALTH just by being active and eating nutritious ….. stuff! It guarantees more time together!
My last kvell (that’s Yiddish for BRAG!) is that my 16 year old tried to run with me several years ago and barely made it to the end of the street! She swore she’d never run again. I pointed out to her recently that now since she’s done a few boxing classes and yoga and eats better, that she’d probably make it a lot further than the end of the street. Do you know that not only is she running several miles now, but when she’s frustrated or stressed – she throws on her running shoes!? I LOVE THAT! Like mother like daughter! Health is truly her hobby! She cares about weight like any typical teenager (and, uh, person!), but her focus is on health and she ENJOYS the whole entire process. That, to me, is more than half the battle! The payoffs of a healthy life(style) that will hopefully even be passed on to future generations, not to mention the ripple affect to the on-lookers, are priceless!
Enjoy the sunshine!! 😎