There’s this little nemesis I have called “Reality.” Reality is a devious little thing. She makes the harsh glare of the bathroom lights highlight tiny lines and crevices I swear were not there when I crawled into bed. Reality also lures me with promises of deliciousness into the kitchen and then takes revenge on my hips and thighs. Reality also pokes at me as I choose to sit at the computer instead of taking a walk when my joints snap, crackle and pop. I don’t like to use bad words, but I HATE YOU REALITY! Be gone from my life. Nope she is still there, standing in the middle of life mocking me.
What’s even worse? Reality points out how my bad habits have a domino effect on the rest of my family. More often than not, our children, and even other extended family, will take their cues on healthy – or unhealthy – living from us.
Today is the day I change Reality from my enemy to my ally. I’m not jumping on a bandwagon. I’m attempting to start a journey to a better and healthier way of living. However, Reality whispers to me that if you’re a mom or dad, you will not be successful if you journey in a bubble. I’m talking about taking the family by storm, turning things upside down and sideways. We can’t achieve our full potential and participate completely in our lives if we have to stop to catch our breath or take a nap.
In the past, I have been stopped for a number of reasons: I work full time, my spouse is deployed, my children have been possessed by aliens and I don’t know when I am going to find the time or energy to cook real food, much less go grocery shopping AND work out! Where does one even start?
Anywhere. You start anywhere because any change is better than no change. There is always a beginning to every journey. Today is mine.
I plan on making manageable changes to give my family some success. I suggest you evaluate your family and how you spend your time and money. For me, it’s fast food. It gives me time, sucks my money and is devastating my health. It’s hurting my kids too, but it’s not as easy to see on them as it is on me. My pants size does not lie.
I need to go back to menu planning, to include healthy snacks. Now is the perfect time when I don’t have to worry about school events and commitments. I can involve my kids in the menu planning, educating them as we go about good nutrition and organizing our time to accommodate a healthier way of eating. These are a few of the results I hope to see:
- More family meals.
- My kid’s involvement in the process from menu planning to shopping and preparation. You can’t teach this kind of life skill in a classroom.
- Children who can help prepare healthy lunches and after school snacks that they will actually eat!
- A break in the addiction to fast food fats, salts and sugars we all crave before the school year begins and we once again enter crazy land.
Next I’m going to figure out how to incorporate more active living by including one family activity a week that requires me to get up and move! Everywhere you live there is somewhere you can go or something you can incorporate for your family to have physical activity. We have a trail on the installation where we live called the piranha pit. I actually called it the potato masher for the longest time because I could never remember its name. A nod to my addiction to french fries? It’s possible. Here’s what I hope to see:
- Team building. This begins at home, and physical challenges that we overcome as a family create great memories, trust and bonds that are not easy to break.
- Time out from electronics!
- Physical benefits are too long to list, so more energy and better sleep.
- My amazing creatures, I mean children, overcome challenges.
- As I step outside my comfort zone (and into pain zone most likely), modeling for my children how to face and overcome challenges and trials. And how to effectively use moleskin.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and changing inactive habits or less than desirable nutrition choices won’t be corrected in a day, week or even a month. However, I promise you, the very attempt at living a healthier life will in and of itself garner results you’ll be amazed by when it comes to your family. So just to recap and keep it simple, here’s your to do list should you so choose to start your own journey to healthy living for your family:
- Take stock of your family and identify one area to work on.
- Check out your Morale, Welfare and Recreation program, as well as other community and online resources to help you plan and implement the change.
- Start off with the only goal in mind of spending more time together in wholesome activity. The rest will follow.
Finally I’ll share with you my last bit of encouragement for me to change the face of the Reality I live with: “Just say no to french fries and get out and hike.”