Growing up I heard the words “Do as I say, not as I do” often enough to know better than to use them on my own child. In fact, I consider it hypocritical of me to ask him to do things that I wouldn’t do myself. I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I am not athletic in the least. I do my best to get a minimum of 6 hours of sleep (and if I can sleep in, I will), eat healthy and exert a minimal amount of energy just enough to keep me on the edge of NOT developing heart problems and/or diabetes.
Often our meals are made from scratch using whole foods such as lean meats, lentils, brown rice, kale, spinach, carrots, green beans, turmeric, coconut oil, veggie or whole wheat pastas, etc. (You can find a recipe HERE and HERE.) BUT…oh boy, do I LOVE my sweets! I’m a sucker for cookies, cakes and ice cream – most desserts really!!! Unfortunately, so is my son.
Most parents think that if we “teach” our children well enough with our words they’ll be able to make better decisions than we do, but let’s look at the latest research, shall we?: Moms’ and kids’ activity levels are directly linked to each other. We know better. Obviously. We know what the healthy choice is: to eat our (not deep-fried) veggies. To get a good night’s sleep. To make time to play and move our bodies. And yet, again and again, we avoid getting physical at all costs.
My excuses and “reasons” were inexhaustible: “I’m happy the way I am.”; “I’m too exhausted to wake up at the crack of dawn and/ or after work to contemplate going to the gym.”; “I am beautiful enough already.” Not realizing that, all the while, my son has been picking up on my habits, developing the same behaviors towards fitness and, much to my dismay, gaining unnecessary weight.
After numerous failed attempts to coax, and even bribe, my son into becoming more active it finally dawned on me that he wouldn’t do anything if I didn’t first set the example. So, I joined a gym and reluctantly reactivated my old MyFitnessPal account to keep track of my meals.
Now, I hate counting calories and wouldn’t know how to determine the amount of calories in my home cooked meals but thanks to this app I can record my food with just a few taps on my iPhone. It’s actually shocking to see how quickly the calories, fat and sugar grams start adding up. Just this morning I’ve already consumed half of my target sugar grams for the day!
Keeping track of my food has forced me to face the fact that, regardless of my fitness goals, what I consume affects my body in ways seen and unseen. One of the things that I’ve found interesting is the importance of keeping track of the macros in one’s diet. What are “macros”, you ask? Macros short for macro-nutrients like protein, carbs and fats. These macros are the basis of all calories you consume. Rather than obsessing over calories, targeting macros helps keep you focused on food composition and overall healthfulness rather than just low-calorie options. And again, with the help of free apps like MyFitnessPal it’s easy to stay on track! (No, I am not getting paid to say so.)
Although I have yet to see any visible results on the scale I have noticed that my clothes fit a lot better. AND I am happy to report that my example has not gone unnoticed. On Monday, as I was going about my new routine, my son approached me and asked if he could join me at the gym. For a brief moment it seemed like the clouds parted and a chorus of Angels sang in triumphantly!
For the last two days we’ve been walking 30 minutes to the gym, lifting weights then walking 30 minutes back home. Monday when I asked my son if he was ready to go home he replied, “One more exercise. This is strangely addictive!” Then yesterday on our walk home he said, “We should have started this years ago.” To which I replied, “I know. I’m sorry.”