Friday, June 20, 2014

Healthy Mama, Healthy Family

I have been a mother for 20 years. As a mother, my first priority has been the health and well-being of my children. When my oldest was a baby, I decreed that we would only eat whole grain bread, I would be an example by eating my veggies and that my precious boy would not eat any sugar. Ever.

I had great intentions. I did some sugar-free baking. I bought whole grain bread. I choked down my veggies. It didn't take very long for the no-sugar rule to be broken. Grandparents love to buy treats. Mommy and Daddy loved fast food and baking. My husband and I each put on 20-40 pounds in our first year of marriage.

My son did love his veggies though. And to this day, his favourite treat is a crunchy apple. And I did learn to love many vegetables. And whole grain bread. And pasta. And baking. Maybe a bit too much.

I also knew that we needed to model a healthy lifestyle. In the early years, with 2 kids, and little access to a car, we stayed pretty active. Not active enough to counteract the Quarter Pounders, but enough to stay strong. For a year or 2, we flirted with body-building. I loved it. Loved watching muscles grow and my waist shrink. Loved being so strong! But our schedules got busier. We moved to a new neighbourhood. Had another baby or 2 and it was easy to forget about the gym.

The last 5 years have been a blur. We had a very intense baby, who still doesn't sleep well. And he has a little brother. I have been so tired that I don't want to move. So I haven't. Being exhausted and out of shape have made me super-susceptible to comfort food cravings. And junk food in the evenings. My previously clean(er) eating habits, were eroded with nightly popcorn and sugar-laden lattes. That caffeine/sugar high, when you are running on little to no sleep, is a very seductive mistress.

So, my weight has crept up. My waist has grown. and grown. Which puts me at higher risk for diabetes and heart issues. And my inactivity, combined with aging is messing with my body. When I do try to resume exercise, I get hurt. I keep pulling ligaments and tendons. Which don't heal quickly. I live with almost daily headaches as well as back and neck pain.

This seems ridiculous. I know how to fix this. I need to move my body each day. It was created to move! I need to feed it nourishing and satisfying food. I need to love myself and take care of myself. Because the old adage is true. You have to take care of yourself to take care of others.

Children don't grow into healthy adults because we tell them to eat their veggies and put them in soccer. They grow into healthy adults when we show them what that looks like. When we lead by our example. I can't do that from the couch with my hand in a chip bag.

Join the Conversation: What does health look like in your house?

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