It’s hard to admit that you’ve thrown away your health. But I had to face up to that fact when I came back from my doctor’s appointment. My weight had officially entered into the obese range. My blood pressure was in a rough state. And the fact that I’d become winded simply by walking from my car to the doctor’s office says everything about my fitness level.

I thought about that on the way home and nearly dismissed it with a flippant “my life, my choices”. However, I’m the parent. I realized that I was no different than a smoking mother or father who passed that habit to their child. I looked at my poor health and had to admit that I was dooming my kids to the same fate.

Children get their tastes, their activity level and their general standards from their parents. And my love of junk food, sedentary habits and willingness to let it all escalate were going to doom my kids to poor health in the future. I couldn’t let that happen.


Learning to think about healthy lifestyles

I imagine many parents reading this are skeptical about my kids developing a love of broccoli the second they saw me eating it. But thankfully I discovered that a child’s developing tastes aren’t just mimicry. A child learns how their parents decide on a meal. So I began by working on my meal plan’s nutritional framework. I involved my kids so that they could see that I was putting an emphasis on both nutrition and taste. This helped me avoid an unmaintainable or unenjoyable diet. And it helped them learn how to plan for a healthy meal. This tactic of teaching goes for more than just eating, too. The way you clean the home and handle your finances sets an example for your kids as well. If you have a checkbook IRA, they probably will someday as well. As they see what you do, they will do the same.


The importance of a good plan

This process also taught my kids how important it is to plan for a healthy lifestyle. We started out using the Le-Vel Thrive system as a foundation to build on. From there we looked into why choices were made and considered how to fit them into my lifestyle. My kids also really liked that I wasn’t starting out as an expert. We were all able to learn about healthy lifestyles together. And that helped reinforce the idea that it’s always good to learn new things.


Family time and healthy activities

I also found a nice benefit to my new health routine. My kids actually wanted to join in with me. They left the cooking and exercise to me at first. But before I knew it, they were in the kitchen asking to try out new ideas. I discovered that kids can become remarkably good cooks with a little guidance. And as my weight started to drop I began to actually enjoy my workouts. When the kids saw how much fun I was having they wanted to join in too.


Looking after yourself means being a role model

I’m far enough along now that I can call this experiment a success. It’s done wonders for my own health. And that includes positive changes to both my body and mind. But more importantly I can already see that it’s made an impact on my kids.

They’re taking a more active role in their own health as well. I’d unintentionally set myself up as a before and after story for my kids. They’ve seen how unhappy I was when I ignored my health issues. And they see how much happier I am now that I’m eating right, working out and maintaining a healthy weight.