My three kiddos
Since I started working out twice a day to the Wii and a DVD workout, my kiddos have often taken to watching me work out. At first I felt a little awkward...I mean, having all the members of one's family (husband included) sitting on the couches watching Mommy workout (especially when Mommy is exceptionally jiggly and out of shape) is a bit awkward. But I imagined this must be like what the contestants feel like on The Biggest Loser - the whole word is watching! So I pressed on through, despite the audience.
On Saturday my two girls decided to join me for the workout though! They stood on either side of me and stretched and jumped and squatted right along with me. They felt the burn and echoed me when I said "Here We Go!". Ultimately they both dropped out before the workout was over (not me though!) but as I continued to work out, I started to think about the old cliche:
Do as I say, NOT as I do
Though I've never really said that phrase to my kids (probably because I am so against it in theory), I have certainly thought it from time to time. Like in the past when the kids would see me buy king-size candy at the store for myself...and then would witness me devour the whole thing...even though earlier we had discussed the ill-effects of eating junk food.
Or how about when my kids find me sleeping in the recliner downstairs, still in my clothes, because I stayed up too late...even though I countered their request to stay up later the night before with the argument about how valuable sleep is to their body.
Or when we have four two-liters of pop in the house, but won't let the kids drink any because it is nutritionally devoid of anything good, but yet we will pour ourselves glass after glass.
And the list goes on.
There have been many times I have made choices right in front of my kids that I would not want them to make for themselves. The old "Do as I say, not as I do".
But I don't want to live in such a way where that is my message - whether directly or indirectly communicated. Instead I want the message I give to my kids - verbally and with how I live - one that says "Do as I say AND as I do!"
When my kiddos watch me workout, they see a mom that values herself, her health, her family and her body enough to give it the attention it needs. They see the value in moving our body and being active and strong.
When my kiddos see me make homemade bread and other natural foods, they learn that 'eating clean' actually tastes good and is good for you.
When my kiddos see that their dad and I take to heart their desire to see their parents healthy and "un-chubby" (as our little redhead calls it...), they see the value they and their desires have in our lives.
I DON'T want my kids to grow up to think that sneaking food in the car and devouring it as fast as possible is okay.
I DON'T want my kids to grow up to think that they need to get a snack every time they go to the store or on another outing.
I DON'T want my kids to grow up thinking that regular exercise is a nuisance and something that isn't very important.
I DON'T want my kids to grow up afraid to try healthy food, fruit, veggies, whole grains, etc.
So how do I teach them about real health? I can do some of that through actual education (ie - reading books, etc.) but the BIGGEST and most powerful lessons will come from them observing my life and how I do things. What do I want the message to be that I'm passing on to my kids about the value of our health? So far that message has been incredibly convoluted and wrong...but that message is starting to change for the better...
Two days ago, during a very tasty lunch, I looked across the table at Laura. She had just put her sandwich (which was about 1/2 way eaten) back on her plate. "You all done?" I questioned? She said "No, I just realized I was eating very fast and I wanted to take a break to see if my stomach needed to tell my brain I was full."
VICTORY! Those good messages are already sinking in!
How about you? Which way you gonna live your life in front of your kids? Do as I say, NOT as I do OR Do as I say AND as I do? I bet I know what you are gonna say. Me too.
PS - Weigh in day tomorrow! I'm a bit nervous. Had a couple more meatballs and fresh whole grain bread than I really needed at the Vikings party today...
PPS - Does having my heart rate extremely elevated for nearly 3 hours of an extremely tense football game that I was watching still count as a workout?