It’s January! Resolutions are in full force, and you’re likely helping your kids with a few of theirs. If they’re concerned about their weight and looking to you for help, you’re in the right place. After all, there are good and bad ways to get in shape. So, in honor of Healthy Weight Week, we’ve got five tips the whole family can adopt today to ensure their efforts pay off – the healthy way.
Make friends with the scale. There’s a wide chasm of opinion between those who support using a scale, and those who do not. Many physicians say it’s a smart way to monitor the effect our eating habits have on our weight, while weight loss consultants and those who study body image would rather you toss it in the trash, or use it for anaerobic exercise. The answer seems to lie in the middle.
There’s a quote famously attributed to business management sage, Peter Drucker about measurement. Perhaps you’ve heard it? It’s usually some version of this: “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” It makes sense, right? Keep track of your weight each day, and you’ll get a feeling for whether that pizza you ate this week was a choice your body deals with with … or, not. The trouble is, the maxim is inaccurate – Drucker never said it. Drucker’s actual directive to businesses was to find the middle ground between measurement and communication. It’s a wonderful approach to dealing with the scale in your bathroom as well.
So, here's the approach: use it. But make sure your kids understand it shouldn't rule their lives. Talk back to it, even! Teach your kids by example the scale is there to help measure where one has come from, and where one is headed -- not as a measure of who they are as individuals. They are not the number on the scale.
Don’t neglect your muscles. A healthy weight is best maintained when the muscles that support our body are strong. So, any sort of training that helps your children tone their muscles should be considered a plus.
Recognize achievements now. The difficulty maintaining a healthy weight often has to do with improper goal setting. Long-term goals (like retirement, for example) are difficult for humans to keep in focus beyond a short period of time. Failure, then is almost predictable.
However, by creating goals which allow us to focus on the immediate successes we achieve through a healthy living plan, we allow ourselves to be present in our own lives. The same is true for your kids. It’s impossible to discount the feeling you get when you’ve got a bag of groceries in each arm, and are aware of your muscles working to carry them; or when you feel yourself more deftly move in and out of your car after a particularly good week of healthy eating. These are real, immediate, AND measureable experiences. Experiences, that when added up and remembered each day, are the key to keeping your body healthy. Share this thought process with your kids. What are their everday early wins?
Know your brain. Your brain lies to you. Yes, it does. It tells you you’re hungry when you’re tired. And, it tells you you’re tired, when you’ve still got an extra mile in you. Don’t allow it to trick you. Learn more about your brain, and how to corral it’s tomfoolery on the FitWoman website. Which, by the way, has a lot of actionable healthy weight resources!
Asian soup bowls to the rescue! Speaking of our brains, how about we play a trick on it instead? It’s no surprise, that the larger the plate, the more we put on it. And the more we put on the plate, the more we eat. So, here’s a trick you can take to the bank. Pick up a few Asian soup bowls … not the giant ones used for the Vietnamese soup known as Pho, but more the Japanese miso soup variety … the small ones. If you struggle with portion control, try using these smaller bowls during mealtimes. It’ll slow you down, and allow your brain to start seeing them as the preferred portion size. It’ll help you manage servings more appropriately, and over time, you’ll get used to the new way of eating. Mangia, Mangia!