Setting The Right Example

Last January I made a New Year’s resolution to start living healthier. Between working at home and having two kids it felt like I had lost any control over what I was eating on the go and had made no attempt at adding exercise into my daily routine (except for walking to and from school and other required daily activities). So I decided at the beginning of the year I was going to set a goal and go for it. I looked at what the BMI chart said my “ideal” weight should be and, added 20 pounds (I never go by what BMI says I should weigh) and came up with what I felt was a healthy goal weight.

I would be lying if I didn’t admit that part of my reasoning, as much as I preach women NOT to feel this way, was to lose the baby weight I’d been carrying for the last six years. I fall prey to the society I grew up in sometimes too. But even more than that, I wanted to gain some control. Sometimes in life we don’t have a lot of control over what’s happening around us, but eating healthier and taking charge of how we take care of ourselves is one way that we can grab some control in our world.

So what does this have to do with SheHeroes exactly? Well, throughout this healthy living odyssey I’ve had to choose VERY carefully how I explain my daily fitness routine to my daughter. I do not want her to grow up carrying around an idea that being thin is ideal. Or being beautiful is ideal. Or that what you look like on the outside means anything, really.

But I DO want her to care about herself. I want her to make wise choices and be strong, active and healthy.

So when she asks WHY I’m exercising I tell her that it’s because grown ups, as they get older, need to keep their hearts and bodies healthy. Adults need to exercise their bones and muscles so they stay strong so that they can swim and ride bikes and hike with their kids.

When she catches me reading food labels or only having one-piece of candy and asks why, I tell her that it’s because too much sugar is bad for everybody and that candy is only supposed to be eaten one at a time. When we’re sharing a bowel of strawberries I tell her all the vitamins and magic things that fruit can do for your body. Fruits can give her more energy to run faster, jump higher, read easier and of course help her get all the way across the monkey bars.

I never tell her that I’m losing weight. I never say I want to be thin. And I never use the word “diet” in our house. We eat right, we DON’T diet. And I try to remember whenever someone brings it up in front of her to switch the topic to healthy living versus losing weight or “dieting”.

How do you find balance between exercising and getting healthy without accidentally influencing your SheHero in an unhealthy way?

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