One of the most common reasons our patients consider bariatric surgery is that they want to be around for their kids or grandkids. This is a great reason to get healthy and a noble goal for getting started on a weight loss program. However, a more profound and arguably even more important reason revolves around those same kids. Kids tend to mimic and follow the behaviors and habits that they see from their parents and grandparents.
So yes, while you may get to enjoy your kids more than you do now, you may also be saving them from severe metabolic disease later in life.
How Do You Become an Excellent Example for Your Kids or Grandkids?
The most important lessons you can offer your children or grandchildren revolve around their health. It is one of the few things that, once lost, can often never be regained. Yet, kids can learn that the foundations of good health – proper diet and exercise – can be enjoyable.
Cut out the soda. You and your little ones can benefit from eliminating soda from your life. This includes regular soda and diet soda – the latter is not much better despite being 0 cal. Sodas may taste good, but they’re full of sugar and offer no significant nutrition. You may think the diet soda is better, but the artificial sweetener stimulates the brain to crave more sugar, which can be just as detrimental as regular soda over the long term.
Drop dessert. Dessert should be a once in a long while luxury and not something you consume every day. If your kids believe they are entitled to dessert after every meal, they will continue that expectation into adolescence and adulthood. Of course, deserts can add hundreds if not thousands of calories to every meal and serve little to no nutritional purpose.
Start a fun exercise program. If you don’t have the energy to get on the basketball court or soccer pitch, you can even start with a lovely family walk in the evening. A regular walk not only shows your kids or grandkids that exercise is essential, but it’s a great time to bond with them, giving you all a quick physical and psychological boost.
Reduce your TV and game time. While it may be easier to tell your kids or grandkids that they can’t watch something or play on a device, it’s much harder to set the example and not do so yourself. What does it say to a child when you use electronics constantly, but you tell them that it’s not good for their brains? If you feel the urge to watch TV, try to do so when the kids are asleep or at school so that they don’t associate leisure time with watching TV or playing games.
Get cooking. Cooking is a fun and productive way to spend some time with children. Not only are you teaching them a valuable skill for later in life, but cooking your food is typically much healthier and more delicious than getting processed food in a box or a can. You’ll be whipping up easy and delicious recipes in no time and be giving your little guys and girls an excellent outlet for their creativity and extra energy now and in the future.
With adolescent obesity already epidemic proportions and still rising, it’s never been more important to lead from the front, offering our children a way to stay healthy from the earliest times in their lives. Remember to be patient. You’re working to change their lives, but yours too, so there will be setbacks. Cut yourself some slack and change your life step by step!