KEEP IT IN THE FAMILY
GETTING THE WHOLE CLAN INTERESTED IN EXERCISE AND HEALTHY EATING COULD BE THE KEY TO STAYING ON TRACK
When it comes to healthy eating and exercise, one of the secrets to success is having the whole family onboard. If you’re not a star pupil in the area of selfmotivation then simple hurdles such as the cookie jar, your partner’s lack of interest in fruit and vegetables or a lack of time to (apparently) fit in a workout can undermine your efforts.
That’s why it’s in your best interest to have everyone in the family working towards better health with the same goals and attitude.
1. Choose sports everyone in the family loves.
Is it a water sport, a ball game, cycling, running or even abseiling?
2. Get it done early.
As the day creeps on so do missed opportunities to find time to exercise. Tagteam alternate mornings with your partner so you can exercise and model a positive attitude towards fitness to your kids.
3. Change your family favourite meals into healthier versions.
You know the ones I mean … choose unprocessed foods, bulk up meals with vegetables, cut out the sugar and salt — there are heaps of superb ideas out there.
4. Don’t go cold turkey, make small modifications.
You’ll only find yourself frustrated and unmotivated if you set the bar too high; choose doable goals that you can break down into achievable weekly goals. Start with things like drinking more water instead of soft drink or juice, having one meat-free meal a week or choosing wholemeal bread instead of white. 5. Don’t think too much … you will talk yourself out of it.
There are no bad consequences to healthier living, just you and the magic you create. Don’t make it a chore or over-think it — just do it.
6. Consistently encourage each other and be interested in health and fitness in general.
Encourage each other with words and actions to make it a choose or lose situation. Emphasise that you are all in this together and that this is the way your family lives now. It won’t take long for everyone to become used to the changes you make.
7. Find healthy snacks for work or school that you can make together.
Put together a scrapbook of healthy recipes. Make snacks in bulk and package them up in portion sizes so you are not tempted to overindulge. Ensure that healthy snacks are an integral part of your family’s overall daily nutrition — not an add-on that doesn’t support your quest for good health.
8. Make a pact: drink water during the week and juice and fizzy drinks are a weekend-only treat.
Treat yourself on the weekend for doing such a great job during the week, if this is something that you feel is a rewarding goal. Keep water cool in the fridge in 500ml bottles that are labelled with each family member’s name. This way it’s an easy choice to grab and everyone can keep track of how much they are drinking.
9. Cut back on daily dessert and swap to a healthier fruit option.
Instead of saying “I won’t get to eat dessert every night any more”, focus on the positive and say something like, “I choose fruit if I am still hungry”. Sometimes focusing on what you can’t have means you miss out on the joy of what you can have.
10. Be aware of the family’s takeaway habits.
I’m talking about work lunches, school tuckshop and quick-fix dinners. Being organised with a healthy meal plan can minimise a large amount of hidden fats and sugars found in takeaways and processed foods. Make sure you plan your meals each week and stick to it. Allow time to change. Quite often you’ll find you’re trying to modify habits that your family has had for years, so be patient. If you consistently make small changes towards your long-term goal, you will eventually see results. Good luck!
KARLA GILBERT Champion ironwoman and ocean athlete Karla Gilbert is an accredited Nutrition and Health Coach and certified Level III and IV Fitness Trainer, with certificates in Child Nutrition and Nutrition. READ MORE AT karlagilbert.com.au