It happens to the best of us. The kids get out of school and our exercise routines and healthy eating habits get thrown to the waste side. Evening trips to the ice cream shop, hours of sitting in a beach chair, long car rides where only fast food is available: all of these factors may have added a few extra pounds to you and your kids over the course of the summer. Now with the start of the school season how can you get yourself and your kids back on a good eating and exercise routine? The following 4 steps will help you lose those unwanted summer pounds and develop a good routine for the whole school year.
Pack your lunch. Not just your child's lunch, but your lunch as well. Make meal preparation an activity that you do along with your kids. Include them in the process from start to finish. First start by making a grocery list of all the foods you will need for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the week. Remember that kids are more likely to eat healthy foods if they have chosen them themselves. Next, food shop together. And last, make lunches at the same time that you make dinner in the evening. Not only will your children enjoy the foods that they have prepared themselves but they will also learn the value of taking time to prepare healthy foods. Yes, we are all limited by time these days. But children who learn that healthy food takes time to prepare become teenagers and adults that will take the time to choose and prepare healthy foods. Children who eat on the run usually turn into teenagers who eat fast foods on the run who then turn into adults who eat fast food. This starts them on a downward spiral that will only lead to obesity and heart disease.
Schedule your exercise. Schedule your exercise routine around your child's school schedule and/or activity schedule. For example, wear your gym clothes to drop your kids off at school and go directly to the gym. Not only will you be setting a great example for your children, you will be less likely to skip your workout if you are dressed and ready to go. You can also schedule your exercise time around your child's sports or activity schedule. If you know your child has dance on certain days, at certain times, schedule your exercise during that time as well. If you prioritize your own exercise time this way, you will be showing your child how valuable exercise is and how it is an integral part of your day. Children who see you value and prioritize exercise time become adults who value and prioritize exercise time.
Make sure your back pack is packed the night before. Again, this does not only go for your child but it goes for you as well. What do you need to have set up at night to make the next morning run smoothly and free of chaos? When I was a little girl my mom would help us each night set up our clothes and backpacks the night before. Every night I would have to think about the next day's activities and plan accordingly. Did I have dancing school after school? Was it gym day? Was I going to a friend's for a play date? Now, as an adult, the questions are a bit different but still require planning and packing the night before. Am I going to the gym first thing in the morning? Do I need to pack my clothes for an after work workout? Am I meeting a friend for a run? Do I have some healthy snacks with me? This simple step each night still helps me, to this day, make each morning run smoothly.
Get a tutor or outside help. If your child was doing poorly in math, you would not just let him throw in the towel and drop math class. Same goes for your workouts and eating regimen. If you find that you're struggling with your current plan, find yourself some outside support just as you would find your child a tutor or supplementary tutoring class. Join an exercise class at the gym, hire a trainer for a few sessions, consult with a nutritionist, find an exercise/nutrition support group. When one avenue doesn't work, try a new strategy. You would never let your child just drop out of school if one method of learning wasn't working. Same goes for your exercise and nutrition plan. No one plan works for everyone, so explore all your options and choose the best plan for you.
Remember that health should always be your highest priority. Teaching your child that health is just as important to their future as school will get them started on a life long path to healthy living.
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