For a healthier family – motivation is the key!
My kids went to their grandparent’s house for one night and wow, did my eating take a tumble. Being a good role model is my driving motivation for healthy eating and with the kids away it was my chance to splurge!
I believe strongly in healthy eating, so strongly that I studied dietetics at University.
I want the immediate benefits of feeling well and having energy to work and play with my kids. The future benefits are also important to me. I want to live a long, healthy life, watch my kids (and grandkids) grow and so I reduce my risk of lifestyle diseases by eating well.
Everyone wants all of these things, who wouldn’t? But often these things aren’t enough to make us change and most importantly, to stay on the healthy eating path. What is really, really important to you?
People know which is healthier; a carrot or a piece of chocolate? An apple or a glass of wine? Cooking dinneror grabbing fish and chips?
But while we know what we should choose, what is it that helps you choose the healthier option 80% of the time? What makes you make that choice?
For me it is raising healthy kids. Pre-kids it was fitness and looking good in a bikini (shallow maybe, but I now embrace my post-baby figure and don’t focus on weight,I want my daughter to focus on healthy eating not body image).
What does health mean to you? Why would you choose the healthier option? Why would you choose to cook, when you can get take away?
I can’t tell you. It’s different for everyone. For my brother it’s about his running. For my mother-in-law it’s about reducing her blood pressure. For many people, like me, your motivation changes over time. Weddings, pregnancies, health scares are often motivators, chances to re-look at your life.
Help your kids find their motivation. It will be very different to yours and tends to be much more about short-term gratification. Use it to motivate them to try new foods or eat more colourful fruits and vegetables. Do they want to run faster or jump higher? Improve their art and drawing, soccer or basketball skills, become a better reader or speller? Teach them “Green veggies help you jump really high” and “Red veggies will give you strong muscles for swimming and soccer”. Give the word“healthy” a practical and tangible meaning for yourself and your kids.
Because I am passionate about raising healthy kids, I stick to my guns. I sit and eat at the table with my kids, I go to the effort of cooking (and cleaning up, sigh) each night, I freeze food so I’m always prepared. Some days I think I can’t be bothered, but my motivation is strong – it keeps me going. In fact, my husband would prefer if it was not quite as strong. He complains that I say we’ll get take-away but rarely do (unless the kids are with the grandparents, oops! Lucky it’s a rarity).
My motivation is strong, it gets me through when my kids refuse to eat. Helps me stay calm when they turn their noses down at a meal because I’m thinking about the bigger picture. I want them to become healthy eaters.
So if you have set a realistic food goal this New Year (eating more veggies is a great one) now think about your motivation. What is going to drive the change andsustain the change. If you use “fitting into a wedding dress” as motivation then you’ll need a new motivatoronce the wedding is over.
My kids going away made me realize just how important motivation is. Geez…I’d best find another powerful motivator before they leave home.
What motivates you? Please share, you may help inspire others.