Becoming a Fit Family

I originally wrote this post for Rox Star Fitness. Hope you enjoy!

Is there just one person in the family that dedicates a lot of time to working out and dieting? It’s important to emphasize health and fitness all year round with all members of the family, not just one or the one that “needs to the most help.” You want to be a fit family, not just a solo fit member of an unhealthy family. Here are some tips on how to get everyone in shape so you all appreciate being a FIT FAMILY

Make every minute count:

A 15 minute walk around the block while dinner is warming up/getting ready (especially now in the summer time when there’s no homework) is a good way to get some quick work in. It’s something everyone can do and it doesn’t take a whole lot of time so there will be minimal complaining.

– Limit electronic device time and increase “hands-free” time. When it’s time to sit down as a family, the phones get turned off. Spend that time doing something active or at least talking and nix the texting for awhile. It’s amazing what you can get accomplished when there isn’t a computer or a tablet or a phone nearby.

– I know many families who belong to their local rec center. Although you may go there together as a family, many branch off and do their own thing which works really well. Mom goes to the gym, Dad plays basketball, the kids are swimming. This way you all get to do what you want at the same time.

Get them involved:

– Take progress pics – as a family. This could be as simple as your standard family photo done every year but you could take iPhone photo’s every month. This is a good lesson to the young teens (especially young girls) that the scale is not a good indicator of progress. Although they might be so little and young that they won’t see immediate changes, it could be a cool experiment to see how different they change every few months.

– When trying new recipes, have the family give their feedback and mark it down as something you would make again if everyone loved it. If it got more thumbs down than thumbs up, toss that one out or adjust some flavoring and to prepare it so all palates will be pleased.

– I’m a huge fan of bringing your kids with you to the grocery store. Of course, some kids like to just run up and down the aisles asking for everything they see on TV. But if they’re a little older, they might want to help out and tell you what THEY like to eat. Who knows, they might surprise you by saying they like to eat their veggies. If you’re concerned they’ll just beg for you to buy them the junk, adhere to the basic “perimeter only” rule, and you won’t even tempt them by walking down those aisles.

– Read the labels/ingredients together if you do get something that comes in a box so they can learn what you’re looking for and WHY you won’t be buying them certain snacks. “If we can’t pronounce it, we don’t buy it.” Or “See this has food coloring in it, we don’t want to eat that!”

Extra Curricular Activity:

– When one child has a game or somewhere to be, try not to SIT and watch but find some place to stand and watch or walk around if you can. Sometimes this isn’t possible but it helps if you already have a sedentary job, to put a limit on sitting the rest of the day.

– In addition, when you’re sitting, you’re more prone to EAT and snack in between meals, sometimes on things that aren’t so good for you. And if kids see this behavior, they might copy it. So set a good example for them!

Be on the same page:

Many people fail at diets and staying or maintaining their weight that they’ve worked so hard to lose once they feel they can just “go back to normal.” Your spouse or kids might be influencing this behavior as well, indirectly. They might say, “You’re at your goal so just relax and eat (insert favorite snack here).” But that might be a trigger for you. And chances are, no, you can’t just go back to normal because normal may have been sugar loaded, fat laden, carb heavy foods that made you unhealthy to begin with. Make sure everyone is on board with staying healthy because if just one family member isn’t all about it, it can derail you right off the health boat and before you know it, you’re back to square one again.

– Have healthy snacks prepared for the kids (and yes even the spouse) to take with them to school/work. Explain WHY it’s a healthy snack (it has fiber, it has little sugar, it’s a good source of protein, etc) so they know why this snack was chosen as opposed to something else.

– Carve out time to play and have fun, as a family. Pick one time once a day (or even once a week if it’s just too busy) to say “This is a time when we ALL have to do something active.” Call it Family Time, or Fun Time, or something. Make it an appointment you would never miss and put it in the calendar. Choose something you all would like to do – play a game outdoors or indoors, do some yardwork, get in the pool, go to the park, anything. As long as you’re doing it as a family, it’s a great time to bond as well as stay healthy.

These might seem simple and easy tips but believe it or not, families that stay in shape are rare these days. Everyone is busy with their own schedules and plans so sometimes it’s hard to be together often enough to develop this habit. Try it out, stick with it, be consistent and track your progress of your new FIT FAMILY!

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