Thursday, October 7, 2010

Fall Family Challenge: H is for Healthy Habits, Happy Family

Well, this post couldn't have come at a better time. Yesterday I took my took feline babies to the vet for their annual check-up.

When my husband and I first adopted our cats from North Shore Animal League in July 2007, they were 8 weeks old, and my attitude was "a cat is a cat." I was looking forward to two cute little balls of fur romping around my house and visiting with me when I needed a friend. Little did I know how attached to them I would become. Long story short, in early 2009, our cat Genevieve started breathing really rapidly, so I rushed her to the animal hospital where I was told that it was "probably heart failure" and was immediately given the option to have her put down. Um. No. I was newly pregnant at the time and a ball of emotions. I threw a raging fit at the animal hospital, and with the patience of my husband was able to have them run some more tests on her. Several thousand dollars later, it turned out that she had chylothorax (liquid in her chest) and now she is fine with 3 pills a day. Because of her condition though we had to put her on a very special low fat diet, which Nessie (our other cat) also started eating.

Well turns out this very low fat diet is full of carbs, and Nessie just can't handle the carbs! Her latest weigh in was 17.2 lbs (an entire 5lbs heavier than her sister)... soooo now we're trying a new low fat diet that will hopefully benefit them both. It is the Purina OM Project Pet Slim Down. Fingers crossed! If anyone has any tips on how to make her more active it would be greatly appreciated! I can control her intake of food but I can't force her to exercise!

H is for Healthy Habits, Happy Family

Let me throw out a statistic. From the CDC:
Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years. The prevalence of obesity among children aged 6 to 11 years increased from 6.5% in 1980 to 19.6% in 2008. The prevalence of obesity among adolescents aged 12 to 19 years increased from 5.0% to 18.1%.1,2
And we all know that the problem doesn't just lie in our children. As adults, educators, and parents... we are the role models. Yes, most of us grew up with full fat butter in all of our food and food packed full of preservatives, but it's time for a change.

Healthy habits make for a happy family. I cannot say it enough!! I know a lot of parents who have the attitude that their preschooler or toddler is soooo picky that they'd rather they eat junk than eat nothing at all. "We'll start eating healthier next week." My husband and I are no exception to this. Lately, we haven't been to the gym at all. "Too busy." "Too tired." "No time." But the truth is that somehow we always find time to sit down and watch our favorite television shows at the end of the day. 

Bad mommy! I know I need to get my act together. I certainly don't look "obese," but my healthy weight is about 20 lbs less than what I am right now. Granted, I just had my daughter a year ago and it takes time, but what better time than the present.

To ensure healthy habits for the whole family, there are four main things that need to be of focus: eating healthy, exercising regularly, getting your vaccinations, and going to the doctor for wellness visits (which include you mom and dad!)

Walking

Did you know that If 1 in 10 American adults started a regular walking program, the nation would save $5.6 billion in heart disease costs each year. (National Governors Association. Healthy Aging and States: Making Wellness the Rule, Not the Exception. Washington, DC: NGA, 2007. Available at http://www.subnet.nga.org/ci/1-aging.html. Accessed September 20>, 2007.) Hmm... then maybe that money could go to cancer research!

The average adult should be walking about 10,000 steps a day. I encourage you to go on family walks. See new places, go exploring, take the dog, have family races! Don't know where to get started? Try this 20% Boost Program from PBS.

GO, SLOW & WHOA Foods

This is an easy way to teach your kids the basics of good eating before they are old enough to understand the benefits of a food pyramid. GO foods are good for you foods (green light!), SLOW foods are foods you should have in moderations (yellow light!) and WHOA foods are foods for special occasions and small portions (red light!). To learn more about the breakdown, please visit the National Heart, Lung & Blood Institution's Website here.

Lunch Time Choices

For many parents, the lack of nutrition starts when their children enter elementary school and start ordering hot lunch. When mom and dad aren't there to say no, your child starts calling all of the shots at school. Chocolate milk, pizza, cheesesticks. E.v.e.r.y.d.a.y.

Teach your child how to make healthy decisions at home. When lunch time rolls around, give them healthy options and let them choose. When school-time comes around, the best option is to send your child with a packed lunch full of healthy foods. Once they have the hang of the GO, SLOW, WHOA foods, try going over the school lunch menu with them at home, and ask them what meal choices they would make. Let your child eat at school a couple times a week. Your child with understand the special treat of ordering by him/herself and will be proud of the choices they are making.

Play Outside with Your Kids

Our kids certainly don't have as much freedom as we did as kids, and for good reason - unfortunately the world isn't as safe as it used to be. However, the answer is not to shelter our kids indoors. Make the time to play outside with your kids. Kick a ball around, play in the sandbox, or go for a bike ride. The time with you is really what they need.

Here is a real challenge for you. How often do you find yourself saying "go and play" ? Go play honey, go play while mommy cooks, go play while daddy is fixing this. Go play. Go play with your sister. For every time you say this to your child (which we all do, don't feel bad), make sure to set aside 15 minutes of time in which you can join in the play.

The Fall Family Challenge by Holly at Nap Time is designed to encourage families to do activities together and learn at the same time. There are no rules, no wrongs, no rights - just family fun!

3 comments:

  1. Great post! Following you back! Thanks for your sweet comment.

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  2. Great healthy tips. We try taking a walk every night after dinner, if the weather cooperates. It's great exercise and I love the family time!

    I wish I would have known about the Go, Slow, and Whoa foods when I taught. I would have loved sharing that with my students!

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  3. Hey Holly, wanted to let you know that I've awarded you some blog awards! Come check it out! : )
    http://chalkboardstostrollers.blogspot.com/2010/10/more-blog-awards.html

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