Friday night, Joycie my 2 year old daughter came running up to me with her arms flung high over her head. “Mama, Mama, I have ‘uscles….I strong.” I was not surprised by her declaration – she often accompanies me aerobics and often watchers her Daddy and I lift weights in our home gym. But it was a reminder that I am teaching my daughter what it means to be healthy – and I want to make sure that I get it right. I tweeted about the encounter, and even posed the question “What is the one healthy living lesson you wish you had learned earlier?” via Twitter. All weekend, I thought about the responses I read, and the things I want to teach Joycie. Over and over the four following things stuck out in my mind. So here they are…..
1. The scale measures how much you weigh not your WORTH!: I spent too many years in the cycle of jumping on the scale every morning hoping to see a smaller number than the day before. If I did I was ecstatic, if I didn’t I was felt defeated. Over time, I have come to learn that the scale only shows my weight – which is small picture of my overall health. The scale can not tell me the number of miles my legs have ran, the increase in the amount I can bench press, or how I am able to carry my daughter up and down a 27 foot waterslide without getting winded. I only weigh myself once a month – and only because my work related wellness program dictates such. I hope to teach Joycie that the scale is just a number – nothing more.
2. Foods should not be labeled as good or bad. Some just make you feel better than others: At the height of my eating disorder, I had an extensive list of foods that were either good or bad. I could tell you the calorie and fat counts of each item by memory. And for years afterwards, it was hard not to think of food in terms of good or bad. I have come to learn that I can eat anything that I want in moderation and still achieve my fitness goals. However, I also know that some foods live me feeling bad when I eat them, so I choose not to eat them. I want Joycie to see food as a means to fuel her body, and something to enjoy – not a burden to carry with her.
3. Muscles are beautiful!: Too many woman are scared of lifting weights for fear that they will “bulk up”. I used to be one of those – I was the self proclaimed cardio queen. But now I love to lift weights, and am not scared of developing a little muscle. After all those muscles give me the ability to carry my daughter as she gets older.
4. It’s all about balance: Too much of a good things is still too much of a good thing. I could spend hours upon hours at the gym, running or lifting weights. And I would probably be extremely fit. Yet, it would come at the expense of time with family and friends. In order to be truly healthy (in my opinion), you have to balance work, a social life, and a healthy lifestyle.
Things to talk about: Do you have a healthy living lesson you think I should teach my daughter? What one healthy living lesson do you wish you learned earlier in your journey?