I remember the year healthy living entered my awareness. My junior year of high school, I found a lost pair of jeans and could not figure out how they shrunk while missing. I also noticed mysterious pink lines on my thighs.
I experienced an adolescent triple threat: I stopped growing, I no longer had to take gym class at school, and with my new independent mobility in the form of a driver’s license, my eating habits now included frequent stops for candy and fast food. My clothes were tighter and those gross marks were–you guessed it–evidence of my stretching skin. Up until that point, I didn’t think much about eating two Oatmeal Cream Pies back-to-back or visiting Taco Bell at 9 pm to scarf down a chili-cheese burrito. Something had to change or I was headed for the “freshman fifteen” before I graduated from high school.
I tried a few strategies: only low-fat or fat-free food (including gobs of candy corn because “it’s fat-free!”), limiting my school lunch to a roll, and a steady diet of Diet Dew and pretzels. I made good choices at seventeen.
I eventually found my healthy happy place. I started walking every day with a friend. I tried to limit junk food and make wise choices when I ate out with friends. I stopped the weight gain. My freshman year of college, I lost the fifteen pounds many students gain. I exercised regularly, walked everywhere, and very rarely ate out (thanks, in part, to my very tight budget).
I don’t want my kids to flounder around when the triple threat hits them in the tushie–literally. Parents can teach kids the habits for a lifetime of healthy living. We will get some eye rolls and protests, but hopefully, our kids will avoid some of my misinformed mistakes.
Continue reading 4 Ways to Help Your Kids Develop a Healthy Lifestyle at FollowHisFootprints.org.