Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Change Your Family Tree

I've been listening to Dave Ramsey on the radio for a couple of years, and one thing he always mentions is changing your family tree by getting debt free. When I hear that term 'change your family tree,' I can't help but think how it relates to health & fitness.

My thoughts always go to my own family. The other day my dad and I were talking about where I got this passion for fitness. It's funny, because when you look at our family, we're just like most people. Growing up there was really no one that exercises consistently. We were laughing because my passion for fitness seems to come out of nowhere.

Thinking about it a little more, I remember when I was really young my grandma loved to take walks. She and I would go for long walks in the evening and come back and get on the floor and stretch. I really enjoyed spending time with her, and it never seemed boring.

So, how can we change our family tree? How can we put a seed in our children's future so they live healthier lives and are an example and inspiration to others? It doesn't have to be a huge, instant change. Those don't usually last and you're likely to get some resistance. Making small changes in our daily lives -- and in our attitude, will make a bigger impact than we may ever know.

First and foremost important, be an example. 'Do as I say not as I do' isn't going to cut it here. Taking a few minutes every day to enjoy exercise will make a positive impact on how our family looks at being physically active. I tried for several years to convince my husband to exercise; finally, I gave up trying to convince him and just enjoyed my workouts. Guess what, that's when he started and now we workout together!

Second, do fun activities together. Don't be a family that sits on the couch every night. Find a family activity that you all enjoy. With the invention of the Wii, even video games are getting healthy these days! Whatever it is, find something your family can do together. You're not only making healthy choices, you're making memories! We've given some other ideas in our previous blogs about getting the family involved.

Another simple change: start stocking the cupboards with healthier food choices. My grandma was a great cook and always had good food in the house, including lots of fruits and vegetables. Instead of going super strict, find healthy foods you can start adding, like baby carrots to snack on or popcorn for a evening treat. Simple changes like this can make a difference as our children learn.

I know my grandma never dreamed her walks were creating a fitness professional in her young granddaughter! Even so, that little thing was a big impact in my life. In turn, I've devoted my life to not only changing my family tree, but inspiring others to do the same.

Remember, we're all role models for someone, even if we don't want to be. I urge you to be a healthy role model and change your family tree!