By: Dr. Kim Feinstein, Psy.D., Clinical Psychologist and Weight Loss Specialist
In order for you to maintain your new healthy lifestyle, you have to help your family develop one as well. Below are 4 ways to develop a family fittitude so that you can be supported and share your new healthy lifestyle with your family too!
1. Explain "why" it is important
It’s important for your family to understand why you have embarked on this new journey. Besides losing weight and getting healthier, you want to explain why having a family fittitude is important. You can even ask them their “why.’ You may discuss the benefits, to include:
- Increased energy for work, play, and family
- Improved self-esteem and feeling better about yourself
- Learning to manage stress better
2. Be a role model
When it comes to food and physical activity, what you say and do around your children will have a lasting effect. While it’s never too late to start making healthy changes in your family, the earlier your kids learn healthy behaviors, the better. Experts recommend that most children get at least one hour of physical activity daily. You can help your children by just getting up and moving and show children how much fun being active can be. You can set a good example by going for a walk, going for a hike, or riding a bicycle instead of watching TV, playing video games, or surfing the internet. Start by limiting screen time to no more than two hours per day. This is a great way to spend time with your family while increasing physical activity.
With physical activity, try positive phrases like these to keep your family encouraged and excited:
- “You walk so fast; I can hardly keep up!”
- “You are building a strong, healthy heart and body!”
- “Let’s walk 5 minutes longer to make us stronger.”
3. Use your family's food & beverage choices as teaching moment
Don’t be afraid to speak up when you see your family making unhealthy choices. Politely suggest healthier options or say, “You can have a little of that, but not too much.” Explain to them about why an overly salty or sugary snack is not the healthiest choice. However, avoid making them feel guilty about their food or beverage choices. Instead, work on praising your family when they choose a healthy item like fruit.
You can make comments like these:
- Great choice!
- You’re giving your body what it needs with that snack!
- I like those, too.
4. Make it fun!
In order for your family to buy into the new family fittitude, it is important to make it fun! Encourage your family members to try new fruits and vegetables. Allow them to choose a new fruit or vegetable in the grocery store each week and figure out together how to cook or prepare it in a healthy way according to your RM meal plan.
If you need help developing a family fittitude, RM is here to help! We can help you identify problem areas in your family and then develop a plan for changing them.