Today, I took my daughter out for a walk. We walked just over three miles and though I had to bribe her with a new magazine, she didn't complain and kept pace the whole time. We even broke into a jog three times. It didn't burn as many calories as my Jillian Michaels DVD, but it was totally worth it. I've mentioned before that my kids are like chalk and cheese. Josh is crazy about sports, always active and he loves it. Verity generally doesn't like sports, she would happily sit and watch TV all day and not be active at all - plus she loves food. All of this put together means that I have an overweight child.
Verity has always had a bit of a tummy since she was quite young, but in the last couple of years the "little tummy" has expanded. In addition to not being very active, she does overeat and this is something that I really struggle with trying to control. She's 10 years old now and much more independent. She will regularly go into the kitchen and help herself to food. It's got to the point now where I don't buy anything that she can snack on. However, she will still find something - a piece of bread, a piece of fruit, yogurt, etc.
I guess because I feel like now I've got control over my own overeating and my own lack of doing any physical activity that my next priority should be to make sure my kids are as healthy as possible. I know how it feels to be overweight and to just have no energy. Verity is 10 years old and should have bags of energy - yet today when we went on our walk she was struggling to keep pace. She should be running circles around me, but instead I was holding her hand in order for her to keep up with me (and I wasn't going particularly fast).
Although I was never overweight, I was teased and bullied as a child (and a teenager!). We moved to a small town when I was 9 years old and I just never fit in - I guess everyone's way of dealing with me was to tease me. My nickname in high school was "the freak". It hurts a lot being different and there were times when I was in high school when I thought about taking my own life. I don't want my kids to go through anything even remotely similar. We are blessed in that our kids go to a private Christian school with small class sizes and thankfully Verity hasn't yet been teased about her weight. But I'm very aware that as the kids get older and start to go through puberty that things could change. Not only that, but Verity will be more aware of how she looks and I want her to be a confident young lady!
So - this is my mission. Having discovered for myself how to lose weight and get fit, I'm now focusing my attention on my daughter. This explains one of my autumn goals - making breakfast for my kids everyday. I want to teach her healthy habits - breakfast is not a time to have a big bowl of cereal, then a piece of bread, then a pot of yogurt - it's about having a wholesome, healthy start to the day in a right portion size. In addition to a healthy breakfast, I'm stopping the needless snacking. This one is going to take some discipline (and hearing like a bat! sometimes she will sneak into the kitchen and eat something while she's in there - I can hear rattling of packaging, so I know she's eating something!).
I also want her to find an activity that she enjoys. At her age, she needs to have fun - heck we all need to have fun with whatever exercise we do! I don't want to force her to do an activity that she doesn't enjoy - but she must get some regular exercise. And this is where some good family time can come into it - if we find an exercise that we can all do as a family.
This is going to be a learning curve. It's one thing getting yourself motivated to lose weight - but it's a whole different story motivating a child. I haven't shared this before because I've been working through in my own mind about how I can tackle it. I would be really grateful if anyone reading this has any constructive suggestions on how to help. I love my kids so much and want them to be happy, healthy people.