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How to Motivate Your Family to Become More Healthy

Posted by UFMC Pueblo in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Happy family holding hands

You were supposed to work hard all month in an attempt to change your lifestyle, trying to eat right and exercise on a regular basis.

But a few weeks into the New Year, that goal already seems to have failed. It’s easy to blame things like lack of willpower or general laziness (not to mention just how darn good cookies are), but maybe your relationship with food and exercise wasn’t the culprit.

While this post doesn’t intend to send families into marriage counseling, it’s worth considering that a lack of support from spouses, parents, children and other family members made it difficult to impossible to sustain your lifestyle change. That may have been one thing missing from your would-be transformation – you didn’t develop any strategies to motivate your family to be health-conscious as well.

The culture of a healthy family

You’ve spend all weekend planning out the yummy, healthy meals you’ll eat this week. But the family has no interest in eating what you’re eating, so you find yourself making two dinners every night – one for yourself, and another for them, theirs including all manner of salt, fats and sugars. Who can look at their low-calorie, healthy meal and not salivate when seeing that burger across the table?

It’s a near impossible situation, and eliminating that temptation will go a long way toward keeping your lifestyle transformation chugging along. Here are some helpful tips:

● Try new foods together: Even though your family isn’t too keen on changing their diets, it’s a safe bet that they enjoy food. While not everybody is an “adventurous eater” willing to try new things, everybody enjoys a fun twist on dinner. Try adopting the concept microbreweries use for beer “flights,” except make “flights” of healthy bites of new recipes. Dress it up, presenting each member of the family with a labelled plate showing the name of each food item. They try everything, and if they don’t like it, it’s all part of the experience. Before long, you’ll stumble across new staples for your family dinners.
● A family game of “Iron Chef”: The popular Food Network competition show, “The Iron Chef,” pits cooks against one another, each given a list of ingredients and asked to make a dish using all the ingredients. Take that idea, only using healthy ingredients, and give them the same rules to cook something. For kids, it’s a great opportunity to be introduced to healthy cooking while also learning about healthy options. Let’s be honest, what they come up with might not be edible, but the whole point is to make healthy food a fun experience.
● Pre- or post-dinner walks: Getting off the couch and trying to run a mile isn’t a fair expectation. But getting off the couch for a walk around the neighborhood before or after dinner? That’s an easier sell. Have the whole family take a stroll around the neighborhood for 30 minutes. It won’t take much convincing, not to mention that it’s a great way to talk with your family, and it has the added benefit of unplugging from technology.

Don’t expect too much

Are you going on a keto diet or a Paleo plan, and want your family to join you? Diving into Crossfit as your go-to exercise plan? Those might be tall orders, as such a restrictive diet or intense exercise routine isn’t for everybody. If you want your family all-in, pick a health and fitness plan together. It’s recommended that you speak to your doctor before starting a new diet, and maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have your family join you for that conversation.

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