Influencing Our Future Generations*

Thursday, 21 April 2016, By Jeremy Langlois

We all have parents we admired as children and continue to look up to beyond those childhood years. Maybe you have children yourself and have noticed how much they admire and imitate you in an attempt to be like you. For someone to copy their parents is a natural human instinct; it's something that we're naturally inclined to do to grow and mature. This means that habits are formed from a young age and stay with us throughout life as a result of naturally attempting to be like your mother and father.

In terms of food and exercise, think back to the strong habits that you would have formed as a child, because of the actions of your biggest influencers. Reflect on these habits and be honest with yourself: how many food and exercise habits are good and how many are bad? Now think of the actions that you take around your own children with what you eat and how you exercise; are these responsible influences that you are imprinting upon the people that will one day grow up to behave similarly to you?

As aforementioned, habits are formed from an early age and stick with you a lifetime, so it is important to be mindful of the example that you set for the sake of not only your children's future but our society's future as a whole. Obesity is rapidly increasingly, therefore, we all need to make sure that we are each doing our own individual part and properly educating the future generations to be fitter and healthier instead of waiting for other people to take action on it and somehow coming up with a 'magic cure for obesity'. There is only so much your child's school setting or the country's government plans can do to combat this obesity epidemic; the majority of your child's education will come from your home setting.

So what steps can you take today to help form your child's future habits? The habits your child forms will be most closely related to the habits that you instil in yourself, so a gradual increase in good habits will mean that your child will pick up those positive traits over time, just as you do. Pick one bad habit and focus on decreasing the frequency of this habit, and keep aiming to reduce its effect each week until you believe you're leaving the best impression for your children. A few examples could include 2 glasses of wine instead of 5; 2 pieces of chocolate instead 4; 2 runs instead of 1. Perhaps you could ask your children to help you in the kitchen when preparing meals, to educate them on how to cook healthy nutritious meals. Remember that if they see you preparing and consuming healthy foods, they will naturally be influenced to do the same. Gradually, your bad habits will disappear from your lifestyle and you will be leaving the best impression on your future generation.

Be mindful of how much your children admire you and imitate your actions and keep them in the front of your mind when making your food and exercise choices, to be sure of setting a great example. Remember that habits are formed from the childhood years and they last a lifetime, there is no 'magic cure for obesity' and the ball is in your court to take action now! Bon appetit, mums and dads!

By Jeremy Langlois

Vision Personal Training Hamilton

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