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Why are these simple health tips so hard to do for us parents?

Disclaimer: I’m NOT a doctor. I don’t even play one on TV. The advice in this post should not replace that of your physician. I was also about to say, “this is not a sponsored post and is not promoting anything”, but that’s not really true. It is a sponsored post… my 3 year old daughter is sponsoring it, and she wants you to read it. She did say, “please.”

My daughter wants her daddy to be healthy and to stick around for a good long time. And if you asked her, she’s so sweet she’d tell you that she wants YOU to be healthy and stick around for a good long time for your kids, too. And by “stick around”, she doesn’t just mean alive, she means vital, strong and able to keep up with her for decades to come.

A family exercising together
Where do your kids learn health habits?

By now the discerning amongst you have figured out this is one of my preachy blogs. If you’ve read some of the others, e.g. about how to be a better dad, and such, then you know that I don’t post them because “I’m better than you.” I’m not. I post them to remind myself, even shame myself, into doing the things I need to do to be a better parent.

In this case one thing we ALL need to do to be better parents is to get and stay in good health. It doesn’t mean I need to have Brad Pitt’s abs, nor does it mean you need to have Angelina Jolie’s waist (yikes!), but it does mean we ensure we’ll be there for our kids (and our kids’ kids) when they need us. If you won’t do it for yourself, do it for them.

It’s a really short simple list:

  1. Exercise at least 3 days a week – You’re going to tell me you don’t have enough time, right? I hear you. And you can even justify it? You have too much work (whether at home or an away from home job or both), or all your time is spent on the kids, yada yada yada. That will be a big comfort to your family at your funeral. Schedule it. Make an appointment. And as some advertising campaign used to say, JUST DO IT.
  2. Eat a healthy diet – Geez, I sound like your mom don’t I? Well, there’s probably a good reason for that. I likely also sound much like you do when you talk to your kids. BUT they learn more from what you DO than what you SAY. Show them by example. Eat less processed foods (especially white bread & sugar) and more vegetables & fruit. It’s not rocket science. You KNOW what do do. Did I mention, JUST DO IT?
  3. Add an hour of sleep each night – Yeah, I know; as parents we don’t have enough time as it is? If we don’t have time to exercise how are we going to find time to get a good nights sleep? Answer: we have enough time! Turn off the phone; turn off the TV; turn off the computer (are you reading this when you should be sleeping?) and GO TO BED. I don’t want meet your sleep deprived butt on the highway. JUST DO IT.
  4. Drink more water – I’m always tweeting about coffee. I love it, and I’m not saying don’t drink it. BUT researchers who tracked overweight women found that those who replaced sweetened drinks with water lost an average of five more pounds than those who didn’t. I’m guessing that trick works for dads, too? I’ll get hate mail for this, but replace one of those pumpkin spice lattes with a glass of water. JUST DO IT.
  5. Drink less alcohol – If you drink at all, then drink just the recommended max of 1 drink for women or 2 for men a night. Yes, I know it’s not fair guys can have more. And don’t just buy bigger glasses. I’m giving it up all together. I can get the health benefits other ways, and subtract those empty calories from my diet. I’ll save money, lose weight and be healthier. If you think you drink too much, cut down or quit. JUST DO IT.
  6. Get support in person or online – I’m writing this blog as a sort of commitment to YOU that I’m going to work on cleaning up my act. I’d love you to leave a comment and say you’re with me. There are also free (you don’t have to spend money on this) online resources like sparkpeople.com. Exercise with a friend. Get a personal trainer. The support will help you stick to it and make it more fun, so you JUST DO IT.

Okay, I’m stepping off my soapbox. Everything I’ve said are things you already know, but are you doing them… consistently? Our kids need us. Not just today, but in the future. And we’re no good to them if we are weak, feeble or otherwise unable to be there for them. So join me; I’m committing to turn over a new leaf… hell, I’m turning over the whole tree. Tell me: will you JUST DO IT with me? Please.

[important]Please comment & share this with others. Sure it’s stuff we all “know”, but sometimes a reminder is helpful. That’s why I wrote this; to remind myself! :)[/important]

27 comments

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  1. Health Tips

    Health tips such as sleeping at least 6-8 hours, engaging in exercise daily, eating a healthy diet, and avoiding unhealthy lifestyle should be followed by parents to achieve good health. Thus, improve relationship with their children.

    1. Michael Schmid

      Makes sense to me. :)

  2. Alex | Perfecting Dad

    I would also add that you can get a whole lot of health benefits by playing with your kids. Hard to smoke and drink and stuff your face and slob out on the couch when you’re hangin’ upside down on the monkey bars at the park trying to beat your son in a back flip contest.

    1. Michael Schmid

      I love that, Alex. You are SO right! I love playing with my little girl. If she sees me on the computers she always pulls me away to do some sort of crazy running dance or other aerobic activity. 😉

    2. Nyeasia Pippin

      I remember when I was a kid we had contests! Now that I have kids of my own, I’m always trying to beat them at playing their games that they know….a lot different from when I was a kid! Monkey bars….love it!

      1. Michael Schmid

        I love what you and Alex are sharing. If we engage in more physical activity with our kids, not only will they LOVE that time with us (I always remember those times with my dad), we will get more exercise and be healthier, and perhaps we’ll recapture some of the fun we forgot? :)

  3. Erica

    Hey, I definitely hear you! It’s indeed easy to get lost into this crazy life. As we make our kids a priority we forget or we don’t manage to take care of ourselves.

    But if we have the right attitude and take a small step at a time, I think we can do it. I would learn this from babies – one little hesitant step, and another one, and another one, until we are running :)
    Erica

    1. Michael Schmid

      One little hesitant step, and another one, and another one, until we are running…

      The thing to remember, per your other point, is that taking care of OURSELVES is actually taking care of our KIDS. We’re no good to them sick and tired… and we’re awful role models as well, if we don’t. Thanks.

  4. Alison

    Hi, Michael!

    “Everything I’ve said are things you already know, but are you doing them…” – I think you hit the nail right in the head there. Things are not complicated, but we just need to take action. Thanks, Alison

    1. Michael Schmid

      You got caught in the spam filter. Yes, consistent action (even if just baby steps) is the key?

  5. Erica

    Oh, forgot to mention I love the photo 😉
    Erica

    1. Michael Schmid

      Thanks. Wish I looked like that right now. 😉

  6. Michael

    Hey, Michael! So true…I have so many plans and so little time…but I guess that making excuses for not doing things will not get us very far. I is not easy, but we need to find ways to do things that are important for our health….

    Best,
    Michael

    1. Michael Schmid

      Hey, Michael. Great name, btw. Yeah, I’m struggling with this, too. Which is why I posted the blog. It’s not something we can really put off, and it’s selfish frankly to not be our best for our families. Thanks for dropping by!!!

  7. Tomek

    Hi, Michael! I would also make use of nutritional supplements to help cope with the various demands life places on us. For example liver detoxifiers, vitamins, energizing tea and so on could help a bit…
    Tomek

  8. The Purple Lady

    I want to join this support group. My problem right now is that I am weak. Certain family issues are breaking me down the past several months. I need a tweet or random FB post to remind me. Accountability will be the key for me to keep on top of this goal. So if you don’t mind…
    Not sure if you’re ready to get all uber healthy and stuff but, cutting back on your caffeine intake will help your heart a great deal 😉

    1. Michael Schmid

      You’re in! :) It’s especially rough during difficult times, so be gentle with yourself. We are all going to make mistakes and fall back on bad habits, but we can simply say “that’s done… I forgive myself… I’ll try to do better tomorrow” or whatever. Yes, I need to cut back on caffeine AND probably more important INCREASE my water intake. I’ll back you up if you back us all up. Together we can do this. Thanks so much for your comment! Hang in there. It’ll get better. It always does.

  9. Nyeasia Pippin

    I’m with you! Just the other day I was looking around in the kitchen for a snack and saw chips, cookies and I actually got disgusted with that. I wanted a salad, fruit, and water. My youngest is 3 and I started taking vitamins just to keep up with her. But if I put more healthy foods in my body and take out all of the fats, oils, and toxins, I would move a lot more better! I’m on board with you!!

    1. Michael Schmid

      Thanks so much for your support, Nyeasia! We can do it. And your point about what you “saw” in your kitchen is a great one. We need to get rid of the junk and stock up with the good stuff. Also, our kids learn their habits from us, so let’s do the best we can for them. I’m with you. Baby steps, right?

  10. Kathy

    You are right and you make the point so simply, if we want to be here for our children we have to take care of ourselves. I need to hear this all the time, thanks for a great reminder and I love that your 3 year old endorses it! Great to find your site!

    1. Michael Schmid

      Thank you, Kathy. I’m so happy you found our site and glad to meet you, too! Yes, sometimes we say we are doing things “for our kids” that really aren’t the best for them in the long run. They need us to invest the small amount of effort and time it take to stay healthy, because they need us. Plus we set the example for them, so it’s a double win. Have a super day!

  11. Sharon

    My mom died when she was 59 – I was an adult at the time but are we every ‘really’ an adult. She was still my mom and I miss her every day.

    I think your daughter is a very, very smart girl.

    I also wanted to add that I had lost my exercising mojo for quite some time. It wasn’t until I found speed skating that I got back into the flow of being healthy. So my advice is to find something that’s fun and that you love. You’re more likely to stick with it.

    1. Michael Schmid

      My advice is to find something that’s fun and that you love. You’re more likely to stick with it.

      ~Sharon the SpeedSkatingMom.com

      That is excellent advice, Sharon. Thank you. I’m so sorry to hear of the loss of your mom. I lost my dad about 7 years ago, and you’re right… it’s never easy. Do you do anything special diet wise besides the speed skating?

  12. Peggy Robertson

    “Everything I’ve said are things you already know, but are you doing them…” – I think you hit the nail right in the head there. I’m so sorry to hear of the loss of your mom. Thank you. That is excellent advice, Sharon.

    1. Michael Schmid

      Thank you, Peggy.

  13. Willa Sosa

    I lost my dad about 7 years ago, and you’re right… it’s never easy. You’re more likely to stick with it. I think your daughter is a very, very smart girl.

    1. Michael Schmid

      I’m sorry for your loss. She’s just 3, but I’m pretty sure she’s much smarter than her daddy. 😉

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