Once in a while my family and I watch the Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss show on TV. Without fail the person being coached is in the extreme category- they likely will never feature a person needing to just lose 20 lbs, by the nature of the show itself! When people are extremely obese, the threat of their weight to their health is much greater than the average individual. They almost always state that they want to be around for their kids or loved ones, because if they don’t do something about it, they’ll likely die young of obesity caused illness or disease.
But for the average individual watching or just going about their life, the extra pounds they carry are not likely a matter of life and death. Very few people diet down fifteen pounds to live longer- they do it to look better in a bathing suit, or to be able to run that 5K a few minutes faster than before.
A lot of talk and research is going into the field of life extension- that is, figuring out what we can do, eat, or take in order to live more than the average 70-80 years that seems ordained for us for many generations. What a concept it would be to have another 40 years to live on this earth- imagine all the other things you’d be able to do if you lived to be 115 on average… wait, what?!
We all know that children are impressionable and lack the wisdom to make educated choices in certain aspects of life. For example, most of us know that if we drink and party, our kids watch and learn. And as a teenager when presented with a similar situation, their behavior will emulate or even exaggerate what they saw us doing for the years before that very moment. And we know that they are not old and wise enough to handle these situations intelligently in most cases- heck, neither are most of us and we’re adults!
The truth is that this applies even to our eating and fitness lifestyles. Our children watch us eating and exercising and they are having one of two likely reactions to it:
Emulation- they like what they see and want the same for themselves.
Distancing – they don’t like what they see and are going to do something completely different when they have the chance to make their own choices.
In either case, you must be careful as there are dangers in children missing key points and principles in their desires to either emulate or distance themselves from your fitness lifestyle (or lack of it!). Here are a few examples of ways in which children can easily head down the wrong path:
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