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Establish good habits from birth . . . or live with the after-shock.

Monday, January 07, 2013

How did I establish my eating and exercise knowledge and habits?
I know I cast blame on commercials, the government, food manufacturers. But a lot of it was my home environment and I see applications in my life today from experiences I had growing up.

I had to eat my food on my plate, including the canned peas or asparagus, which I hated. Never saw a dark green leafy vegetable. Our fresh fruit was banana cut up on our cereal, either in the morning or for a bed time snack.

Application today: I've tried to overcome that hatred of vegetables ever since and I've tried to hook my mom, because she really didn't like those smushy canned vegetables either. I've hooked the both of us on steamed asparagus, fresh sugar snap peas right off my garden vines, and she can't believe they are so good!! I've continued to embrace and love many vegetables including roasted carrots. Absolutely delicious. And mom liked them, too, at Thanksgiving dinner.

When I was growing up, I was very active, a softball pitcher, rode my bike all over town, swimming, pogo stick, loved sports in high school, hula hoop champ, tether ball champ even after I broke my arm in a bike wreck. Course I hit the ball with my cast. One whack and my opponent couldn't touch it.

Application: Remembering how much fun I had keeps me searching for ways to get me up and moving now. I have come to learn how important a personal fitness program is. When I was growing up, no one talked about a personal fitness program. Besides the walking, I've started riding the recumbent bike, and swimming, and trying to hula hoop, and looking for other activities which I consider to be fun, like when I was a kid. I even got a mini trampoline for my birthday from my sister. That is lots of fun, and I can do it. She also gave me a Gold's Gym stepper. Now that one isn't as fun. Have to touch the wall to keep my balance. But it is very beneficial for my neuropathy. And I have enough other fun activities I can burst into when that one not-so-fun activity gets to be frustrating.

So there's that word. And another application.

If I tackle a change in my life that I perceive as too frustrating, or is truly too frustrating, I just don't do it anymore. So I set myself small tasks which will see quick results and ramp things up one notch at a time.

When I was in Junior College, I developed a problem with reading which I thought was eye strain, due to the huge amount of nightly reading. When I went out for golf, I couldn't get the ball in the hole. I finally went for an eye examination. I did need glasses for exophoria, where the eyes don't work together and nothing is where you think it is. I had flattened out my grandfather's brick patio and finally understood why I tripped over things there--it wasn't flat at all!! And targets, like the golf cup, were really a few inches to the right of where I thought. But the application here is that I still hate the idea of golf. Don't know if I could manage to get the ball in the cup and I DON'T care to find out. A shame really since I live in a golfing community.

As we got older, my sister and I took a trip around Tennessee and North Carolina. We stopped at a trail in the Smoky Mountains that led to a waterfall I wanted to see. I needed to go to the bathroom first, so I went in, but you needed change to get into a stall. I went back out to the car. My sister who had been driving, had gone on and taken the keys, leaving my purse and socks locked inside. A kind fellow traveler gave me a dime to get into a bathroom but I was left to walk to the waterfall with no socks. It was truly an easy hike as hikes go, and wouldn't have been a problem, except for not having socks on my feet. I'll stop the story here by saying it wasn't a pretty picture when I arrived at the falls. I haven't done much hiking or workout type walking since.

Some exercise-along-with videos I've watched on SP have obviously been designed for people in much better shape than I. I try to keep up with the trainer who is moving at 185 mph. I try to move my muscles that I know I used to have but that don't seem there any more, and I give up.

But I have pulled my self through all the cancer treatments by making myself walk my dog at least once a day. And when I was able, that became twice a day. And Jewels expects it now. I can't get away with giving up or saying it's too cold out there. She would like to give it up when it's raining though.

That has made me pause and wonder where the thing for not giving up comes from, because not giving up is truly part of my nature. I can't remember an experience, just my grandfather and dad telling me I could do anything with my life that I wanted to do. I do evaluate situations like those exercise videos which I know are truly impossible for me right now. And while I'm probably not going to try the 10 minute creative core work out EVER again, I will look for other similar videos that respect where my abs aren't right now.

So I'm encourage my mom to walk. When she was up for Christmas, she went with my sister and I to the River Walk and walked in the freezing cold. Very good for managing her diabetes. Her sugar is so much better managed now with what we have learned from Spark People. The day after that walk, she expected her sugar reading to require a pill because of the extra carbs from Christmas dinner. But no. 103. Woohoo!! Perhaps she will walk with me when I get back to Florida.

My point? Lifetime eating habits and exercise habits are easier learned than unlearned. It is VERY difficult to put changes in place after you have established horrible eating habits or couch potato habits. It is not impossible to change, but it is very easy to give up in the face of frustration, or fear of failure, or what I call the two-year-old stomping the foot syndrome.

Do you know that one? Where the two year old yells NO and has a tantrum?

So that's why I worry about everyone who is younger than me, especially about how they will ever change their eating habits, or exercise habits. I don't seem to be as worried about that because I see many people going to the Y with their kids, And kids certainly see lots of sports on the TV. None of that was going on when I was growing up.

But I think we're a couple of generations away from families who made their children eat their vegetables. Even if they were cooked to smush before being canned.

We stomp our feet and say, "But I don't like to drink water!"
And we think it's okay to let our kids drink all the sodas they want.
A better plan might be to just drink the water and teach the kids from the beginning how important water is first, with the other drinks being an infrequent snack?

We stomp our feet and say, "But I don't have time or energy to go to the store and buy the fresh fruits and vegetables and come home and cook a healthy meal and then clean up. So let's swing through the Drive-Thru."

And when our health or waistline suffers from the ravages of these bad habits, we look at the monumental task of learning how to fix it, and then actually trying to make those changes, and feel it's not worth it, or it's impossible and we give up before we start.

Wouldn't it be easier if we started our kids off on the best foot we knew of at the time?

Wouldn't it be easier if they saw everyone around them eating fruits and vegetables? that looked like fruits and vegetables? without all the additives?

Wouldn't it be easier if they saw everyone around them walking, jogging, biking, swimming, and enjoying it, having fun?

Edit in response to CT: Right. We didn't know better then either when I was growing up, Except they did say, Eat your vegetables. But the science wasn't there then to KNOW. As a teacher, we had workshops every couple of years when we learned what was new with nutrition that we were suppose to teach our classes. I started to think all the nutritionists were idiots because they threw out everything they had said at the last workshop. and so I never did much with the information for myself.

Now we do KNOW and I don't see any major changes happening anywhere.

I had high hopes for Michele O'Bamas "Plate" concept, but the new is dragged down by the old. Cafeteria meals at school continue to be processed carbs like pancakes on a stick with syrup for a side, or mac and cheese with no vegetables on the tray. I see no sign of a 1/2 veg, 1/4 proteiin, 1/4 starchy carb in our cafeteria meals.

We must do better establishing good habits early for a lifetime of health and happiness.

There are a few parents who are mean to the point of cruelty and abuse. But I think most parents are loving and want the best for their children.

I watched a show yesterday where a dad lost weight because he wanted to be around to see his boys graduate from college. But for me, the best reason for him to lose weight was when his kids saw him outside playing with them. That image will stick no matter what they do with their lives.
They might not make it to see him beaming with pride at their college graduation. But they will remember being active with dad no matter what they do with their lives.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I was so very lucky. In England we were taught NUTRITION in our Dining Hall. We had home cooked meals Like Mashed potato and meat and vegetables.
    No Pasta, No hot dogs or Hamburger we ate with Knife and fork from 4 years old and we loved it.
    We were required to eat liver to give us iron rich blood. we were required to eat PRUNES and we were required to eat baked Fish.

    We stood in line at the door to be given a piece of MOUSETRAP CHEESE and we all ate it smiling.
    CONVENIENCE is the underlying problem, We never had soda or Candy because it was all rationed. after the war. HUGS Pat in Maine.
    1871 days ago
    NSTAR, I wonder if they don't put muscle behind a major campaign to solve this problem because they know we would not have enough fruits and vegetables to feed everybody, and the economy would go tumbling into the Grand Canyon if all those associated with junk food suddenly went out of business or had no jobs??? farmers, miners of raw materials for additives, poptarts, fast food corporations, manufacturers of fake vegetable oils, toy manufacturers for happy meals, packaging manugacturers, trucking companies, fuel suppliers. . . The impact would be a shock felt round the world. We'd definitely have to be raising some of our own produce. Let me know if you get this going. I'll plant a couple of citrus trees. Already have the veggie garden going. emoticon
    1871 days ago
    Ditto, Ditto, Ditto on each point.
    1871 days ago
    My mom insisted we at least try everything new on our plates, but never insisted we eat all of it. I think she "got" that kids have different tastes. When I was a kid, at first there just weren't many sweets or treats. But as the years went by, such things became easy to get and desirable. My dad was a doctor! But medicine was not about health back then! Looking around the world, I get the feeling that we in America are grotesquely spoiled by a glut of cheap, bad food. Don't get me wrong, I was seduced by cheap, bad food in large amounts. I have no idea what the heck will move America in a healthy direction! None of the federal program launched over the past 50 years has had any effect whatsoever. Since I am a psychotherapist, my focus has been on helping individuals to manage their lives differently. I hope they pass on better ways of choosing to their kids! I hope all the people who bring their families along to Spark Families pass something wise on! One at a time ...
    1871 days ago
    Liligrac, I don't think we'd find a rich farmer anywhere. There probably won't be any government grants coming down anytime soon to fund the advertising.

    Internet would probably be best. Oh, I know. a Twitter campaign!!
    1871 days ago
    Good thoughts. Reminded me of watching "Wide World of Sports" as a kid and wanting to try some of those things. We grew a wide variety if fruits, veggies and evenn had a couple walnut trees. I took it all for granted back then. Now, I worry about the freggies in my grocery stores.
    1871 days ago
  • KITT52
    we all have to make good choices ....some times we do sometimes we don' happens
    1871 days ago
    Great Thoughts and concepts! I agree with you, but you'll have to re-educate the parents first! Or you could start at commerical campain aargeted at children to brain wash them the way the big food processers do!!@ Can we Compete? Do We have the MONEY?? We need som rich Farmers to push their products on tv the same way McDonalds pushes theirs. What do you think?
    1871 days ago
    Of course it would be better. But. I think 'convenience' is a big temptation. Until we get a wake up call that forces us to think about health and DO something. Hmm?
    Also, honestly, I always ate vegetables and they weren't always mush but I never realized just how important they were after, encouraged by books I read, I started eating truly LOTS of them. I simply did not know...
    1871 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/7/2013 10:12:07 AM
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