Let’s Go!

A sponsored post for NSW Health

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So the holidays are still on, but the gluttony of Christmas and New Year break are over and it’s time for me (and most likely you too!) to seriously start thinking about the year ahead and make some goals for myself and the family. It’s impossible to not look at your health and fitness at the start of a new year – all that possibility for change and for me personally, time to get serious about what I keep shovelling into my face and time to hit that pavement. It’s been well over 18 months since I was doing any kind of serious exercise, and the time has come. Sigh.

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I try not to make a big deal over weight around the girls (I honestly try to avoid talking about it at all), and if I do hear any mention of it I try and replace words from image based “look at how this looks” to the amazing things that bodies can do “look at those strong legs that help you run fast”, and how lucky we are to have them at all. It’s so important particularly around my girls to lead by example with a positive attitude to health and fitness.

There are lots of different ways for families to get focused on their healthy lifestyles/journeys – I’m sure all of you guys have your own ways that I’d love to hear about.

For me, whenever I start to get back into a regular exercise regime, I make sure everyone knows what my goals are. It might be about getting outside and doing something, anything, at least a couple of times a week. I have a sticker chart (because apparently I am as motivated as a three year old by them) that I mark off and encourage the girls to help me. It’s been known to get them their own charts as well.

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As the girls are a little older now and open to learning about the importance of healthy living, I try and make sure that exercise and good eating are taught as much as all the other things they are learning through the year. Luckily at school, they make sure that the girls do a certain number of activities that get them moving as part of their weekly homework, and we make sure that there are some team sports and regular outdoor time as well. We also get them helping out in the kitchen and preparing lunchboxes to teach them about good food choices. It’s important to keep up the education and practice throughout the year, although it can be hard as we get busier with school and life.

But for some people, understandably this can all seem like a bridge too far with no idea on where to start, how to implement, and how to maintain momentum. Especially if you are starting something you want the whole family to adopt, and especially if it’s all something new.

To help families take on long-lasting healthier lifestyles, NSW Health has been running a free community-based program since 2009 called Go4Fun. It helps kids aged 7-13 who are above a healthy weight for their age and height to become fitter, healthier and happier by improving their fitness, eating habits and confidence. Children and their families take part in sessions delivered by trained health and fitness professionals for two hours after school every week, and it achieves some great results.

Here’s some great feedback from a family who attended Go4Fun in Term 4 last year and how they benefited from the program:

“Before Go4Fun we found it difficult to find time to exercise. After committing to Go4Fun we learnt new exercises that we were able to implement at home. We also joined a gym. Exercising as a family has been a key ingredient to changing the way we live”.

“Go4Fun helped our family to select foods that are positive to both the body and mind. We learnt that knowing more about food is a key element in changing the way we eat”.

“The key to our success is that, as a family we made a collective decision to change the way we eat and the way we live.
– Ali”.

And the results from the program are a testament to its success. It helps children and their families to develop healthier habits but what I really love is that it helps with other stuff so important for kids in this age group: their self esteem and confidence, with many making new friendships.

I think it’s great that there are initiatives like this one available for families to help stay focused throughout the year. Especially for free.

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So what are some ways that we can start this thinking of healthy lifestyle at home at the start of this new year? Being busy ourselves, it’s easy to fall into old habits of convenience rather than sticking to a healthy lifestyle.

For our family we’ll be doing some of the following in 2016:

• Making sure the girls help with meal planning and getting them to choose things for meals that are good choices.
• Setting some goals around food each week and trying to meet them to eat as much fruit and vegetables as we should be. Rewarding those goals when they are met with special one-on-one time with either Rob or I, or doing something outside together (maybe going for a bush walk, or a trip to the local pool together, or a bike ride one-on-one).
• Making an effort to be active as a family. My kids LOVE it when we all go to the local park with the dog and it’s such an easy way to get some incidental exercise in for everyone plus SO WHOLESOME!

You can register and find out more about the Go4Fun Program here if your family is interested in adopting a healthy lifestyle for 2016.

What are some ways you try and encourage healthy living in your family?
Got any tips you can share with us?
How can I stop shovelling kitkats in my mouth in the car every time I fill up with fuel?

Comments

  1. I am back on the treadmill trying to wash away all of that delicious food I inhaled over the Christmas period… gee it was good and I enjoyed every single mouthful but back to it now. Time to sort this body out.

  2. I think snack plates of cherry toms, snack cucumbers, fruit, cheese etc (you’re good at them!) for the kids is the go. If I offer these up Flynn doesn’t seem to go seeking out the crappy stuff. Mind you, I’ve banished the house of that as of this week. For dinner, especially in summer, I do a salad on the side and I find he’ll have a good try of this.

    During the holidays we also made Flynn come walking with us. Begrudgingly at first but then got into it – great also for family chats.

  3. too much food going down here beth!
    salads will be the order of the day very soon!
    we still have guests!!!
    they make sure they have carrot and cucumber sticks, cherry tomatoes and cheese at one sitting then they have berries at another!
    i’m lost to know what meal we are at and it’s my place!!!
    quite a good way to get healthy foods into young ones though!
    i’m nearly finished my choc wafer stash! I think it is stress eating!
    lol m:)X

  4. We have lots of conversations around here about healthy eating, nutrient and calorie density, being active and strong and balance as I believe they are the cornerstones of understanding what being healthy means. My girls are 8 and 10. The nutrient and calorie density discussions come about in comparing processed and whole foods to help them understand why treats are treats. We had the balance discussion today in the car on the way home from beach swimming lessons followed by a few hours of play on the sand and then in one of the coastal playgrounds. The swimming lessons had started in drizzling rain and a fair breeze so very much shivering inducing weather which was remedied by a thermos of hot chocolate and a dry towel. Then the sun came out so more swimming followed and beach races with friends. We headed up to the general store for another hot drink but the kids were all “boiling” by the time we got there so they wangled an ice cream instead. More play followed until we headed home, picking up a hot cross bun on the way for lunch. The girls both commented that they’d had lots if treats, and I said I agreed but they had also had a very healthy breakfast and we’re having their usual veggie sticks for arvo tea followed by a home made spag bog with a plate of fresh berries to follow for dinner, so given how active they had been, all in all it was pretty balanced (even though it was a bit treat heavy in the middle!).

  5. A friend of mine has done G4Fun for her son but said it was helpful for all the family. My husband and three of the kids are really active, skinny and muscly, lucky for me as they are a good influence. They just don’t care about food… which makes meals a pest but they are super fit and healthy. Myself and Teen18 love food too much, but we do move at least. Having a child start drinking is a new and quite confronting time though… much to discuss there!

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