How Losing Weight Helps Your Whole Family

May 31, 2011

Making a commitment to maintain a healthy weight isn???t just good for you, it???s great for your whole family. Why? Time and time again I see that children, like adults, learn more from what they see than what they hear ??? or, as the saying goes, actions speak louder than words.

If your kids see you eating well, exercising, coping with your emotions in a healthy way, and choosing activities like going for a walk over watching television, they???re learning about living a healthy life by example, and that is far more effective than any lecture or talk could ever be. When you are the parent, it???s all about being a role model. The earlier you start, the better.

What if you haven???t been such a good example, or you???ve maybe even taught your child some bad habits like preferring high-calorie, high-fat, highly processed foods and living a sedentary lifestyle? Luckily, it???s never too late to turn things around for you or for them. As your diet and lifestyle improves, so will that of the whole family ??? adults and children alike.

This is especially important in families with a genetic tendency toward obesity. While you can???t change your genes, like someone with a family history of cancer who gets regular check-ups and avoids risky behaviors, you can take steps to help your loved ones counteract their predisposition toward gaining weight.

In my own household, I???ve worked hard to not only teach my children how to eat and live in a healthy way, I???ve also tried to lead by example to instill healthy habits. One simple example is that in my household, the beverage we drink more than anything else by far is water.

Now, when my children visit a friend???s house, their parents are often amazed to report that my kids not only turn down soda pop but they actually ask for water instead. Not because I told them to, but because they actually prefer it!

So if you need more of a reason than your own health and well-being to commit to a healthier lifestyle, do it for your family. It???ll pay off for years to come!

Dr. Michael Kaplan

Founder and Chief Medical Officer

The Center for Medical Weight Loss

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