Health Habits. I Learned Them From My Dad


Published:

As a mother of 5-year old triplets I’m starting to see exactly how children learn healthy habits. It doesn’t always come from talking at them or trying to explain by reading child friendly stories or using carrot shaped puppets to get the message out about developing healthy habits. They learn from observing our behavior.

Our generation seems a bit different than our parents’ in that we make life busier than it needs to be, pushing out time for exercise, relaxation and eating properly. A recent study published July 21 in the American Journal of Men’s Health tracked 10,000 men from adolescence to adulthood and found that men are gaining weight after becoming first time fathers while non fathers are losing weight in the same time frame.

Whether the weight gain is coming from a decrease in time to exercise, eating off your kids’ plate or living a stress filled existence, the thing is… your kids are watching your actions and it’s making an impact on their own choices. As the old saying goes, “actions speak louder than words.” Instead of just focusing on telling children how to eat or stay active I believe it’s time to look inward and see if we’re setting our kids up for success. What do they witness on a daily basis from our own actions? What did we learn from our parent’s actions?

The above questions made me reflect on my own childhood and the lessons I learned from simply observing my dad and I’m happy to report they were some good ones.

He never used the term exercise; he just enjoyed certain activities. My dad was always active. He was an avid outdoorsman who loved any type of fishing whether it was lake, river, ocean fishing or even ice fishing… he did it all. He also was known to golf and play handball. Some of these activities are slow moving but the point is I always witnessed him enjoying being active. What I took from this was that movement can simply be enjoyable and not a chore we have to do to stay healthy.

He didn’t label foods healthy; he just enjoyed and ate them. We didn’t hear the message that we needed to eat vegetables or the opposite, that vegetables aren’t tasty. We watched my dad eat vegetables and thoroughly enjoy them. Every single night of my childhood whether we had spaghetti, hamburgers or pizza we always had a salad with oil and vinegar dressing. Most often that salad was accompanied by an additional vegetable serving. My dad simply enjoyed his vegetables and needless to say it rubbed off on us kids. All four of his children enjoy vegetables and it seems very normal to us to have several servings with our dinner.

He didn’t speak of stress management; he simply took a morning walk and observed nature. We lived near a large wooded lot growing up and my dad typically got up early and stood in front of the sliding glass door with his cup of coffee and observed the various wildlife that congregated in the back yard. He was very peaceful and still. It seemed almost meditative and you felt the need to quietly tip toe past him so you didn’t disturb this peaceful interlude.

Nearly every day he took his dog for a morning walk in the wooded lot. When I’d join him we didn’t do a lot of chit chatting. Just walking and taking in the cool crisp morning and the smell of the pine needles crunching beneath our feet. There is a great gift of stress management I received in learning how to be still and quiet, especially in the non-stop loud world we live in today.

Dads, you have a great opportunity to teach your kids by your actions. It doesn’t have to be monumental. It’s the simple things they’ll learn like eating veggies each day, taking a walk, or enjoying a fun physically active game. Your actions are what they’ll remember the most and adopt into their own lives.

Meri Raffetto is a Registered Dietitian and founder of Real Living Nutrition Services, an online weight loss and wellness program inspired by the Mediterranean Diet. She’s the author of the Mediterranean Diet Cookbook for Dummies, the Glycemic Index Cookbook for Dummies and Glycemic Index Diet for Dummies. Meri is also a member of Men’s Health Network Board of Advisors.

See also:
10 Things to Throw Away for Better Health
Healthy Aging Stories

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Daily Astrology

February 18, 2020

Changes continue. Before sunrise the Moon enters dutiful Capricorn, the crowded sign already hosting Mars, Jupiter, Pluto and Saturn. The morning hours feel super energized, fueled first by a lunar conjunction with Mars and later, a trine to Uranus…
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Alternative Health Directory

Browse all listings »

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

February 2020

Come shine with us! Join us in harmony and in our goal to bring the light of Spiritualism forward to all those who are searching.

Where:
VFW Post 2597
775 Boston Rd, Rt 3A
Billerica, MA
View map »


Sponsor: The Spiritualist Fellowship Church Of New England
Website »

More information

January 19th, February 16th, March 8th by appointment only. Kinetic Chain Release (KCR) to balance body, resolve leg length discrepancies, reduce back, shoulder, knee, hip pain and reduce stress...

Cost: $65 to $145

Where:
Leapin' Lizards
449 Forest Ave
Portland, ME  04101
View map »


Sponsor: Leapin' Lizards
Telephone: 207-221-2363
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

With Anna DeWitte Mondays—starts 1/27 Our next new class! Join Anna (one of our recent grads) for her mild heat class! The temperature will hover around 80 degrees which helps to loosen...

Cost: $17

Where:
State of Grace Yoga & Wellness Center
104 East Hartford Ave.
Uxbridge, MA  01569
View map »


Sponsor: State of Grace Yoga and Wellness Center
Telephone: 508-278-2818
Website »

More information

Discover Beauty. Discover Goodness. Discover Yourself. Your soul’s gifts are waiting. Breathe. Find stillness. The spark you need to ignite your life is here, within. Max Meditation...

Cost: $15

Where:
Modern Mystery School Boston
132 Charles St
3rd Floor
Auburndale, MA  02466
View map »


Sponsor: Modern Mystery School Boston
Telephone: 617-694-0994
Contact Name: Jordan Bain
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Automatic & Channel Writing — Class 1 of 3 Discussion of channel writing and then spending the rest of the class practicing writing. Getting comfortable writing either with paper and...

Cost: At door $20; online reg. $15

Where:
The Healing Power of Flowers — Heaven and Earth
68 Stiles Rd, Unit A
Salem, NH  03079
View map »


Sponsor: The Healing Power of Flowers - Heaven and Earth
Telephone: 603-275-7688
Contact Name: Stacey
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

In celebration of Pediatric Dentistry Month and recognizing children’s oral health as a foundation for life-long health, join us for a free, fun and informational evening about how holistic...

Cost: Free

Where:
The BioMed Center New England
111 Chestnut Street
Ste 1
Providence, RI  02903
View map »


Sponsor: The BioMed Center New England
Telephone: 833-8BIOMED
Contact Name: Admin Desk
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Show More...
Show Less...

"Master your breath, let the self be in bliss, contemplate on the sublime within you.” —Krishnamacharya Join us for an evening of deep exploration and transformation using the...

Cost: $40

Where:
Friends Meeting House
5 Longfellow Park
Cambridge, MA  02138
View map »


Sponsor: Allen Howell, M.Ed. LMHC
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

February 22nd & 23rd Deepen your knowledge and practice of Reiki. Facilitated by Lou Orsan, Reiki Shihan (Master-Teacher) This two-day Level II Training enhances...

Cost: $250

Where:
Northeast Reiki Center
61 Nicholas Road, Suite B2
Framingham, MA  01701
View map »


Sponsor: Northeast Reiki Center
Telephone: 508-808-5696
Contact Name: Lou Orsan
Website »

More information

Get a personal teaching for Brother Granite's new Visionary Shamanism Tarot. This class includes the new Visionary Shamanism Tarot deck as well a 90 minute one on one class with Brother Granite...

Cost: $80

Where:
407 Deans Plaza
407 Rte 44
The Enchanted Forest Taunton
Raynham, MA  02767
View map »


Sponsor: Brother Granite
Telephone: 774-208-6195
Contact Name: Granite
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags