Face it, we are all busy. Those of us trying to juggle a family and our countless other responsibilities may feel pulled in many directions. With such time constraints it is often easy to put ourselves and our individual needs last.
Unfortunately this attitude can take a toll on not only our fitness but also our health. Do you feel like you don’t have time to work out? No time to prepare a healthy meal? You are not alone. With some planning and by incorporating a family fitness journal into your life you can make your health and the health of your family a priority.
As parents, one of our main concerns is the health and safety of our children. We want them to eat foods that are good for them and that isn’t always easy to get them to do. A fitness journal might be one way to help them see the importance of nutrition and to find foods that they enjoy.
Many children don’t like to try new foods, but by having them write down their meals and asking them to plan healthy foods to eat, you’ll open the door to better food choices. For a finicky eater a goal might be to try one new food each week. To help them stick to it, you’ll have to show that you are working equally as hard toward your own goal.
When your family gets together to share something like a fitness journal, everyone is a winner. You’ll encourage communication, goal planning, accountability and a celebration when someone succeeds. There are just so many reasons to start a family fitness journal that it’s sure to become a fitness trend.
A fitness journal doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as recording your goals and daily activities. There are several easy things that you can do to ensure that your family fitness journal is a success.
- Keep your goals simple and appropriate for your family. Although tracking your weight can be a useful personal tool, your family fitness journal is not the best place to keep track of this. Try to keep the focus more on healthy habits. For example, a family fitness journal would be a great place to have a simple, healthy goal such as eating vegetables with dinner every day.
- Make sure everyone is involved. Everyone in the family should be involved in all aspects of the family fitness journal. Choose your goals as a family. To the extent possible plan meals as a family. Be sure everyone is involved in recording. Add a notes section for children to comment on what they think is important. If you have very young children, colorful pictures, such as pictures of fruits, can be a very useful to keep them interested.
- Take individual photographs of everyone. Make a special page for each member of the family and add their before photograph to the page. Whether your children are overweight, underweight, or just right, they’ll notice subtle changes in their bodies from month to month. If they are adding new sports and eating better, they may notice changes in their muscles, skin and hair. Teens especially, will be anxious to see the changes in their bodies when they begin a fitness program, so the journal will be a great way to keep them involved. Even if they want to start their own private journal, encourage them to take part in the family fitness journal.
- Take turns planning meals. If you give your kids a chance to plan some of the meals, they will take more interest in healthy eating. Make it like a game, where each meal has to consist of protein, but needs to be low in saturated fat. Older children can even read food labels to determine daily percentages and make meal plans based on these. Not only will it help them to become more responsible about the foods they eat, it will provide lessons in math, science and reading.
- Reward yourselves for success. Rewards don’t have to be large. Something as simple as putting a sticker in your fitness journal when you have met a small goal can be a fun reward. Everyone will enjoy celebrating not matter what the reward. Healthy eating makes everyone look better so most adults and children will feel their own rewards in the way that they carry themselves and the amount of newfound energy they have.
- Children thrive on family involvement. As I stated above, it’s important to involve everyone. Young children love family involvement and if you start while they are young, they won’t mind so much when they become teens. But even if your kids are older, helping them make wise decisions about weight loss or muscle building can be very important for your teen’s health. Too many times, teens begin fad diets or worse, binging and purging. Warn your kids about taking drugs or supplements that make them gain or lose weight too.
- Make it fun! Work together as a family to make your family fitness journal fun. Your ultimate goal is to have a fit, healthy lifestyle for your family but there is no reason you shouldn’t have fun in the process! Plan fun, active family outings such as a play time in the park or a trip to the local pool. Be careful to stay involved rather than just watching your children play. Try swimming and playing with your children and you will not regret it. They love for you to get involved with sports and enjoy an active life with them.
Using a family fitness journal is a great way to work toward a healthy lifestyle for your entire family. Despite our busy lifestyles we must find time to take care of ourselves and keep ourselves fit and healthy. Not only does this benefit us but it benefits our family. A healthy parent is a parent that feels good and ultimately has more energy to enjoy time with their family. So what are you waiting for? Start teaching your family healthy habits for life while bringing the family closer through a family fitness journal!
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