Kids As Our Motivation

There are reasons to get healthy everywhere we look; and sometimes these very reasons are sitting with us at the dinner table, watching television with us on a Monday evening or tugging at our hands to go outside and play.

Yes, I’m talking about kids.

While I don’t have any of my own, except, of course, Graham and Daisy the Weimaraners, I had to share this story about why one client finally got in gear to get healthy once and for all.

I worked with Amy a while ago, but I just recently thought of her this morning when I flipped through one of my running magazines and read a story that was quite similar to hers.

Amy was a friendly, successful, talented graphic designer running her own small firm, with two kids and a happy marriage.  All was great…except she was a good hundred pounds over weight.  

She approached me about doing some private training sessions one year, shortly after Christmas and told me she was completely committed to changing her lifestyle, her eating habits and her exercise regime once and for all, and wanted to begin right away, not wait the few more days until January first, lest it turn into yet another New Year’s Resolution that might inevitably fall by the wayside.

We started working together three times per week shortly thereafter and she shared quite a bit with me about her history with dieting, losing weight, gaining more back and so on. Once we got to know each other better, I felt comfortable asking her why she suddenly had the impetus to make such changes.  Why was then any different from any attempts she’d made in the past?

She paused, then looked at me with tears in her eyes and told me why she simply had to make a huge change.

“My five-year old son asked me today, when he got into the car after I picked him up from school, why I was so fat.”  

Of course, being a five-year-old who just had what was, in his mind, a simple question, he meant no harm and genuinely wanted to know why his mom was bigger than the other moms.

She went on to explain that for the first time, she didn’t have an answer to a question prompted by one of her kids.  She was speechless.  She couldn’t think of anything to say.  She suddenly put two and two together and for her, the impact she was having on her kids shone through like the proverbial white light at the end of a tunnel. Suddenly she felt an unavoidable sense of purpose.

She began to ask herself, “What kind of example am I setting for my young kids by being so overweight, by not committing to exercise, by having poor food choices in the house and by not making my own health a priority?”.

By no means was it a snap decision and she did not suddenly stop craving the junk food she used to eat regularly.

It was not only a daily struggle, but a minute to minute struggle.

However, taking each minute at a time got a little easier, slowly but surely, and the treadmill walks we’d do together started to get a little more doable.  One slow mile that used to take nearly twenty five minutes at a very high heart rate turned into a brisk fifteen minute pace over time, with a much lower heart rate.

We all know all the benefits that come with getting to one’s healthy weight, and again, I want to stress that I’m not for one second making light of the difficulty that so many people have.

If it were easy, I doubt we’d be in the midst of an obesity epidemic!

Amy and I parted ways when I moved out of town, but kept in touch and she’s still doing well, to this day.

For her, it’s not easy, it never has been and probably never will be.  

But here’s the thing:  why do we think things should be easy?  Whether we have to work hard at losing weight or something else in our lives that is also important, the things we want to achieve most often are not, in fact, easy to get!

The point I’d like to send out, if you’re reading this and you’re overweight, out of shape or feeling desperate and even ashamed at what you think you could have or should have done but were not successful, remember it’s not too late to get healthy now.

We can only control the now, so be kind to yourself, stop dwelling on your past and remember each day is a new opportunity to take control of your new, healthy life.

Again, if you’re looking for reasons above and beyond your own health, you might not need to look very far for some very important reasons that may even serve as more significant motivators to you.