Patience: The Key to Achieving Results of a Healthy Diet
Today’s society places far too much emphasis on immediate results. We just do not seem to have any patience anymore. Instead, immediate gratification is the name of the game. To make matters worse, most people today prefer even more if there is minimal effort involved in achieving results. Living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t work like that.
Fad diets and quick fixes might yield pretty quick results, but they don’t last. Indeed, lots of things can cause rapid weight loss, but that doesn’t mean they’re good for you. Just like ebola would be a dangerous but effective way to get your child to lose weight, fad diets are also unhealthy and should be avoided, especially for children, who are still growing and developing.
If we want healthy kids, we need to inspire them to lead healthy lifestyles. Weight loss and positive changes to their health profile will follow. We have to have patience.
My family and I try to lead a healthy lifestyle all around. We eat a healthy diet with an emphasis on fresh fruits and vegetables, very little processed food, very little dairy, very little fish, and no meat. Both my husband and I exercise regularly in the gym (I do about 6 hours per week) and our kids watch shows (on the computer – we don’t watch TV) only a couple days per week, and even then, only for a half hour or so at a time. The rest of the time our kids are out running around.
Yes, this kind of lifestyle is a challenge. If there are excuses, I’ve made them all, in the past. Junk food and meat taste good, when you’re tired you want to just zone out in front of the TV, and gym memberships cost money and take time. But in the end, these are just that: excuses. I have a million excuses I could make why I can’t find time to blog, but I push through and I do it.
I’m not trying to pass judgment in a holier-than-thou kind of way. I’m a stay-at-home-mom, which has both benefits and challenges that working moms don’t face. Sure, I have more freedom to take my kids to the park almost every day and I’m home more, making things from scratch. But then again, I spend my whole day refereeing two rambunctious boys, who seem to have taken making a mess on as their goal in life. Parents who don’t have their kids home all day don’t face the constant cleaning struggle that three meals a day (plus snacks) being prepared in the kitchen presents. Kids who aren’t home aren’t dumping dirt all over the floors you just mopped and aren’t spreading the entire contents of their toy chests all over the house all day long. I’m not complaining – but it doesn’t present its own set of challenges.
Eating a healthy diet is a lifestyle choice that hopefully also includes an active lifestyle. It’s not easy, I know that, but it is important. If we care about our kids, we need to feed both them and us healthy, nutritious diets, even if it is a challenge, even if it requires some sacrifice. What are your excuses?
One of the biggest excuses I hear is that results are just not forthcoming. Think about all those people you know who resolve on January 1 to go to the gym this year, but come June regular exercise is a thing of the past. They didn’t see results fast enough. The gym can yield results quickly, if you throw yourself into it in a way most of us do not have the time and motivation for. But if you make the gym a lifestyle, you will see results, even if you only go a couple times a week. You will see results, but they will take a while.
Changes to diet present the same exact challenge. Fad diets are popular because the results are immediate. But the change doesn’t last. If we want healthy kids, we need to change their lifestyles. They should eat a healthy, balanced diet as a whole life change, not just as a weight loss method. The change will be gradual, but stick with it. Have patience.
For severely obese kids on a very strict vegan diet, results can be seen in as few as four weeks. But you don’t have to go to such an extreme to see results, nor do you have to have a child whose health profile is so dire. Instead, make changes, even baby steps, to feed your family a healthier diet. Don’t reassess to see if there has been progress after just a month or two. Reassess for progress in the long term – six months to a year. And if you really want to know how much progress is being made, don’t rely solely on checking your child’s waistline to see if they need slimmer pants. Have their blood tested by a health professional before and after to see how their body is doing inside, not just the visible outside.
Dietitians agree that patience is a key to good health. If we can get past our excuses and start taking steps toward eating a healthier diet, eventually we can get there. I didn’t start doing six hours a week in the gym – I started with two and worked my way up from there. Similarly, start with one or two homemade family meals every week and begin cutting out one unhealthy food item each shopping trip.
But most of all, have patience.