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How to develop a healthy lifestyle for your children

Updated on March 14, 2010

When someone comes to Berkshire Hypnosis seeking to lose weight, most every client is a walking encyclopedia of weight loss knowledge. They know about all the diets, detox and cleansing methods, which foods are healthy, which are fattening. They know when and how often they should eat. They know they should exercise. They know everything.  It's likely that those reading this article - you - do, too.

The challenge for many people is that they need the ability and the motivation to APPLY all that they know.  In other words, people know WHAT to do. They just don't know HOW.

The challenge for many people is that they need the ability and the motivation to APPLY all that they know.  In other words, people know WHAT to do. They just don't know HOW.

One person suggested, "I wish that I was brought up as a kid in way that healthy behaviors towards food were just instilled in me.  That way I wouldn't be fighting against all of these bad habits that I've spent my lifetime, it seems, trying to overcome." 

And that's exactly it!  For anyone with children, this is the perfect time -- no, it is the ONLY time -- that you'll have to give your child the true gift of life - a life where weight and obesity isn't a permanent struggle, where certain health issues never become a concern, and living a healthy life isn't a chore but simply a way of life.

Even though we're struggling with reformulating our diets, we must lead by example.  It can't be us telling them, "Don't eat that, don't do that, eat this..." only for us to do the opposite.  We must teach food choices and healthy behaviors simply by including them in a daily conversation about what we're doing, ultimately giving them tools to enjoy cooking and eating and acting in a way that's healthy and natural.  Too often, unfortunately, the joy that children are taught are the pleasures and the reward of ice cream or cookies and milk before bed, while the actual joys of preparing and adding "fun stuff" to foods is how we "have to eat" to be healthy, as though it were a painful, uncomfortable process like doing homework or paying the bills.

As a parent, you should realize something that may seem overwhelming the more you think about it: Your children are being programmed subconsciously by what you do.  Not by what you SAY, but by what you DO. 

For smoking clients with children, as an example, even though their kids tell them how much they don't want them to smoke, that they hate the smell, that it's unhealthy, and so on, deep down those kids love their mom!  They want to BE like mom.  This is why so many children of parents who smoke end up smoking themselves.  They want to be like the person they love, the person that was their ingrained role model. 

And so, you have a lot of pressure right now to do the right thing, to instill these behaviors in your children so that when they start acting like the person they love and look up to, they're actually doing things that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.

So, you already know what to do.  You know how you should eat.  You know when and when not to eat.  And you know that you should exercise regularly or have at least a mildly active lifestyle. 

So do what you know.  If not for yourself, do it for your kids.

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