Leading from the Front

In past posts, I've discussed some influential people in my life and how the examples set forth by them have, in turn, changed my life.  I strive to do the same.  For a long time, I relied on knowledge and experiences to make me a credible source of information, in terms of health, wellness, exercise and sports performance.  My experiences as an athlete, both collegiately and professionally, gave me credibility as a coach and my degrees and certifications lent me the same when I was working in health and wellness.  

The problem with that is you have to really get people to buy into what you're saying, particularly if you don't pass the eyeball test...which I did not.  Sure I could get by in the powerlifting community, but that was pretty much it.  Even though I had the base of knowledge and experience to help people, I had to take time to convince them of that.  Last year when I started the ketogenic diet, I did not tell anyone.  Having spent the last couple years beaten down by my appearance and getting tired of having to convince people that I actually knew what I was talking about, I just stopped talking.  A year removed from that, I am in a position where I actually have a platform to speak, but it wasn't my words that gave me credibility, but it was my appearance.  

Raising kids is a crazy journey.  If you wonder why they do the things they do, look no further than yourself.  I see my behaviors mimicked by all the kids, regardless of their developmental age group, whether it's silliness or sarcasm, or unfortunately, raising my voice.  I am cognizant of all of these things and I am continuing to work on this because I do want my kids to be able to the best versions of themselves and not the worst version of me.  As I have made lifestyle changes, my kids have noticed.  They know that daddy doesn't eat the same food they do; specifically pizza.  That's when I realized that they were taking notice.  My ten year old had said to my wife, "There's so much more pizza left over now that dad doesn't eat it" and my three year old daughter asks why I don't like pizza anymore.  I tell her that I still love pizza, but I eat a different kind; which is true.  I do love the Real Good Pizza brand and I will have that sometimes when they get pizza.  

I don't make a show of my dietary changes because kids notice everything.  They also know that daddy gets a lot of steps everyday and that I run a very long way.   This has prompted them to ask for activity trackers of their own.  I never showed them, but one day they heard my wife and I talk about how many steps I get in a day at work versus what she gets.  Than they started asking questions.  I got my 10 year old a vivosmart 3 for Christmas and my 6 year old had to have one as well, so we got him the vivofit jr 2.  We are able to have family scoreboard via the garmin app and the app for the vivofit jr has a lot of great features.  You can incorporate chores and reminders for them and there's a story mode, where each day they meet their activity goal, they can go another chapter in the story.  My son uses the Star Wars one and he runs around the house when he gets home from school just so he can get enough activity to see what BB-8 does next.  It's pretty cool.

Now this post is not an advertisement for Garmin, but it is more to show that there are ways to include your family in your journey and get them thinking about lifestyle choices without forcing it upon them.  Now I'm not saying to make your kids go keto, we don't do that with our kids, but we have re-examined the role of processed carbs in their diets and worked to find alternatives for them to eat.  They are also trying to be like dad and making choices to be more active, whether they realize it or not.  And this actually forces me to think more about moving around during my work day, so  there is a great reciprocal effect that this can have.  

You are the best example that your kids have.  They observe everything that you say and they do and will mimic those behaviors whether they realize it or not.  If you don't like the way your kids are behaving, the first thing to do is look at yourself.