In March 2010, Michelle Obama was the cover story for Newsweek. The title read, “Feed Your Children Well: My Fight Against Childhood Obesity.”
Her campaign against childhood obesity came to the foreground again with the song “Move Your Body,” which Beyonce recorded to inspire children to get fit through exercise. The video was a YouTube sensation and perfect way to start the summer, which is full of possibilities both at the grocery store and on the sports’ fields or playgrounds.
While I am not in alignment with the use of the word “fight,” I do think what First Lady Obama is up to is brilliant. We need her on our side, and she has answered that call.
The movement that came from First Lady Obama’s platform is called letsmove.gov. Since our bodies require movement and flow, letsmove.gov moves me to speak up louder and prouder about my cause (which is in strong alignment with the First Lady’s message).
Letsmove.gov was created to inspire families to make manageable, healthy lifestyle changes that fit into their schedules, budgets and needs. One of the many things it does is support parents with fitness and nutritional tools so they can lead kids away from processed foods back into real whole foods.
Although I do not work with children and teens, I care deeply about them and childhood obesity. My work comes through their parents, who are my clients. 1 out of 6 children in America are obese and experiencing physical ailments compared to adults. I care about this deeply.
I work with children indirectly because I coach their mothers to change their own lives and lead these children closer to good habits. Once a mother begins to make internal shifts and changes, she naturally leads her children into choosing and living differently as well.
Mrs. Obama is focused on eating right and incorporating exercise into children’s lives. I too have those goals for my clients and also focus on how they see their bodies and themselves.
Moms often share with me that they are concerned about how self-critical their children are of their bodies. For example, a 10-year-old child says that she wants to diet, never feels good enough, skinny enough, etc. They want to guide their children in the right direction, but feel powerless over what to do about it.
My first question back to them is always, “How do you speak about your body in front of your children?” That is usually when the truth is revealed. Often they have a big “a-ha” moment, such as, “Oh I get it – my negative self-talk teaches them what to do.”
Yes it does.
Moms, I urge you to be more aware of how you speak about yourself in front of your children. Your words matter – A LOT. Your actions matter also. If you are binging or overeating and telling your kids to eat better, they are getting confusing mixed messages.
The time has come to wake up, get our heads out of the sand and show up first for ourselves. This will lead to healthier lives and love for our bodies – and in turn, we will have a powerful impact on our children.
That is a promise, and promises do come true.
Some immediate actions you can take now, for yourself and your kids.
1. Begin to notice your self-talk. When your critical voice shows up, do not collude with it just let it be. The wise, healthy adult in you can treat it as she would a mad child.
You may want to thank that voice for sharing and counteract it with a loving thought such as, “I am whole and perfect as I am right now, and I feel committed to changing my habits and behaviors, one pinky step at a time.” Pinkies are the smallest fingers, so the action steps must be small. However, consistence is key.
2. Go to letsmove.gov where you can find tons of ways you can assist your children (and yourself) to get better nutrition NOW. A whole variety of fresh, local produce is available in these summer months. Find a nearby farmers’ market and make a family outing of it.
3. Get moving! As the name letsmove.gov suggests, exercise is a crucial part to both physical health and body image. Summer is in full swing and is the perfect time to find an activity you love.
There are recreational sports leagues for both children and adults. Or maybe just take your kids for a bike ride or to the playground. Remember, pinky steps!
4. Set up a 15-minute complimentary appointment with me (email@example.com) to discuss your resistance to doing any of this or find some form of support. You don’t have to make any of these changes alone. In community we thrive, in isolation we wilt.
Remember, a river flows. So any action is a great start.Tags: michelle obama