Living LifeWise is a regular column provided by LifeWise Ambassadors – LifeWise employees whose healthy choices are helping them live better lives. Today’s column is provided by LifeWise Ambassador Aaron Reid.
I find myself inspired to become a healthier person – while still fraudulently pretending to be healthier than I actually am – to set a healthy example for my kids.
My kids, Jack and Ruby, are 2 and 1 respectively. They prove to me and my wife every day that they pay close attention to the examples of adults around them. Nevertheless, it’s hard for me to know how much of their eating habits they learn from watching me eat. I’m not well-educated in this regard. My wife reads all the child-rearing books while I just hope for the best. Regardless, I still want them to see me eating and enjoying healthy foods, so I make sure they see me eat plenty of salad, as well as some other foods that at least look healthy (when viewed at a certain angle). Most of my really unhealthy snacking doesn’t occur until late evening, after the kids have gone to bed.
Thank God they don’t see what I eat after they go to bed.
It isn’t just what I eat that I have to be concerned with, but also the manner in which I eat it. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a nasty habit of eating too quickly and shoving too much food into my mouth at once. Though I love the tactical challenge of trying to chew when my entire mouth has been rendered immobile through overstuffing, I am also aware that this is not the best example I can set for my kids at the dinner table. I am usually mindful of it, but occasionally I let my guard down and set a poor and disgusting example. When I see my children watching the food drip off of daddy’s chin, it makes me sad.
Perhaps due to my example, there have been many times when I’ve seen Jack’s face stuffed well beyond capacity, food dangling from his lips. When that happens, I tell him to “chew, chew, chew” so he doesn’t choke. Maybe I should just tell him to spit it out. I really have no clue what I’m doing. Ruby does something similar, but more ladylike. She puts bite after bite in her mouth until her cheeks are quite full but, unlike Jack, she can at least close her mouth. Then over the next 10 minutes her cheeks slowly deflate as she somehow transfers all of the food into her esophagus. So precious!
Keeping it in Perspective
One thing I try to keep in mind is that while keeping my children healthy is important, keeping them alive is even more important. With my kids as young as they are, the question of whether they’re eating healthy foods is secondary to the question of whether what they’re eating is food at all. I can look at a bottle under the kitchen sink and see that it says “Drano.” My kids see that same bottle and think it says “Yummy Fun Juice”.
Kids, get away from that! Not yummy! Not fun! Here is a bin of cheese puffs!
I take it day by day.
Aaron Reid is a lifelong non-athlete, husband, and father of two. Aaron lives in Tukwila near a nice running trail with rabbits, most of whom have never seen him. He began running in 2012 and ran his first 5K that same year. However, his most impressive fitness accomplishment is that he has been sucking in his stomach from the age of 12 to the age of 38. Living LifeWise is a part of Aaron’s quest to one day enjoy running and have washboard abs. Meet Aaron and hear more about what Living LifeWise means to him on the LifeWise Health Plan of Washington YouTube channel.