Friday, May 18, 2012

My next challenge

I claim to be an expert in nothing, and I'm sticking with that claim. But if I come close to being an expert on anything I guess it would be childhood obesity. Reason 1: I've been there, done that, have the pictures to prove it (I just found a picture from before the homecoming game my senior year of high school. Oh. My. Goodness.). Reason 2: my academic studies are in the field of health and sociology. Reason 3: my personal interest in the topic have caused me to do a lot of reading and researching...and not just reading some Joe Shmoe's blog or opinion (well, I do that, too), but also looking at the science that is out there. So I guess if I'm going to claim I have some kind of knowledge somewhere, obesity would probably be it.

So when one of my readers asked me to address issues of family health I was a little hesitant, but the more I thought about it, the more I felt up to the challenge.

And here's the big challenge: how do we encourage healthy living in our homes while not placing too much emphasis on body image?

Move to a remote self-sustaining farm where you raise your own chickens and cows for eggs and milk and meat. You grow your own huge garden and become an expert in canning, freezing, and drying. You'd also have to eliminate all contact with the media and outside world in general. Then you can grow your own healthy foods and not have the influence of anyone else telling your family what beauty is. Trust me, I've thought about the above plan. But I'm afraid of chickens.

So aside from that, I don't know how to complete the challenge. Not fully.

Why? Because there is not a one size fits all plan or step by step process that is going to fit every family. Every family is going to have a different definition of healthy living based on their circumstances, religious practices, and medical issues. All of us are influenced in some way by others telling us how we should look, and we all feel like we fail. And we don't want that for our kids.

But I do know there are some ways I can help make my family live a healthier life. I know there are ways I can promote positive body image in my kids. And so I'm going to start to share them. The same way I shared about our finances and my own weight losses, I'm going to share what we've been doing and changes we continue to make. I'm not going to tell you what you should do, I'm going to share our own journey. If it helps spark some ideas and actions for how your household can make healthier choices, I will count that as success.

So stay tuned. I have lots of ideas brewing in my head. And none of them involve me raising my own chickens.

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