When it comes to diet and exercise, it's all about motivation. For each of us, it's something different that makes us get up off that couch and finally say, "That's it. I am going to make some changes, because my health and my fitness are not where I want them to be."
Maybe you are tired of looking at that pair of "skinny jeans" in the back of your closet. Perhaps you have a health scare, like chest pains or blood pressure creeping up. Or your skinny friend won't stop complaining about how fat she is, and you decide to channel your anger into action.
And then sometimes, we are at a point where we just can't seem to find anything that is motivating enough. Let me offer this as motivation: your children. As Benjamin Franklin once said, "In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes."
He should have also added "turning into your parents" to that list.
No matter how much we fight against it, we do gradually become more like our parents as we mature. Part of that is genetics, but part of it is their daily influence as we grow up. My parents were never regular exercisers; they smoked and ate plenty of fatty, processed foods. As time marches on, the list of their ailments has grown: Heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and lung cancer.
While I may not be able to avoid to avoid sprouting those little chin hairs or telling my children to do something "because I said so," I can choose to live a life that includes nearly daily exercise and a healthy diet to avoid the health issues that they had. I would like to be present and involved in the lives of my children as long as I can, and a healthy lifestyle will help me reach that goal.
I hope that by setting an example of regular enjoyable exercise and healthy eating choices, my children will learn to incorporate those same things into their lives. With childhood obesity on an alarming rise, parental influence towards diet and exercise is critical.
So, if you are looking for that motivation, peek into your child's bedroom tonight while they are sleeping and think about the influence you have on them. Make a commitment to change your diet and exercise habits.
Small changes are OK - don't take on the world all at once. But stick to it. And when you feel your motivation slipping, go for a walk or a bike ride with your kids. Right now they will appreciate the time with you, and later they will respect the example you have set for them.
It's never too late to start.