Would I be assuming a lot if I said, “Most parents have a running list of things they hope their child won’t ever have to face and fight to overcome?”
Two years ago, we began noticing a few behaviors in our youngest boy that raised the warning flags in our home. His asthma was getting worse and his mood began to swing from sensitive boy to emotional meltdown in 0.0 seconds flat. His clothes no longer fit him and he was struggling to button any of his shorts. He was tired morning, noon, and night. He had little to no desire to be active. Riding bikes and scooters was out of the question and the suggestion to participate in such activities would bring him to tears.
I started to feel heartbroken for my boy. I projected my past onto his future. My son was fighting the beast that I worked the past 25 years to overcome. Food had a hold on me for much too long. I battled an eating disorder for 20+ years. I was insecure about my weight and it affected every part of me. Was my worst nightmare was coming true in my youngest baby. Would he spend his whole life struggling to be healthy and have a healthy self image? Would he develop destructive habits to cope with life like I did? We decided it was time for us to fight for our lil mister because he was too young to realize he needed to be on the battlefield.
Trust me when I say WE WERE WILLING TO TRY IT ALL!!!! In the back of my mind, I could hear the nutritionist that I had at the ripe ol age of eight telling my mom, “No birthday cake at parties, no sugared drinks of any kind. We need her body fat percentage to be 9%, not 11%.” A bunch of “no-no’s” is all I had as a kid and it didn’t help me one bit. But was this the road we were supposed to travel? Talk about fear gripping me by the throat. I felt stuck. I questioned my motives. Was this about him or me?
I have been a health coach for three years now. I have helped hundreds, if not thousands of people take steps towards a healthy lifestyle. Why did I feel like helping my son was going to be the toughest battle I’ve faced?
BECAUSE IT IS. It’s personal. He’s my baby. After doctors visits (not much help there), we decided to stop messing around and call it what it was. ROUND 1. It was fight time.
We focused on health as a family. This has never been about “looking good.” It’s been about feeling good on the inside. I don’t teach dieting. To this day, I hate the word, “NO” which is how most diets feel. So instead, we gave Conner a say in what he ate. We showed him all the foods that were good choices and helped him understand all he could eat throughout the day. He lit up when he realized he could still have cheese and crackers. And it wasn’t just about food.
We bought him a Fitbit to track his activities. We turned it into a competition with mom and dad. He had friends at school helping him run laps at lunch so he could get more steps in during his day than we did. We got more consistent with our at “home workouts,” gym classes, and we recently turned our garage into a gym. It’s about options people!
It is a family affair. We eat clean together and we get sweaty together. We are not perfect, but hey, who’s is? I don’t fight for his image, I fight for his health. Childhood obesity is on the rise, and I REFUSE to allow my son to be another statistic. Our boy knows we are in his corner. He understands we love him the way he is and want him to live a long and healthy life. He is freakishly strong (he’s proud of that by the way) and totally has me beat on tricep pushups. He is going to make a great football player one day. And after this short time I am hopeful his future will be a lot less painful than my past.
It brought me great joy yesterday when he begged to go to the park and run with our pup Milo. He also tackled his brother a few times, but that’s another post for another day. He is up and awake early and the last to want to go to bed. These are the best kind of victories; NSV(Non Scale Victories). He hasn’t used his inhaler for almost a year now and the mood swings are less and less frequent. The other day at my in-laws our boys and their cousins put on a show for us. Conner was upfront most of the time which is a shift from his normal quiet approach to family show time. My mother-in-law noticed it saying, “Conner has just come to life!” That’s what it’s about right? Enjoying the life God’s gifted us.
Am I proud? HECK TO THE YES! My boy is a BEAST and I will continue to fight for my health so he will always continue to fight for his. That’s love!