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Our little ones are watching our every move. Their ears are wide open to everything we say and we are their biggest examples. One of my biggest goals in my life is to provide Brooke—my 2.7-year -old—with a healthy example concerning exercise, eating and what I do and say. Here are eight things that I have been trying to do to help her to grow up healthy, with a positive body image.
I love to involve her in my workouts! I think the highlight of Brooke’s week was going to the track with me the other day. She loves to be outside moving her body just as much as I do. She loves doing burpees (she modifies them) and getting on my back as I am planking at home. She sees how happy a good workout makes me and we have some fun conversations during these times together. Kiddos seeing us make time to take care of ourselves is key! Give them opportunities to exercise with you!
I pay attention to how I look at myself in the mirror. Sure, there are days where I just don’t feel good about myself, but I do my best to not act on those thoughts because Brooke watches my every move. Even though she is just 2, she sees how I view myself. Kids pick up on whether we are looking at ourselves with confidence or if we are frowning at the image that we see while picking at our ‘problem areas.’
I try to always have fruits and veggies stocked at home. I also make them part of most meals. She sees me constantly eating them. I think that is what grew her love for broccoli.
We also have treats together! I want to show her that there aren’t “bad” foods. I want her to know that we can have treats in moderation too! I’ve never been a fan of cutting out food groups. I want to let her try a variety of foods without placing guilt words to them.
Related: 25 Reasons Why I Run
I cut out negative talk. This one has been scary for me but I am sticking to it. Brooke and I spend a lot of time with other women. Every now and then the conversation with friends turns to dieting, what parts of their bodies that they would like to change and how they wish they could just lose a certain amount of weight. Anytime this happens I kindly ask them to stop talking about themselves negatively because Brooke’s ears are wide open. The more our little ones hear us talking about ourselves poorly, the more they will adopt the same habits and thoughts about themselves.
I try to find a way to have Brooke at my races! I think it is so great for her to see everyone out there working hard, smiling and moving their bodies. Races are such an exciting environment. I love her to see people exercising and trying their best!
I keep setting goals and in this case, running goals! I want to show Brooke that no matter how old I get, I will continue to set running goals for myself and work hard to achieve them. I want her to learn that it takes dedication to reach our goals and that we can do hard things.
Related: Creating A Positive Body Image
I rest. It is easy for me to fall into the trap of more miles equals more smiles but I want to be a positive example of recovery too! I have one or two days of full rest where I don’t run or cross-train. I want her to see that exercise is awesome but resting is also necessary! I want her to learn the importance of letting our bodies recover properly!
You are doing an amazing job with those little ones! Keep up the hard work!