I started on this journey pretty much the day after Christmas '09. Before that I was a health conscience mom in many ways but admittedly I was falling short on getting my kids enough exercise. I drove them to soccer practice and I drove them to swim club, but I didn't attack fitness on a daily basis like I should have. Fast forward to today. Our whole family is much more active now, I walk the kids to school (weather permitting), we run/walk to soccer practice, they are in the swim club again so I've committed to taking them to practice plus 2 extra swims during the week, we go to the park more and we routinely walk to places we used to drive to. They are in much better shape than they were this time last year, and so am I. However as I've tried to increase our activity level and be creative with it, I've come up against a few roadblocks I never would have expected. And it occurred to me that this is KEY to how our society has become so obese. It needs to change for all our sakes. For the most part I agree that you have to make this journey without being forced, but it was a very sad moment when I realized that I'm trying to make it happen for my family, yet I seem to be a very odd duck to the population in general.
I just wanted to share some of the obstacles I've come up against and I think paying attention to these things and working to change them is key in this war against obesity we need to wage here in the States.
While my kids are at soccer practice I walk around the field. I cannot tell you the rude comments I've overheard from other parents dissing me. Seriously? They all get that kids need exercise, meanwhile they spend the entire hour of Soccer practice sitting and complaining about all sorts of medical issues and sleep deprivation and where they are stopping to grab dinner on the way home. Good grief. The funniest part is that the kids always have to run and dribble around the field and I chase them and steal their soccer balls. Me, a 40 something year old housewife, imagine that.
My oldest DD wanted to go to a football game on Saturday morning. I normally lift weights at the fitness center on Saturday's so this was sort of knocking into my usual exercise schedule. So I said to her that I would take her if we could walk up there and if I could walk the track around the football field while she watched the game. Okay this isn't the NFL, it's 4th grade football, and the tickets are free. Technically the track is open to the pubic during daylight hours and the stands are elevated about 6'-0" above the track. I was very careful to walk next to the stands so I would not block the view of any spectators. I in fact was also watching the game and cheering on our team. About 6 laps in to a 30 lap walk a pair of rather large men approached me and told me that I couldn't walk the track during a football game and that I had to leave. Excuse me? I'm a tax payer in this community and not only did I vote to build the track I've paid for part of it. But not wanting to make waves I walked around the sidewalk on the outside of the track until I finished. I complained to a couple of the moms sitting near my dd, but that was it. Well word of that altercation some how or another reached the ears of the superintendents wife, who was shocked and ticked off to no end, she also happens to be in fantastic shape. Needless to say the public is now welcome to walk the track during any event save a track meet.
Yesterday morning I took my kiddos to the pool for the Early Bird Lap Swim at the Community Center which happens to be located at the local High School. It was great and they love it. I know that it sounds crazy to take the kids swimming at 6:30am, but the deal is the kids have to get everything ready the night before and they have to be out the door by a certain time or we don't go. It's amazing what a little motivation does for that "get ready for school" routine. As we were getting dressed to leave the dd's and I were accosted in the locker room by a pair of senior citizens. They were incensed that I would bring my children to "Senior Lap Swim" and that I better not do it again. Excuse me? I very politely explained that we have a family membership and therefore welcome to use the facilities anytime the pool is open. Believe me when I say they were downright rude to us. The funniest part was that one of them said, "This is and always has been Senior Swim and you are clearly no Senior". If I hadn't been so angry I might have laughed, I'm really not that far from being a senior...
The schedule clearly states that 6:30am-9:30am is "Early Bird Lap Swim", and the girls and I were swimming laps, and in parenthesis right next to those words are very tiny letters that say (Seniors Swim Free), and that is why some folks refer to it as "Senior Swim". The saddest part is that here I am, trying to teach my children to have healthy lifestyles, basically to aspire to be fit and active for life... sort of like those two mean ladies in the locker room. Yet I'm treated like dirt for it. Talk about ironic.
Wow...great post, even though its not great that you have to go through all of that it seems on a consistent basis. As far as kids not getting enough exercise, I see this all the time. There is a park a block from our house, as well as one a few blocks from the in-laws place, and so many times on beautiful days, we see it empty. Yes, you might see the stay at home mom pushing her kid on a swing but you don't see older kids playing tag, basketball, etc.
My husband and I are in our 30's and we are shocked at this since we both lived outside as kids. We wanted to be outside playing with our friends and our parents never had to "make" us go outside. Obviously we didn't have cell phones, Facebook, etc then but there still were video games and movies. But it didn't run our lives.
Both my husband and I still try to remain active...he plays basketball one day a week in a league and before I really started working out to lose the extra weight, I was doing soccer. And like you walking laps or swimming, there are more people who sit on their lazy butt complaining about what hurts, that they are fat, blah, blah, blah and then never do anything about it. And to make themselves feel better, they have to put people like you down for your efforts of wanting to actually have a great life, instead of just dreaming about one.
I love that this never stops you...yet encourages you to do more even. I want to instill this same kind of attitude and lifestyle into my kids. Even though we only have one daughter at the moment, she goes outside everyday...I get a nice walk in and she gets to play in the park. And the older she gets, you better believe she is not going to be one of those kids glued to the tv or computer. Sports, fun outdoor activites, etc will be the norm. I hope that when she is my age and see's that life is so much more fullfilling when you feel good about yourself and have no health issues, than just sitting on the couch stuffing your mouth full of food and be disengaged from life all together.
Good for you and keep up the good work! Your words helped motivate me today and I hope others as well.
Started AGAIN after Baby #2: 8/1/2012
Height: 5' 6"
Starting weight: 180 lbs
Current : 153
Lbs Lost: 25
Lbs Until 1st Goal Met: Success!!
Lbs Until 2nd Goal Met: Success!! Lbs Until 3rd Goal Met: 3
Goal #1 165 by 9/17/12 - First Day back at work
Goal #2: 155 by 10/17/12 - Daughter's B-Day
Goal #3: 150 by 4/15/13
Goal #4 - 145 by 6/1/13
Goal #5 - 140 by 7/1/13
Goal #5 - Ultimate Goal - 135 for Life!!
Unfortunately this is the world we live in. On Saturday I babysat my friend's daughter who is 8 years old. She is a chubby little girl and is constantly asking for sweets. I took her out for brunch to a restaurant that is about 4 blocks from my place. She asked me if we could drive there because she said she doesn't like to walk. I told her that we were not going to drive 4 blocks and look for parking. She got a little whiny but I told her that I thought walking was fun. She said, "Walking is NOT fun Aunt Rose. Walking is stupid."
Walking is stupid? I am going to sound like an old fart but what on Earth is our youth coming to?
My pet peeves are developers that don't put sidewalks in, the lack of bike lanes in my town, and insurers that would apparently rather pay for obesity-related illness than for preventative care like gym memberships and nutritional counseling.
In the long run, almeeker, you will be laughing last.
And now that you don't have to be perfect, you can be good.
Walking is stupid? I am going to sound like an old fart but what on Earth is our youth coming to?
Have you ever seen the movie Wall-E? That's where we're headed.
In my original post I didn't even get started on the food they serve in the school cafeterias !!! I'm determined to see some improvements in that arena, but there is a lot of red tape, and my scissors and thumb nails are only so big. I have volunteered to organize the snack bars for the swim club meets, so at a minimum I'll have some control over that.
It's funny that you bring up Wall-E because I actually did see that movie and in fact brought that same little girl to see it back when it came out! I actually reminded her of it when she informed me that walking was stupid. She laughed and said that while she never wanted to be like the people in Wall-E, she thought Bolt was a much better movie. I never realized how hard it can be to reason with an 8-year-old.
Here in the city I live in, we have plenty of bike lanes and a bike rental system that has become wildly popular. I am a member myself even though I own a car. Basically you pay a yearly fee, or per use. You get the bike at one of the hundreds of docking stations spread out across the city, ride it to your destination and then dock it at another station closest to your destination. This system is now popping up everywhere. It's amazing because if you purchase the key like I did, it actually keeps track of your mileage and how much gas you've saved. Over the summer I made over 70 trips on these bikes for everything from visiting friends, going out to dinner, going to appointments, etc. They're awesome bikes, with baskets in front and I love cruising around the city on one and best of all there's no need to look for parking. Hopefully they will keep gaining in popularity!