As a father of four my time is very thinly spread. I have to get up every day, go to work which is a 2 hour journey. After work I have another 2 hours home which means I get home at about 19:45 every evening. I say hello to my four kids and chat for about 30 minutes before sending my three girls to bed and taking the baby on my lap for his bed time bottle. My wife usually gets home from the gym at about 21:45 and then we watch a little bit of TV together and chat for about an hour before calling it a day and collapsing into bed to sleep and then do it all over again in the morning. With all of that going on, it would be very easy for me to make excuses to myself in order to avoid a little bit of extra effort for my health and fitness. And to be honest, for years I did make excuses. I can’t exactly pin point when, but something changed in me about a year and a half ago. I decided I wanted more for myself. I wanted to look in the mirror and be proud of the physique looking back at me, and I wanted my kids to see that positive change so that they would grow up with it being the norm. So what did I change? I still have a 2 hour journey every morning, but now I get up about 30 minutes earlier so that I can fit in 20 minutes of cardio and 8 minutes ab work. I eat my breakfast, I go to the office. I have my next meal while I’m at the office. I go to the gym near the office at lunch time, so I make sure to get my pre workout meal in while I work as well. After the gym I have my post workout meal. I have another 2 meals at the office over the course of the evening.
When I get home I still have 30 minutes with the kids and then give my son his bottle before he goes to bed and then I have my second last meal. While my wife and I watch a little TV I have my last meal. Just before bed I take the next day’s meals out of the freezer to defrost for tomorrow. The point in me telling you all of this is to show how little and yet how much my life has changed. 30 minutes in the morning, that’s the only major difference to my awake time. For the sake of the benefits it affords my physique, my confidence and my health I think it is a small price to pay. My wife and I also spend a couple of hours on Sunday evenings cooking and preparing our meals for the week ahead, but that’s no great sacrifice. Being prepared and having meals frozen is what allows me to keep my usual day to day stuff going with no major impact. The kids now wake up every morning to see me keeping fit with cardio and ab work. My six year old has taken to joining me with my ab work. I don’t let her do anything too much for her young age, but I encourage her to be interested and take part where she can so that she feels it is a normal thing to do each morning. Our diet has influenced our children’s food choices too. They still have treats a lot like any other kid, but they have good clean meals a lot too. Meals that I know I wouldn’t have even tried as a child myself! (My son stopped me as I wrote this line actually to ask for some fruit instead of the chocolate I offered him as a treat a few minutes ago).
By taking responsibility for my own body I’m engraining in my children’s mentality that healthy eating is good, self control is good, exercise is good. The thoughts of all the children who are learning by example from their parents scares me. Recent data has shown that over 26% of adults in England are clinically obese and ABCnews in America reported that by 2030 over half of adult Americans could be obese. By 2030 that is an entire generation of children who have been learning how to eat and live from obese parents. We can be the parents of the revolution for healthy change, or the parents who teach our children life threatening behaviour. We have to choose soon and we have to make the right choice!