“Mommy, can I exercise with you?”
“Of course, Punky.”
My nine year old settles in next to me to mimic the exercises she sees on the screen: the jumping jacks, the lunges, the push ups.
And then she says it: “Mommy, how come my thighs are so fat?”
Now…. if you have a nine year old, you know as well as I do, that some things are said for effect, specifically to gauge my reaction, to push a potential button she has seen pushed before in some capacity. I think I have talked about this before… I have been extremely diligent about avoiding the word fat around my kids. I don’t say it in reference to myself or to other people. I don’t joke about ‘fat days’ or needing to lose my ‘baby weight’. I have never talked about being on a diet.
Once before, when Delaney was only seven years old, she first mentioned a concern about appearing ‘fat’. It so bothered her that she refused to wear a First Communion dress with a crinoline underneath it, lest it make her appear ‘fat’. We talked about it in depth then. But now, two years later…. two more years of magazine covers touting ways to ‘walk your way slim’, ‘drop 10 pounds fast’, ‘get lean and sexy now’ or showing off ‘bikini bod’s through the ages’…..two more years of pre-teen shows making body and weight an occasional topic of conversation, not to mention the chats she might be having with friends…and here we are.
So, I asked, “what do you mean?” I will be honest… my question was intended as a bit of a test: do I have a nine year old who truly sees her thighs as fat, or is she asking a poorly worded question based on honest curiosity?
“Well, they are so much bigger than the rest of my leg, and when I sit down they get even bigger.”
Simply by asking, I knew where to go: “Punky, your thigh is SUPPOSED to be the biggest part of your leg. It has the biggest muscles and is what helps you stand. If your thigh was the same size as your calf, (and if it ever is, I need to know about it) it wouldn’t be able to carry your body or make it possible for you to run, jump and play. You couldn’t play soccer or softball or basketball or volleyball. You would fall down.”
Additionally, this conversation opened the door to something more: my health and exercise. Since I don’t play any of the sports she does, my heart – a muscle in its own right – needs exercise too. That’s why I was standing in the family room right then doing jumping jacks and lunges and push ups: to keep my heart and body healthy.
Since my sweet girl and I are in sync on taking care of our bodies, (you know how I truly believe kids do as you do, not as you say), this keeps the door open to model healthy eating habits as well. I can’t claim my small people have always been the best of eaters (nor do I always get a gold medal) but I know we try. This includes making as many healthy choices as we possibly can. As you know, I have worked closely with Kellogg’s for quite some time and include many of their items in our breakfast routines.
Their latest line of new, healthy products designed for people on the go like me includes, Special K Nourish Hot Breakfast Cereals and Bars. These include a multi-grain blend of superfoods like quinoa, oats and barley, as well as dried fruits and nuts.
There is just something about the flavors: Maple Brown Sugar Crunch, Cinnamon Raisin Pecan, Cranberry Almond…. they simply SOUND like Fall to me, and definitely something that will make sure both the small people and I are nourished for the morning.
For additional healthy food tips, Food Network Star and Registered Dietician Ellie Krieger suggests:
Eat Right, Not Less.
Change for Good. Adjusting your food choices can make simple commitments easier to keep. Opt for one scoop of frozen yogurt instead of three. Or select fresh, crunchy veggies instead of chips with your sandwich at lunch.
Get Those (Whole) Grains. Quinoa is a high-protein option. Prepare it as you would rice. Add it to salads, soups or serve as a side dish. Also, Special K’s new line of Nourish products, offers a great way to start your morning with a helping of quinoa.
Get Your Energy Up. Physical activity works to increase your energy and maintain a healthy weight. Instead of retiring to the couch after dinner, consider heading out for a brief, but brisk walk.
Go Nuts. Nuts, like almonds are an easy (and healthy) snack that can curb your hunger. It’s a snack with a crunch that also has a good source of Vitamin E….. it is easy to see why they are so popular.
Timing is Key. While this has never been my strongest suit, I know it is crucial. Try to east breakfast within an hour of waking up so you can maximze the rest of your day. Make sure there is time in between meals, but not too long. And remember to relax and enjoy
One last thing….since I know you feel as I do about helping people who need it the most, I want to share a little something I think is extraordinary:
While you are contemplating the very best ways to nourish your family – both through exercise and healthy eating, consider this: Special K has partnered with Women’s Health to support the FEED Foundation through the “Run 10 Feed 10” races. Visit Special K’s Facebook page to learn more and to HELP in a matter of seconds. Simply share this post to feed a person in need. Every time you do (share it, that is) a meal is donated – up to 100,000. Think about that – with only a few clicks, you feed people in need.
How about it? A little nourishment for your body and soul….Disclosure: I have been a long-time partner of Kellogg’s and am delighted to feature them again here. As always, all opinions and thoughts shared are mine and mine alone.