Weighing In: It might be fall, but don't fall into bad health habits

Published on Saturday, 16 August 2014 19:40 - Written by Coshandra Dillard cdillard@tylerpaper.com

It’ll be back to school soon for parents. For some, it’s a return to the “rat race.” Helping with homework, packing lunches and shuffling to afterschool activities can leave parents overwhelmed — and often too overwhelmed to look after themselves.

It then becomes easy to forgo workout plans, pick up fast food or prepare a dinner that’s quick but cheap and processed.

I’ve been preparing myself for this challenge. School days are usually nonstop for me, and when the hamster wheel stops, I don’t necessarily want to think about healthy eating or exercising. I want to relax.

If you’re on a weight loss journey or trying to make healthy lifestyle changes, I know you’d like to have a well-run household, but with your health intact.

Now is the time for organization.

Without having some structure and consistency, not only will you risk slacking on your health goals, but you also endanger your immune system. Here are some things I have in mind as the first day of school approaches. I hope they can be of help to you as well.

De-clutter. Researchers have shown that the brain cannot function well if your environment is cluttered. If there are old magazines, bills other things you no longer need, throw them out. With the new school year, parents will bring in new school supplies, back packs and clothes. Throw out or give away old stuff kids no longer use to make room. Reorganize the things you do need so that they take up less space. Having an airy space works wonders.

Make schedules. I’m a list taker. If I make a to-do list, or schedule, I’m more likely to do those things because I feel productive when I cross stuff off of that list. This is especially important if you have children who have extracurricular activities. It may be a good idea to create daily and weekly charts for chores, errands, dinner time and exercise. It may seem monotonous, but it’s better than being worn out and unhealthy.

Sacrifice something. No one person, or even a couple, can always do everything perfectly or appease everyone. Yes, we can have it all, but not at the same time. You may be able to do a lot of things well, but some things will be ignored, hence, the importance of prioritizing. Health has to be a priority, so that may mean sacrificing screen time at home or getting up earlier, even if you’re not a morning person.

Everyone must be on board. It’s not good enough to “diet” and workout alone. The entire family should have the same, or at least, similar lifestyle. It’s defeating to eat a healthy dish, but give fried nuggets and soda to the children. I understand the financial limitations and also the need to get small children just to eat. Think about it. We don’t want them to face the effects later in life that we adults are dealing with right now.