Real Healthy Parents
My names Andy Scott, I’ve been a qualified health and fitness coach and nutrition advisor for over 28 years.
I’ll tell you how I got in to Nutrition and Weight loss coaching.
A long time ago when I was a very young man, I realised I was putting on weight, not a nice feeling for someone who had always been active and played sport. Eventually I decided to do something about it.
Being a young lad and not having much of a clue as to what to do I took the Forest Gump approach! I ran… and kept running. After a while I noticed the size of my belly was going down, encouraged I ran more, soon I was running every day then sometimes twice a day.
And guess what? …………….It worked! I lost weight. Eventually I lost all the excess weight and was happy. …’’ This is so easy I thought. I’d made it. ‘’
So what did I do then do you think? ……………….. Yep I cut down the running and vowed never to get fat like that again.
That running spree had begun in May and it had taken about four months to reach my goal, but by the following New Year… as I’m sure you could guess, I had put all the weight back on, it seemed to come out of nowhere, it just crept on over Christmas!
At this point I had still been running a couple of times a week, I enjoyed it and thought it would keep me slim.
Now in the New Year like so many others, I made my New Year’s resolution to lose the weight again, but this time not through running, it had worked and I did enjoy it and would keep it up but I realised that as a sole means of achieving and maintaining weight loss the amount of running I had to do every day was not practical.
So I decided to go on a diet. ……… Calorie count to be exact.
I counted calories like there was no tomorrow, it didn’t occur to me to change what I ate I just ate less, I had one of those little books to check the calories and I weighed and recorded everything.
Obviously I lost weight. It didn’t take long until I was back to slim.
At this point I ceased calorie counting, it worked but like running over an hour every day it wasn’t sustainable. Calorie counting is just too time consuming and if you miss one thing off, the whole day’s plan is ruined. But after doing it for a while I became a lot more aware of what the high calorie foods were and I was still running a couple of times a week so I thought I would be ok.
And guess what? …a few months after stopping I noticed the belly slowly coming back.
Is there no end to this? I thought
Now I thought, I could run more or count calories again, but I’ve tried those and they don’t seem like the permanent solution.
AT THIS POINT I REALISED I WAS IN NEED OF HELP
I asked friends, I read loads of magazines (no internet in those days), I sounded out the local gym but all the advice I was getting was confusing me, I didn’t know where to start, and I didn’t trust any of the advice enough to risk months of my time without knowing I would get permanent results.
So I enrolled at college to study Health and fitness and learn the truth.
At college I learned how simple it is to lead a healthy lifestyle and manage your weight at the same time. I studied hard and passed all my exams, even exercise to music.
From there I went on to work in the fitness industry teaching health related fitness and weight loss.
Since then using these simple principals I’ve helped many clients successfully lose weight and continue to stay slim, fit and healthy.
Now-a-days I walk down the street and see a world where the population is becoming less healthy year on year, and now it’s even affecting children.
And this has become my mission, to ensure the next generation of children live healthier lives with less cases of obesity. And ensure they can grow up free from the worries we have about our weight and health issues.
About 20 years ago my father passed away 2 weeks after being diagnosed with cancer, probably caused by his diet and lifestyle. Obviously this was a very sad time for all the family, however the saddest memory that I have of the time is of seeing how upset my Grandma was that her son had passed away before her.
I know how she felt, in 2009 my own son Joel died after an accident, he was age just 19.
As a parent it’s the worst thing imaginable, so imagine how it tears at my heart when I read that the generation of children being born today (including my two grandchildren) will be the first generation to be outlived by their parents.
This sounds drastic but predictions are that their diet and lifestyle will shorten their life expectancy.
It also highlights how important diet and lifestyle are in childhood, habits formed then can be set for life.
As parents, shouldn’t it be us who takes responsibility for our children’s health? Rather than relying on others like schools and the government or even expecting the food industry to only supply healthy food.
A diet of packaged, branded processed food, lack of fresh produce and inactive lifestyle will be responsible for the premature death of our children and grandchildren unless we do something about it now.
So will you join me on my mission to improve the diet and lifestyle of all our children and grandchildren and give them a better future?
Please sign up to get our latest news at www.realhealthyparents.com, join our Facebook group at ……………………………..com, and engage with us on Twitter @rhealthyparents.
Although as a parent the health and nutrition of your child is your responsibility we do have a common enemy. That is the giant food corporations and supermarkets that have the power to heavily influence what we eat and how we live our lives.
Their advertising does work.
This is a hard concept to accept, as we all like to believe we are in control of our own minds, but there have been many studies that prove that the advertising and promotion methods used by these companies and brands works.
The best proof though, is knowing the fact that these companies are driven purely by profit and they will do anything to maximise this profit for their shareholders, think of the horse meat scandal.
Their advertising and promotions managed to trick the public in to purchasing and consuming processed foods containing horse meat for years until it was discovered.
They wouldn’t spend a penny on advertising and promotion if it didn’t work.
They don’t have any interest in your health or your children’s health, they are simply driven by profits.
I used to think fat people had no will power and it was their fault they were overweight and unhealthy.
I have since come to realise that this is often not the case.
There are bigger powers at play than any individual’s willpower.
If we can grow in numbers and unite we could campaign for;
These are all good ideas and may all play a part, they are things we can campaign for, but this is “food politics” and like all political change it will take a very long time.
It seems like the real power here is held by the food industry, the producers and manufacturers organisations, and supermarkets.
At the moment it seems that no matter how well intentioned the initiatives from government are they end up suiting the processed food industry and not the consumer/us and our children.
What if we could tip the balance of power in our favour, after all it’s our money that becomes their profit
Each one of us can make a difference, we can set the right example for all our children, if we educate ourselves on:
If we work together and share what works for us and what doesn’t work for us we can shape the environment in which our children grow up.
We can change it from one where obesity and junk food are accepted as the norm to one where there is far less risk of obesity, type two diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.
We don’t want these for our children do we?
Anyone who has children will know how hard it is to get them to do what you want them to, especially if you tell them it’s good for them.
But children learn best by following the example of others, especially those they look up to and respect, when they’re young the most powerful example comes from their parents, siblings and family although their peers and even cartoon characters can have an influence (see junk food advertising).
When I was a kid cartoon characters ate real food like spinach or carrots or honey but now they seem to eat pizza, fries and cookies.
Around the time when I first got fat I had just come out of the Army, and on arriving home a neighbour stopped me for a chat, asking how I was etc. and reminiscing about the old days.
One thing she told me has really stuck with me, when I was a small kid the neighbours used to have a nick name for me, that name was “Anyway”. The reason for this…
Apparently whenever anyone told me something, like one of the other kids had got something new or been somewhere exciting,
I would reply “Anyway my DAD can… do this, my dad has got that, my dad has been to” etc.
Just like any young kid my Mum and Dad were my heroes and I wanted to emulate them, copy them and be like them.
Obviously when we reach our teens a switch is flicked, our parents are idiots and we want the exact opposite.
But by then the habits are formed. Teens may drift away from healthy living for a few years, but most will return to good ways if that was the norm when they were growing up, and in the future they’ll pass those good habits on to their own children.
The example we set for our children of healthier food choices and lifestyle will become their norm, and be what they always return to.
The same applies if we set an example of poor choices, these too can become set for life or at least become very difficult to change once they become adults.
If parents eat a poor diet the child will have a poor diet and is likely to carry that in to adult hood with all its associated health risks.
If parents are inactive their children are less likely to aspire to be active and unless you’re living that active lifestyle your kids won’t really believe you or anyone else who says they should be doing it.
If parents are overweight their children may not aspire to be fat as they grow up but, they will be accepting of it, and when it happens to them, they won’t realise they need to make changes because it’s a threat to their health.
One of the main factors causing conditions like coronary heart disease to run through families is their inherited diet and lifestyle and not necessarily their inherited genes passed down through the generations.
Don’t think that these parents are doing this willingly, they don’t want these conditions and they don’t want them for their kids.
But if you regularly bring takeaway food home for dinner, don’t be surprised when as adults your children do the same.
It’s not ignorance either, as we’ve discussed the food industry uses advertising, product placement, branding and sponsorship to make awareness of their products unavoidable, and they sell them with such conviction that they make sense even to people in the know.
Advertising on TV, on Radio and Online would have you believe that every family in the country is having pizza for dinner on Saturday evening and if you don’t you’ll be the odd ones out.
Just look at how the food industry has hijacked our 5 a day, a simple system that was intended to get us eating real food, whole fruit and veg. Their promotions and advertising would have us believe that fruit flavoured yogurt, concentrated fruit juice and even pizza are one of our 5 a day.
I have this vision that, united together we can significantly reduce ours and our children’s exposure to the risks from these diseases that are so closely associated with our lifestyle.
No matter how healthy or unhealthy your lifestyle now you can do things to improve.
If each of you adopt a healthier diet and lifestyle for yourself, by doing the things we mentioned earlier:
You will make a difference to yours and your children’s health
If you join the Real Healthy Parents Facebook group to communicate with and support others doing the same thing, and you spread the word and invite others in to the group, and we create a community, a network of likeminded people, sharing their experience and supporting each other.
Then your children will grow up in an environment where healthy eating and lifestyle are the norm.
We can all learn simple easy ways to plan our diets and lifestyle so we can easily manage our own weight in a healthy way and make fad diets and weight loss foods a thing of the past.
Imagine what freedom there will be for your children when they grow up in a world where that constant worry about losing weight and going on a diet doesn’t exist.
I’m spreading the word, giving presentations in schools and to parents groups and promoting this message online and in any way I can.
Ask me any question at www.realhealthyparents.com and I can provide resources and all the advice and support needed for you to improve yours and your children’s nutrition and fitness. Just let me know what issues you need help with.
If we all, with our families, buy, cook and eat real food, and if we adopt more active lifestyles, it will become the norm and our children will follow that example, they’ll live healthier longer lives.