In which I discuss a few of my feelings about the word “diet” in our culture and give away $150 to Albion Fit.
Three nights a week we don gloves and winter coats after dinner and pile into the car and head to swim practice at the local YMCA. While my kids swim, I make my way to the glorified “fitness center” where I’ve been lifting weights and climbing faux mountains to nowhere in some effort to expend energy when the air outside is not suitable for my usual fitness exploits: long walks around lakes, bike riding, hiking, intermittent running, gardening. On occasion I even do yoga and Pilates in my living room.
I do it because I get restless in the winter; the grey landscape swallows me whole. I do it because I know firsthand the mental benefits of movement and because I’ve seen the difference it makes in keeping me sane. More importantly, though, I’m trying to instill this practice of movement in my children as a daily part of life.
We’re all bike rides and hiking, circling the lake, canoeing, fishing, and swimming. There are gardens to tend and yard work that involves heavy lifting. We pick berries and walk through the farmers markets. There are bugs to find and birds to identify. Baseballs thrown are switched for soccer balls kicked and then basketballs dribbled. In the winter our hikes are colder. We strap on snowboards and hit the hill. We swim in heated pools and lift weights in the fitness center. We throw snowballs, build snowmen, slide down the largest hill we can find before climbing back up to the top to do it over again.
Society tells me I should talk of low-fat and fat-free food, smoothies, gym membership, and the like as part of the New Year. I think society is wrong. While I embrace the clean slate idea that a new calendar year brings, I don’t believe these detox regimens, fad diets, lifestyle overnight makeovers are healthy or promote the type of life I want to live. Nor are they the life I want to model for my children.
I want to raise my children in an environment where we exercise because we enjoy it. I want to bake cookies with sugar and butter and teach my children how to treat themselves every once in a while. I want them to learn the importance of self-regulation and moderation when they think about the food they eat. They should learn the cues their body sends to signal when it is hungry or when it is full rather than counting calories taken in and expended. I want them to understand the difference between avoiding processed cookies because of chemicals/preservatives added and enjoying one that we baked without guilt.
This obsessive way we treat food in this country, how we regulate not by need but by desire, our inability to find balance in things that bring joy with things that bring health makes me fret as a parent. I watch my children and hope they will learn to live differently than what is being modeled for them by the culture and media around them. For me, that means practicing that behavior at home.
This weekend it meant a short winter hike before grocery shopping and a few hours spent on snowboards. Monday during the holiday off school we made four different kinds of doughnuts as we recipe tested the day away before packing up to head to swim practice. Tonight there will be homemade Caesar salads and math homework.
a : food and drink regularly provided or consumed
b : habitual nourishment
c : the kind and amount of food prescribed for a person or animal for a special reason
d : a regimen of eating and drinking sparingly so as to reduce one’s weight
I don’t want “diet” to be a four-letter word that means restriction and pain. I don’t want “fitness” to be something they dread. A diet is daily nourishment for your body so that you can flex it, bend it, move it. This balance isn’t perfect; however, as with most things worth pursuing, if we work at it we get it right.
Albion Fit has been kind enough to send me a few pieces of their apparel to try out as I attempt to balance my life and are offering some to readers as well. A family-owned company committed to sustainable clothing and fair workplaces, they have a great selection of leisure and fitness apparel for women.
I’ve been enjoying their lounge crop pants, which are the best for transitioning from my home workday to the gym. I prefer the black over the charcoal, but I prefer black in most things. My charcoal waistband is a bit different than the black in that it has an elastic band running through it where the black is just soft, stretchy material.
One of my favorite parts about their tops are the thumb holes that are featured in many of their long-sleeved wear. Both the signature hoodie and the go long crew tees have them, as do many of the jackets and sweatshirts. My hands are constantly cold in the winter, and these help provide that extra bit of warmth as I go through my day. Plus, I feel like a wizard. A true sign of quality clothing: Kiera keeps stealing these from the clean laundry to wear them when I’m not looking.
Today through Wednesday you can get 15% off your purchase at Albion Fit by entering code familyfood15 during checkout. Plus, enter to win a gift card below!