If I didnt get fit....my children would always think that being healthy is not something anyone should strive for, and being the typical inactive "couch potatoe" is normal.
My adult children are mildly overweight, which is the norm in this country. I don't think they are anywhere near being diabetic, but it always worries me. We think a size 12 is perfectly fine for women, and yet its quite large if you look at any European country. They are "normal" by these sickly American standards. They do not exercise, and since gym has been cut from the educational budgets, they don't even know how to play sports...but rest assured, they do know the rules simply by watching television on the couch every night. My daughter is consumed about her appearance. She is mildly obsessive about her weight, and goes through stages of loving the attention that she gets about her breast size, but also stages of hating her legs, arms, face. She simply doesn't appreciate everything her body can do for her. It is not a healthy view of her own abilities/body. This sometimes leads her to be a bit more depressed than she otherwise would be. She seems to thrive on male attention as a result, to counter this negative worry, and I fear that she is being more risky in her behavior than is healthy. This worries me, especially when she's away at college. She has put on additional weight due to the emotional stress of being away from home, and I fear her health is being negatively affected.
If I stayed where I am (now)... my children assume that being active and healthy is something we all simply do, not the minority. Its been a part of their entire lives and they wouldn't know what to do without!
My adult children are active and healthy. My daughter is a freshman in college and runs throughout the week, and she plays college softball on a partial scholarship. My son is a senior in high school and runs track. They are both athletic and have high self esteem. My daughter is proud of what her body can do. She seeks admiration of her speed and agility, and as such, has a strong sense of selfworth. She is interested in boys, but only mildly, as she has her own pursuits and if the boys can't keep up, she won't stop for them! She eats healthy most of the time, and indulges some of the time. She is accustomed to competition that sports has taught her, and enjoys the comradarie of being a part of a team, but also loves to excel individually as well.
Now, I focus on my daughter in the above analogy, simply because girls worry me more than boys. Boys are socially more active, and they obsess less about their weight and appearance than women do. Young girls are also more prone to view their body's faults than view the amazing things their bodies can do! There is also a significant correlation between a young girl being in athletics and achieving high academics; likewise, there is a correlation between athletics and less teen pregnancy and less drug/alcohol experimentation. Given this, its now more important than ever to be strong, fit role models for our own children!
Of course, some may say that the results of not being healthy are far from normal, and the results of being fit are atypical. But, the statistics support these two views. Being fit and active, especially as a young woman, encourage a girl to see herself for more than just her gender. I'm so fearful that she will only seek out positive attention from others, through any means necessary, rather than find pride in herself. And, if me getting fit and staying fit helps support this view, I will do it as much as humanly possible. I simply need to remind myself that my two little ones won't be so little soon enough...and I only have so much time to mold them to be healthy adults.