November 2008 Jimmy Page Fit 4 Ever

"But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” – Joshua 24:15 (NIV)

Back in September, I had an opportunity to attend a sneak preview for the reality show “The Biggest Loser: Families.” What makes this season unique for the popular program is that it is a test between teams of married couples and teams of parents and children.

As the contestants were selected and introduced, you could see their obvious jubilation. They made statements like, “Nothing is going to stop me,” “I want this more than anything,” and “I will do whatever it takes!” I couldn’t help but wonder how long that excitement and determination would last once the training and sacrifice part began.

In addition to being dangerously obese, the contestants had several things in common:

1. The kids had followed in the footsteps of their parents, and the couples had gained weight together. This is actually a common experience, as families tend to create common habits and a culture that either promotes or defeats a healthy lifestyle.

2. Being overweight had become accepted and then celebrated, even though they all expressed tremendous inner pain and shame for their outward appearance. Over time they seemed to take on a new identity that they were just the “big-boned” family.

3. The weight gain was almost always a cover for some emotional pain, the response to stressful situations, or rooted in relational issues. There was always more to the story of why they were so unhealthy.

4. The weight gain hadn’t happened overnight. It happened a little bit at a time until the idea of getting healthy seemed impossible! Many of the contestants reflected on all of the small decisions they made to eat the extra cookie or forego taking a walk, and they realized they were going to have to work extremely hard to regain their health.

5. The kids’ efforts had a profound effect on that of their parents. We often think that influence is from the top down, from parents to children, but, in this case, the kids actually pushed the parents to reclaim their health!

Go back and read the verse at the top. I love the example that Joshua set. He put a stake in the ground that his family would serve the Lord—that they would be different.

As a husband and a parent, I take my role as the gatekeeper for my family very seriously. I try to be diligent about protecting my family from influences that may harm them. I also try to do more to show rather than to tell because I know that actions speak louder than words.

I know that my kids will, for better or worse, follow in my footsteps in many ways, and I want to be careful to create a home environment that promotes abundant life and health—mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually.

That is the challenge I give to you this month: to make the same decision that Joshua did so long ago and choose a different path for both you and your family. Create a culture in your home that promotes healthy living. Whether you are old or young, you can take the lead and change your family, knowing that what you decide for your families will have an impact on generations to come!  

Top 9 tips for creating a healthy family environment:

1. Show! Don’t tell. – Be an example and get on the road to better health for yourself.

2. Make one better decision today. – Change something to improve your health that is obvious and let your family know why you’ve made this change.

3. Create a healthy weekly menu. – Writing out a menu that has two or three healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner options makes it easy to shop for and prepare healthy, balanced meals.

4. Fast from fast food. – Avoiding it all together is a great way to make a statement to your kids about healthy choices.

5. Limit TV time. – Television is a huge waste of time, and it builds sedentary habits that will stay with your kids forever. Cut it down to 30 minutes a day!

6. Get outside together. – Use your former TV time to go for a walk, ride bikes, play catch—anything that you enjoy that gets you moving.

7. Have healthy snacks readily available. – Having fresh fruit and vegetables cut up and on the table takes all the guesswork out of what you and your kids can snack on.

8. Clean house! – Get rid of unhealthy snacks and sweets, because, if it’s in the house, it will be eaten!

9. Make dessert a “treat,” not an everyday expectation. – Decide that dessert will be a special thing on Friday family nights only.

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Medical Disclaimer: All information in this article is of a general nature and is furnished for your knowledge and understanding only. This information is not to be taken as medical or other health advice pertaining to your specific health and medical condition. Always consult a physician or health professional before beginning any exercise or nutrition program.