The Domino Effect of a Weak FIT Area continued...
The unhealthy choices continue, and the effects multiply. Because she doesn't feel good about herself, she turns more and more often to unhealthy comfort foods and to time in front of the TV instead of being physically active with friends.
Do you identify with any piece of this story? A child has stress. Her response is a bad mood and choices that don't do anything to effectively ease her stress in a healthy way. Without her stress getting addressed, combined with ineffective and unhealthy choices, her stress builds.
If steps aren't taken right away, this downward spiral with Sarah's fitness will continue. The longer it goes on, the harder it is to undo -- for the child and the parent.
However, by setting realistic goals and making just a few small, consistent changes, a family can turn it around. And because the FOOD, MOVE, MOOD, and RECHARGE areas of life all influence each other, taking action in any one area will have a positive effect on each of the other FIT areas. And that can help turn the tide toward a healthier way of living.
The Positive Effect of a Strong FIT Area
There are many ways a family could respond to the above situation to get on a healthier course. For instance, Sarah and her parents could start getting her fitness back in check starting in any of the FIT areas. Here's how:
The family communicates about kid-sized stress. Sarah's parents notice that she seems anxious and in a bad MOOD before school. They offer her suggestions to help her MOVE to burn off some negative energy:
- A morning walk with the dog
- Walking to school
- A quick, active video game
- Stretching with mom
Or Sarah could talk with her parents about her school and home stress and how it puts her in a sad or bad MOOD.
Sarah's parents notice she seems to be eating too much FOOD. They ask her if anything's been troubling her and affecting her MOOD. Realizing that Sarah is winding down from her school day by using food, she and her parents explore together healthier ways for her to RECHARGE. They discuss after-school activities, from dance classes to piano practice, as possible ways to help her relax in a healthier way than eating.
Sarah's parents notice weight gain. Sarah's parents may not recognize the signs of stress and overlook Sarah's down MOOD, but they may take note of her extra weight gain. In response, they could start paying a bit more attention to her FOOD. For instance, they could put healthier after-school snacks within easier reach for Sarah. And they can stop bringing home sugar-sweetened beverages that tempt most kids.