By Danielle Wirick, MS, CSCS, FMSC

It all started with a client telling me what she overheard in the bathroom stall at another gym she goes to for classes. An overweight mother was telling an overweight daughter that she had to take the exercise class or she wasn’t allowed to eat.

Excuse me?

The girl was young, so who feeds her? Who controls the food in the majority of her environment? I was in absolute shock when she told me the story. How many times have I heard “It’s just one day, so the kids can have a treat.” or “They’ll just burn it off”? And then when things get out of control, who suffers the consequences?

But that story takes the cake. Do you want to make a bet that the young girl was given junk food sometime that day? And who knows what kind of heavily processed dinner she was served. And then to deny her food because the exercise class she was in was too hard for her and she didn’t like it? What a horrible way to make healthy attitudes towards food and exercise!

Let’s face facts, there’s always a reason to celebrate… Christmas, Easter, The 4th of July, you won the game, you played the game, candy rewards at the kids school, birthday parties, family gatherings, play dates, you had a hard day, you had a relaxing day, blah, blah, blah. So as you can see it’s never “Just one day” and it’s never easy to “burn it off.”

The beginning of the year is here and it’s time to embrace a healthier lifestyle for your entire family. A healthy life is not a punishment; it’s a reward. You will realize what food actually tastes like again. You will want to be more and more active. Your energy level will increase. Your kids will do better in school and better in sports, and everyone will have better control over their emotions and self-esteem. You will be proud of how you look and feel. Your doctor will be thrilled and people will start asking, “How did you do it?” And most importantly, you won’t be going through what that mother and young girl are going through right now.