“Healthwise at Home,” Ensign, Mar. 2004, 72
“I love to eat! I hate to exercise!” This is how I used to think and act. But at age 29, after a visit to the cardiologist because of heart palpitations, I was forced to improve my poor health habits. To help me succeed, I involved my family in making some necessary lifestyle changes. The following two tips helped us to get started and stay on track.
Become healthwise. For a week we had daily, short lessons about a variety of health topics, including the Word of Wisdom (see D&C 89). Rather than focus on the “thou shalt nots,” we talked about the good foods Heavenly Father has provided us. A subsequent discussion of the food pyramid also helped us to better understand what constitutes a well-balanced diet. Using pictures from magazines and hand-drawn illustrations, we made a list of good and poor food choices to aid us in planning healthy menus. We also recorded what we ate for a day and discussed appropriate serving sizes for our ages, genders, and activity levels. We then discussed how many calories our favorite physical activities burned.
Work together to accomplish your goals. Dietary changes such as eating low-fat popcorn instead of buttered popcorn seem more doable when we have agreed to them in advance. Regular exercise also becomes easier when we help each other. I can enjoy a daily 30-minute brisk walk because my husband watches the children when he returns home from work. Sometimes I walk alone, but I also invite each child to walk with me once a week to spend one-on-one time together. And our children are encouraged to play outside more to boost their activity levels.
Though we are not perfect in our efforts to live a healthier lifestyle, we are improving overall. I feel less stressed, our family is happier, and I believe Heavenly Father is pleased that we are trying to take better care of ourselves.
Tacy L. Botkin, John Day Ward, La Grande Oregon Stake