My youngest cousin was recently diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. Even though I knew she was struggling a bit with her weight, I was still shocked that she could be diagnosed with this disease since she is only a young teenager. After doing some research, I was frightened by the seriousness of this diagnosis to my cousin; according to St. Joseph’s Hospital Cardiac Center, if left untreated, diabetes can cause serious consequences such as heart disease, neurological problems, and even amputation. Since I like to keep myself healthy and strive to be a healthy weight, I have take it upon myself to work with all of my cousins to make sure that they are on track to live healthier lives so we never have to deal with this again.
A Healthy Diet
One of the best prevention factors to diabetes is to have a healthy diet. I have been trying to be more mindful of what I eat for a while now, but for most of the kids, this was not the norm. Since my cousin’s diagnosis however, we have made some major changes to their diets. During the holidays, with so many things going on, it seemed like we were eating out all the time. When we went out to eat however, we opted for healthier and lighter choices on the menu. Most restaurants actually have light options available that are under a certain amount of calories, so it really helps us to stay on track.
Another really helpful change has been to switch out the bad snacks for healthier ones. My one cousin is amazed at how much she loves watermelon and she literally eats it at least once a day. We took this opportunity to “experiment” with fruits and veggies to see what kinds of delicious and healthy snacks we could create. The kids love peanut butter and raisins on celery (“ants on a log”), making yummy smoothies from fresh fruits and veggies, and eating frozen yogurt with fruit and nut toppings for dessert. Being open to trying new things and making creative snacks and foods will help children make the transition to healthier living.
Even though we’re doing our best to eat healthy, we’re also trying to be more active as well. Since the weather is currently cold where we live, we tend to do most of our exercising indoors. My cousins have a few games and I have a couple myself, so it’s a lot of fun working out together and laughing in the mix. We also like to watch videos online that we’ve found free on the Internet. These are great because they’re done by professionals and you don’t even have to worry about buying the DVD itself because it’s available free to you.
When we do get outside in the snow, we like to do skiing and sledding, which burn a lot of energy when doing it for hours on end! It’s also fun to build snow forts and have snowball fights, which give us a workout without even realizing it.
However, when the weather was warmer (and for those who live in warmer climates) we liked to play outdoors all the time. We like to go swimming, take nature hikes, practice yoga in the lawn, and just play games such as soccer, kickball, capture-the-flag, etc. that get the kids running around without them realizing the workout they are doing.
It has been such an amazing journey to do this with my family. I think that too many kids nowadays are living unhealthy lives. After all, it can be so easy to sit at the computer and not do anything when your entertainment is there for you. It’s important for parents/families really to teach their kids about getting healthy and eating better foods. It can start right at the dinner table and the healthy habits may even (hopefully!) last that child a lifetime. Exercising together as a family is also great for bonding and really getting to know each other when you’re all trying to get healthier and live longer and happier lives.
Carolyn is a 20-something year old with a passion for life, fitness and overall well- being. She is an avid cycler, golfer and has been known to bust some serious moves on the dance floor. Check out Carolyn’s blog athttp://fullonfit.blogspot.com/!