Do you know why it is almost impossible to lose weight permanently as an adult? Studies show that most of the health habits that you developed during your childhood stay with you for the rest of your life. This is because habits are actions that we perform subconsciously and are very difficult to break.
Even though we currently have over 37,000 fitness centers, our obesity epidemic continues to worsen. In fact the obesity rates in adults have skyrocketed from 27% in 2000 to 39.6% today. By 2030, half of all U.S. adults will be obese. The sad truth is that the health habits kids have are only getting worse.
According to the AHA, “french fries are the most common vegetable that children eat, making up 25% of their vegetable intake” and “juice makes up 40% of children’s daily fruit intake.” Also, about 50% of preschool-aged children are not getting the amount of physical activity that is recommended.
Technology, busy schedules, fast food, and lack of exercise are all factors that are contributing to our obesity epidemic. The truth is teens are learning many bad habits that are very difficult to change.
Too Much Technology – These days, kids learn to use technology at such a young age that they spend their whole lives texting, playing video games, and staring at screens. The problem is that their bodies were created for movement and not this kind of sedentary activity which can lead to obesity.
A Busy Lifestyle – Even though it is better for teens to be busy than lazy, packing their schedule with too many activities leaves little time left for play and relaxation. It is important for kids to have fun and do their own exercise through play while still having enough time for relaxation to avoid burnout.
Fast Foods – According to the CDC, fast-food consumption has increased fivefold among children since 1970. The fact is a diet containing high levels of fat or sugar and few nutrients can cause teens to gain weight quickly. And poor health stemming from childhood obesity can continue into adulthood.
A Sedentary Lifestyle – The CDC recommends that children get at least one hour of exercise daily to remain healthy. Unfortunately, most teens today are sedentary and the more inactive a child is, the greater the risk of many major health problems including diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers.
How Your Environment Impacts You
Our habits drive our lives and there are a millions things that we do every day without thinking. From walking to the store to brushing our teeth, our habits are all part of our daily routine. What you do every day ultimately forms the person that you are. Your life is essentially the sum of all your habits.
Changing your habits and losing weight is a difficult but achievable goal, if you set yourself up for success. However, trying to commit to a drastic change and relying on your willpower alone will not work. The trick to building new healthy habits is to change the environment that is around you.
According to studies it takes more than 2 months before a new behavior becomes automatic. In other words to eliminate or create a new habit it will take the average person about 66 days. It is very difficult to develop a new habit since it takes an enormous amount of willpower to do something for 66 days without succumbing to temptation. As a result, most of our daily lives are made up of the same habits.
Your environment which includes your home, family, friends, location, school, work place, and lifestyle impacts you far more than you realize for better or worse. You simply can not make significant, lasting change without altering your environment. Changing it is the best way to set yourself up for success!
Here are 6 ways teens can change their environment to build healthy habits that will last a lifetime:
#1: Keep some foods out of your home.
There are certain foods like ice cream, cookies, bags of chips, candy, and cheese that are just too tempting and it is best to keep them out of your house. If family members bring this stuff into the house try to get them on board with you to keep these tempting foods out. If they must have these foods in the house, get them to keep it out of sight or in a locked cabinet. It can really be that simple!
#2: Keep only healthy foods in plain view.
It is important that you keep your kitchen organized and only make healthy choices visibly available. You should always have plenty of fruits and vegetables around that are ready to eat in case you get hungry. By keeping your kitchen tidy and putting away tempting snacks, you will be less likely to grab something that is processed, full of empty calories, or quick. Which you will definitely regret later!
#3: Know your weaknesses and triggers.
What foods will make it difficult for you to stop eating once you already started? For me, I always keep cookies, ice cream, and chips out of my house because I can’t eat just a few. Likewise, make a list of all the foods that you can’t stop eating once you start. It is critical that you know what these foods are and try your best to stay away from them as much as possible. Find a healthy substitute for your triggers.
#4: Reduce the amount of food choices.
Sometimes having too much food in the house will get you to overeat. Try to keep your food choices as simple as possible and avoid a stuffed fridge or cupboards that overflow with different foods. Also, to avoid eating more than a serving, limit the meals your family prepares to one serving per person. Once you have your environment under control, you will be amazed how easy it is for you to eat healthier.
#5: Change the people you hangout with.
For better or worse, we become more like our friends and the people we hang around. Since your friends have a big impact on your habits, why not pick people who will have a positive influence? The best way to build a healthy lifestyle and improve yourself is to make friends with positive-minded people you admire and can learn from. Likewise, have the mindset that they can also learn from you.
#6: Read books on nutrition and fitness.
Reading allows you to shape your identity and increase your knowledge base. Surround yourself with books that will help you to make positive changes in your life. Learning about other people’s weight loss stories and struggles will help you to avoid those challenges yourself. There is also a lot you can learn from mentors by reading books and growing from their knowledge about food and nutrition.
Teaching Kids Healthy Habits is Key
If you want to help your child develop good habits that are associated with a longer and healthier life you have to start at a very early age. Being fit is all about learning balance and consistency while having the right guidance and support to be successful. At Kalina’s Fitness, our mission is to give kids and teens (ages 8-18) the tools to transform their lives and build healthy habits that will last a lifetime.
By combining nutrition, group support, and exercise classes, we provide a complete solution that empowers kids and teens to achieve their fitness goals. We are driven by a strong belief that all children deserve the opportunity to realize their full potential. Let us help your teen become an amazing version of themselves and schedule your free class today. Thank you for visiting us!