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Parental Motivation

At Empower, we understand that being highly motivated to lose excess kilos and live a healthy life is one of the keys to being successful on any weight loss program. We have also seen far too many people start a “diet” and give up after a few months as their motivation levels fall.

Of course, there are almost as many reasons for people wanting to lose weight as there are carbohydrates in a loaf of bread! People may wish to improve their physical appearance, to improve self-esteem, to overcome food addictions, to improve their overall health, to overcome depression …the list is endless.

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If you really want to succeed, the trick is to make sure that the reasons you are making the changes are strong enough to keep you motivated, even when the going gets tough.

Here is one reason that a successful dieter recently gave us…

"I always thought of myself as a good mother. I did everything in my power to give my kids what they needed and wanted. I spent time helping them with their homework. I ran them everywhere they needed to go. They lived a carefree and very enjoyable life, with many more comforts than I had as a kid. Often I would go without something to ensure they got the best. At the end of each day I was exhausted, but I went to bed happy because I knew I was a great Mum.

It came as a huge shock to be told by a medical specialist that I was killing my kids. That everyday, I was poisoning the people I loved most in this world. That my 17 year old son could soon be blind, and may need a foot amputated later in life. That statistically, my 14 year old daughter has an 80% chance of being obese for the rest of her life, and that her life is likely to be full of ill-health and frustration.

You see, our family has always been a bit overweight. I always kept the pantry full of the things my family wanted to eat. I prided myself on cooking a hearty meal for my husband and kids. I just didn’t realise the impact that my “kindness” would have on my health, or that of my children.

12 months ago, my son was diagnosed with Type II diabetes. It seems that without knowing it, I had been killing him with kindness. My daughter – who I always considered an OK weight when compared to her friends – was actually considered obese. The more we looked into it, the more horrified my husband and I became. The truth is that we were not good parents – we were actually terrible role-models.

Since then, I have lost more than 25 kilos. My son’s diabetes is under control, and my daughter is in a “healthy weight range”. We now have a rule of no food in front of the TV. We go for walks at night to interesting places whenever we can. My husband runs on a regular basis, and my son sometimes joins him. We always have our evening meal at the dinner table now. Rather than watch TV, we chat about nutrition. At the beginning this was hard because neither my husband nor I knew much about nutrition. We bought a few books, searched the internet and slowly educated ourselves. In turn, we were then able to pass this information onto our kids. Now it is our kids (who definitely understand how important this is) who come to us with health information.

We cannot undo the damage of the past – damage that we didn’t even know we were causing. But at least we know we are now being good role models for our children and encouraging them and teaching them to live a healthy life. There is nothing more motivating than looking after yourself to ensure you are giving your kids the best start you can."

If making the changes for yourself has never been motivating enough in the past, perhaps it is worth considering making the changes to save your children from a life-long battle with weight or worse – a battle with failing health.