We Thrive Together…..Together Counts + Giveaway
What is the most powerful force on the planet for healthy weight change? Is it the fad diets or gym memberships? No! Together Counts believe that the most powerful force on the planet for healthy weight change is the power of teamwork – of making a commitment to get active and healthy together.
Across the country, families are taking a pledge to do just that. They’re eating meals together, they’re being physically active together, and they’re keeping score. Together Counts is providing people with the inspiration, the platform, and a record of their progress. The objective is to get as many people as possible to take the pledge to live active and healthy lifestyles together.
I’ve had some great experiences with my boys while enjoying the outdoors as a family. My 3 boys and I love to go on bike rides through the neighborhood! We play sports outside, including basketball, soccer, and baseball. Not only does it give us a chance to enjoy the fresh air and get some exercise, but it gives me a chance to talk with them and find out how their day is going or how they’re doing in their classes and with friends.
When we’re outside, my boys love to show me their new tricks. They are so proud of how fast they can ride on their bikes, or how my oldest can dribble the basketball around and under his legs. They love to show me how high they can bounce the ball or how far they can kick the soccer ball. They especially love it when I bounce the ball to them or kick the ball to them.
Another way we spend time as a family is by eating together at the dinner table. I try to eat as a family with everyone at the table for all three meals, but dinner especially. When I was growing up, my sisters and I would eat our meals at the counter while my parents ate standing up or in front of the television. It was at my dad and stepmom’s house that we would eat together as a family – all at the dinner table. It gave us a chance to talk about our days and bond as a family. I want my boys to experience the same benefits I received from eating meals with my dad and stepmom. To spice it up a little bit, we even like to eat some of our meals outside!
Here is a little more information about the importance of being active and eating meals as a family, courtesy of the Together Counts Campaign.
Families that eat together and share regular physical activities are happier and healthier. These are valuable and important activities for any family, but given the time constraints people are under, any change we encourage needs to be simple. It also needs to begin in the home, where we have love, support, and accountability. We can only do this together.
Q: Why the focus on family?
The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation conducted a study of over 500,000 conversations online about childhood obesity. Moms saw family as a force for change which can create lifelong active healthy habits for all family members. We believe one of the most important ways in which families can accomplish change is through energy balance – balancing calories in and calories expended through physical activity. They achieve this objective by returning to the basics: more family meals, activity together as a family.
It comes down to this: A family meal is a teachable moment – an opportunity to pass on healthy habits to children. When families eat together, parents get the opportunity to teach the most effective way possible – by example, on a regular basis. When families eat meals together, parents have more control over the quantity and quality of their kids’ food. And kids look to parents for guidance. When they see their parents eating a balanced diet, in sensible portions, they get a life lesson – one that is reinforced daily.
An article in the online publication Huffington Post also made an interesting point. It pointed to the research that indicates regular family meals lead to healthier eating, and suggests this may be because “once parents take the step to mindfully shop, prepare and serve dinner, they also start making better health choices for themselves and their families.”
Many benefits, immediate and long term.
For example, the value of family participation in physical activities has been pointed out in expert papers, such as Make Physical Activity a Family Event, by academics at University of Northern Iowa. (http://appliedsportpsych.or/Resource-Center/Parents/articles/familyevent.)
The paper points out that children model their own behavior on the adults in their lives. And actions speak louder than words. Children are more affected by what they see their parents do than what their parents say.
Moreover, young adults often credit parents as sports or fitness role models.
And let’s not forget, shared physical activity teaches life skills and team work. And it’s fun – so kids like it!
Q: How will the Together Counts program help families lead healthy and active lives?
By making people feel they are part of a larger effort, one that offers help, support and encouragement, through the Internet (www.togethercounts.com) and other communication vehicles.
By pledging to eat family meals and engage in physical activity together, families will get started on a process that gives them tools to track their progress and compare them with the results in their communities and across America, one that offers rewards and incentives to offer positive reinforcement. And the website will provide families with a mechanism for logging their progress, tips and advice that fuel participation, a link to Facebook, and a toolkit (including sample banners, and sample copy for blog posts, and Facebook/Twitter updates). A mobile app will give participants access to log and track their progress anywhere.
After learning more about the Together Counts Campaign, I think it’s a great way for parents to become healthier and grow together as a family! Teamwork can build one both emotionally and physically. Be sure to check out the program today.
1 lucky reader on The Mommy-Files will win a $100 Sports Authority gift card!!!
WIN IT!!! (MANDATORY ENTRY)
– Tell me in a comment a way that you and your family can be more active and healthy together!!!
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– Contest will close at 11:59 p.m. PST on Wednesday, June 8th, 2011! Any entries after this time will be deleted!
– Contest open to U.S. residents only.