Like most people, I used to only think about my health or my family’s health when something happened to affect it. Usually we are busy with getting on with life and only vaguely think about making healthy changes in our diet or finding time to do more exercise than just walking the dog. This means we adopt bad habits and tend to let things drift until a heart attack or some other sudden illness rudely wakes us up. Luckily my realisation that it was time to put our health first was not a horrible illness but a common complaint; teenage rebellion.
My youngest daughter was a surprise addition to our family when I was in my late 30’s. This means that she’s an active teenager now, while I’m menopausal. This makes me a target for her makeovers and enthusiastic save-the-aged health kicks. The standard meals, with which I raised my older two, are no longer deemed healthy enough. My quiet evenings in front of the television are no longer allowed. I am to be a better role model, preferably looking a lot like Beyonce.
I was being dragged into the modern world of vegetarian alternatives and Wii games exercise. For my daughter, this is really only a passing fad, and I will be returned to my role of ignored mother soon enough. However, I remain inspired. A hundred percent vegan diet is not what my family wants, in particular my husband, but I am now introducing healthier eating habits. Pasta and pulse dishes are served. Fresh fruit of all types is bought and eaten daily. Fresh fish, something I’ve avoided for years because of the bones, has found its way into my kitchen and salmon has become a family favourite. Red meat is out.
I left the Wii Zumba program to my daughter and her young friends, and instead enrolled in a gym with exercise programs more suited to my capability. These I enjoy three evenings a week. We are allowed to wear track suits and groan and moan. Importantly, the aim is on fitness and well-being. We are encouraged to concentrate on our flexibility and stamina. One weekly session of exercise is held in the swimming pool; these seem to be particularly popular. I certainly find that I feel better over all and have a lot more energy. Most of the other members attend on a regular basis and everyone is very friendly.
My husband is mostly enjoying the changes that I’ve introduced into our diet. I try to use food products that are recommended as beneficial. I buy walnuts, hazelnuts, brazil nuts and almonds to replace his bags of salt and vinegar crisps, and as my daughter is getting her father a Wii male fitness program for his birthday, I imagine that he will soon be joining me at the gym.