When Azita was just shy of a year old she had her first major temper tantrum. Believe it or not, it was over a set of hand weights. She didn’t want to go to sleep. She wanted to play with some dumbbells.
Which is how I snapped one of my favorite pics ofÂ all time…
Since then, her favorite “toy” has become my aerobic step. Many a night I will find her standing on it, stomping her feet and doing a little dance. It’s pretty damn cute, and like most things in my life it gets me thinking.
Let me tell you a little about life as a young fatty. It sucks, as you can probably guess. Aside from the discomfort and embarrassment and all that, you are under the ever-watchful eye of just about any adult you meet. They watch what and how much you eat and how much you move or don’t move. I remember many times being forced into exercise classes I just wasn’t interest in attending, and there were quite a few times when I was forced out of the car on our way home from school or work and told to run alongside down our street so I could get some exercise.
It was humiliating, and I’m honestly not sure why my parents would think that was the solution. They never exercised. I don’t think they even owned sneakers, and they were also overweight. And, does “do as a I say, not as I do” ever really work?
I think not. It is our responsibility as parents to set a good example, and my personal history makes me particularly concerned that I set a good example in the food and fitness arena.
This means that Azita sees me workout for an hour (or sometimes more) 5-7 days a week without fail. Sometimes I workout to a DVD in our living room. Sometimes we go to our condo’s gym. Sometimes I put her in the jog stroller and she comes along for the ride. Regardless of the circumstances, though, she sees that I make time for exercise, and that I truly enjoy it.
In these early years it’s so hard to tell if you are making a difference, but hoping that I am doing so is what gets me up at 5:30am to workout. This morning I got enough encouragement to keep me at it for years to come.
As I reached the home stretch of a particularly hard workout, Azita came running into the living room with a cheerful “Hi!” Then she picked up a 3 pound weight, lay down next to me as I did some abs and proceeded to do her toddler version of my favorite arm exercise — a French press. Every once in a while she’d set the weight down and kick her legs up and down in the air as she attempted to mimic the reverse curls I was doing.
It was freakin’ adorable. Hands down, the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. The ensuing laughter knocked the last bit of sleepiness out of me. The best part was that she was sporting the biggest, toothless smile you can imagine. She was having fun. And that not only gave me the warm and fuzzies, but it also gave me the boost of confidence I need.
I am setting a healthy example for my daughter, and at that moment this morning as we both pumped a little iron on our living room floor, I knew that it will all pay off. Azita’s already given me the downpayment.