Legacies of Health

I’ve been thinking about the legacies we will leave behind when we have passed from this world. There is an elderly couple in our church who had 5 children. Those 5 children gave them 25 grandchildren. Those 25 grandchildren have given them 23 great-grandchildren, with several more on the way. She and her husband may not have great wealth, but they have left behind a legacy that will continue for generations to come. I’m not just talking about the children, but about their lifestyle, their heritage, their faith.

This made me think of what examples I am passing to my children. I’m grateful I now model the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.  They will undoubtedly make their own choices as they grow and mature, but it is my hope they won’t have to live through the pain and shame I did.  Life as an obese woman was hard. Hard physically and emotionally.

When I was obese I felt a lot of internal guilt with regards to what kind of example I was setting for my family by allowing myself to be so overweight. Every time I wasn’t able to fully participate in an activity the kids were doing, or every time  I made an excuse to sit on the sidelines I felt guilty. I worried they would be embarrassed to be seen with me, or whether their friends would make fun of them for having a fat Mom. And on occasion their friends would ask my oldest, “Why is your mom so fat?”

It wasn’t as though I didn’t try to make a change. Time and time again I tried to lose the weight, get healthy and improve my physical fitness. Time and time again I failed. And every time I felt a fresh wave of guilt. I’d look at my young children effortlessly running around the yard and try to remember a time when I could move faster than a slow waddle. It had been so long since I was able to move freely – unencumbered by an extra 150 pounds. Over and over they’d ask me, “Mommy, watch me! Mommy come play!” I’d watch, but didn’t participate in their fun. I’d shout words of encouragement from across the yard, but stayed in my chair. It took too much effort to move around so I stayed down.

One definition for the word legacy is defined as: Something handed down from an ancestor or a predecessor or from the past.

I’m asked a lot how I have maintained my weight for so long. There are a lot of reasons, but one of them is the fact that I want to leave my children the legacy and memory of a mom who cared enough about herself to stay healthy for them. I didn’t want to leave them with the memory of a mom so paralyzed by guilt and fear that she ate herself into an early death.  Among other things, when my kids talk about me to other people I want them to be able to say, “She loves us fiercely, encourages us in everything we pursue, and cares enough about us to take care of herself.” My kids won’t always make the right choices in every area of their lives – who does? But it is my hope that my healthy example will always be with them in their hearts and in their minds as they grow and mature.

Question: What kind of words do you want your family members to say about youDiane


24 thoughts on “Legacies of Health

  1. Susan says:

    I want them to say that she loved us and was a devoted wife, mom, daughter and best friend. She loved doing her keep fit routine, cooking healthy food for us, and setting the fitness lifestyle example!

  2. vickie says:

    This is one of my very favorite legacy stories:

    Richard Warren
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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    For the musician, see Richard Warren (musician).

    Richard Warren, among 10 passengers in the landing party, when the Mayflower arrived at Cape Cod, November 11, 1620
    On November 21, 1620, Richard Warren cosigned the Mayflower Compact, covenant of equal laws for the ColonyRichard Warren (c. 1580–1628) was a passenger on the Mayflower (old “May Floure”) in 1620. He settled in Plymouth Colony and was among ten passengers of the Mayflower landing party with Myles Standish at Cape Cod on November 11, 1620.[1][2][3] Warren co-signed the Mayflower Compact[3] and was one of nineteen (among 41) signers who survived the first winter.

    His wife’s maiden name was Elizabeth Walker, the daughter of Augustine Walker of Great Amwell, Hertford; she was baptised 1583 in Baldock, Hertfordshire, England, died October 2, 1673.[3] She and his first five children, all daughters, came to America in the ship Anne in 1623. Once in America, they then had two sons before Richard’s death in 1628.[1][2]

    Although the details are limited, Richard Warren and wife, Elizabeth, and children were mentioned in official records or books of the time period.[3] All seven of their children survived and had families, with thousands of descendants, including: President Ulysses S. Grant, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin,[4] astronaut Alan Shepard, author Laura Ingalls Wilder (Little House on the Prairie series), actor Richard Gere, Lavinia Warren, also known as Mrs. Tom Thumb, [5] educator and poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow,[6][7] and the Wright brothers.[1]
    .-= vickie´s last blog ..I am sort of at a loss for what to do (if anything) about this stinky situation =-.

  3. Jody - Fit at 52 says:

    Such a great post Diane & something for people to think about. Sometimes I suggest people even look at “their children & loved ones” as a way to spur them on to weight loss. We always want to get people to do it for themselves BUT if another frame of thought can get them on the road to healthy & a good example for their kids, eventually they will be doing it for themselves too.
    .-= Jody – Fit at 52´s last blog ..Opportunity Knocks or Does It =-.

  4. Emergefit says:

    Funny, I was thinking last night about not writing my blog anymore. I feel as though I have said everything I have to say on the subject of exercise and right-eating. Whether I stop or not, I do not know yet. If I do stop, I made the decision keep the blog active and available as long as I can — because my writings are my legacy, and hopefully they will be seen and be helpful even after I quit writing.

    My family will consider my passion for exercise, and trying to share that message my legacy.

    Very thoughtful today Diane.
    .-= Emergefit´s last blog ..Change: Strength, Strength, And The Difference Between The Two =-.

  5. Debbie says:

    What a wonderful post!! It really made me stop and think. I have been doing the same thing (watching from the sidelines) for so long! I want my family to say I was a strong woman who overcame mountains and loved them completely.

  6. Amy says:

    I don’t have children, but I have a lot of nieces/nephews and young adults in our church that I consider my ‘kids’.

    I want them to know it’s possible to change. Possible to grow. I want them to see the power of dedication, steady plodding.

    Right now, it has more to do with what i DON’T want my legacy to be. (a quitter, failure, lazy)

    I want my legacy to be that of an Overcomer.

    Great question Diane!!
    .-= Amy´s last blog ..Sun May 2 – OH MY BLOG!! =-.

  7. Marcelle says:

    Oh my that is a thought provoking question…I have to think about this one, cant answer it off the cuff..
    I know they already think I’m a survivor but let me think first before I write…
    You are such an inspiration to your family….

  8. Julie Lost and Found says:

    I want my kids to be able to say that “mom was healthy, vibrant, fun loving and full of life; always there for us, loved us absolutely unconditionally, and always encouraged us to love others unconditionally, never settle and to reach for our dreams.”

    I have a lot of work to do!! 🙂

  9. Reese says:

    What a great post. Guilty is a good word to describe how I feel about the things that I miss out/ have missed out on because of my extra weight. I am changing that and my kids are One of my biggest motivators!
    I want them to say that I was strong( in more ways than one) =)

  10. Jenn@slim-shoppin says:

    I think about that all the time actually. My dad died early at age 59 because of smoking and not managing his diabetes, and I think how my life would be different had he made healthier choices. I want my kids to say their Mom ate healthy and exercised so that she could be with them for a LONG time!

  11. Melissa says:

    Reading your blog is a form of therapy for me. I started my own journey in September of last year and have lost 45lbs so far. It is sometimes daunting to know that even though I’ve come so far and am solidly on my way of loosing 50lbs…I still have so much more to go…..realistically….even if I lost another 100 lbs….I would still weigh 149…about 10 lbs over my “ideal body weight.” So, I have another 120 to loose. Seeing how far you have come, seeing the before and after picutres…keeps me going, because I know it can be done! I know, that I CAN do it. It’s only been since January, that I have felt the mental connection that is needed for long term weight loss…..for the first time, I know what it feels like to really be ready for this transformation.

    The legacy I hope to leave my family, is that I loved them more than anything and I loved myself enough to make this life altering change that would provide me the opportunity to be on this earth as long as possible with them. I hope they learn to be strong, to love themselves and others and to never give up, no matter how hard or overwhelming a situation may be.

    Thank you for writing and sharing your thoughts with strangers…you’ll never know how much you have helped others, just by telling your story.

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