The legacy of wellness

by Brittany Gilbert

I’ll be honest. Working out and paying attention to what I eat is my least favorite thing. I would much rather soak up every free second by sitting on the couch while watching Netflix and eating Doritos, especially considering free time does not come often for parents.

It seems like you can never get ahead, as most of the time a trip to the gym or even a home workout means some form of housework is being neglected. Most parents will agree that the struggle is real, however, I know for a fact that it is worth it to make time for your health.

Reasons to take care of you

You’ll feel better.

Blood pressure, pain management, weight, sleep — you name it — healthy habits can mostly likely improve it. I’m not a doctor, so don’t take it to the bank, but most common ailments can be helped with diet and exercise. It may take some strategic planning and a specific protocol, but I’ve personally noticed the reduction of prescription medication whenever I started intentionally working on my wellness.

You’re setting an example.

I have several friends whose children participate in youth triathlons and will sign up for races whenever available, and it always amazed me that they would show such initiative. But then it dawned on me that they see the example being set by their parents.

When you make health and wellness a priority as a family, your children will make better choices out of habit. If junk food isn’t readily available, but fruits and veggies are, your children are more likely to choose healthier options outside of the home as well.

It’s definitely not convenient for me to work out at home with a preschooler and toddler running around, but sometimes it’s my only option. I try to remind myself that even when they seem to be getting in the way by “participating” with me, I am setting an example and teaching them that exercise is important.

Also, take the time to talk to your children about food choices. My kids would definitely rather have cookies than carrot sticks, but now they know that cookies have a lot of sugar that will not help them, whereas healthier options will help them grow big and strong.

Personally, for me, what the Bible says about taking care of our bodies is also very important. Rick Warren says, “God created it. Jesus died for it. The Spirit lives in it. I’d better take care of it.”

The journey to wellness that I have been on the past few years has taught me that the choices I make toward food and exercise can either break me down or build me up. This is especially important considering the toll that having two children in the span of a few years has had on my body.

It has become so important for me to understand that taking care of myself is about so much more than me, but also about the legacy I leave for my children. I want them to see me as someone who cares about my health and as the person who taught them what it means to take care of themselves by taking care of me.


Brittany Gilbert is a former FACS teacher at Maumelle High School. She and her husband, Levi, have two sons and live in Conway. Brittany can be reached at [email protected].