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The Children Are Watching

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Ethan Quant. Photo: Shawn Hanna/Tribune Staff

Health coach Ethan Quant, of Elite Wellness Solutions, has succeeded in his weight loss journey and now wants to share his methods with the Bahamas in an effort to foster a culture of wellness and conquer the obesity epidemic.

As a parent, one of my proudest moments was when my then six-year-old daughter Becca said from the back seat of the care, "Daddy, you went from A to I." Of course I had no idea what she meant, so I asked her. She said, "you went from FAT to FIT." I was thrown completely off guard. But it was one of the first times that I got confirmation that she was watching. I know we always hear that our children watch us, but having her confirm it for me made me even more aware of that fact.

It's so important for us to set good example for our children. Especially when we are talking about health wellness and fitness. With childhood obesity being a huge issue here in the Bahamas, parents are on the front line of this very important fight. I know it's hard balancing giving our precious kids what they want versus what they need, however, we have to try and do our best. Below are a few things that you can do to at least start creating a healthier environment for our kids.

1. Become committed to improving your own health wellness and fitness

As I said before, kids really watch the things that their parents do. So if you want healthier, happier, more active children, you should take a look at yourself first. Is your lifestyle consistent with wanting to be healthy, well and fit? Do you have a balanced diet, are you getting enough physical activity and rest, do you make time for yourself? These are all things that are consistent with a healthy and fit lifestyle and these are things your children are definitely watching and learning from you.

2. Have open and honest conversation

Kids aren't dumb. So even if you are struggling with your own health, wellness and fitness journey, you can share that and be honest with your children about the challenges you're facing. Explain to them why it's important for you and them to ensure that a healthy lifestyle is a priority. Explain it in terms that they can understand. You will find that no child wants their parents to be unhealthy, so make sure they know what it means to be healthy versus unhealthy.

3. Make small changes over time

I hear from parents all the time that they tried to give their kids "healthy foods" and the child rejected all attempts. Just like I advise my adult clients to make small, incremental changes, the same applies for children. Don't try and go from fast food every day to salad. That would cause anyone to stand up in protest. Focus on making small changes with food and physical activity, just be sure to be consistent.

4. Try a variety of things

It's important to try a variety of things to see what your child likes and dislikes, so try lots of different things. This includes trying new foods, and new ways of incorporating physical activity into the regular routine.

5. Make it a family affair

Be sure to involve your kids at all aspects of the process. Take them shopping with you; let them pick out the fruits and vegetables that they want to try. Let's them help prep and cook the food. Also, make physical activity a group activity. Nothing says family fun like going outside and being active. Think of fun and cool games that you guys can play that requires you to move.

Remember, if you need help with this or any other aspect of your health, wellness and fitness journey, feel free to reach out to me directly.

• If you need help navigating any part of your health, wellness and fitness process, you can contact Ethan Quant at ethan@elite-wellnesssolutions.com or on Instagram at @ethanquant.

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