In truth, my wife has always been a more responsible health person than me, and she has become even more so over time. Unlike many these days, she regularly cooks, and she is pretty spectacular at it. She has a gift of taking a normal recipe and putting it on a diet while still having it come out sublime. She's incredibly active with a healthy mix of working out, walking our anxiety-ridden dog and playing lots of team racket sports. If anything, her continuing advantage over me is that she is much less obsessive than I am.
That said, I do understand that with the label of "married to the WW CEO" comes its own set of pressures. I have to say that she handles them very well.
Perhaps a better question, and mostly definitely a thornier one, is this: what about my kids?
I want to takle this topic in two separate posts: one focusing on the good and other focusing on the watch-outs.
First off, for those who don't know me, I have two daughters, now aged 11 and 13 with birthdays at the end of February. They are both incredibly tall, willowy girls who by all accounts are happy and well adjusted despite having a strange man for a father -- their mother gets all credit for they're being well adjusted.
In terms of how they feel about having me work for Weight Watchers, they seem to like it a lot. My youngest daughter routinely wears Weight Watchers logo ware (e.g., "Because it works!" or "Walk-it Challenge"), which I find endlessly amusing. Whenever we have a new TV spot on the air, they definitely make a bit of noise and make me feel good by putting on a good show of support.
|Exactly the way my family looks at me!|
What I find the most gratifying is that if asked what I do, they always respond that I work for a company that helps people. Their understanding of Weight Watchers is that it helps people learn how to become healthier by learning how to eat better and how to exercise more. I cannot think of anything more important for a father than having his kids respect and appreciate his life's work. I don't take it for granted, and it is by itself reason enough for me to come into work every day with a full head of steam (not the angry kind).
I also take some comfort in knowing that my daughters have grown up in a house where they see their parents making good food choices and trying to live healthily. My kids don't live like puritans, and they are wholly unafraid of attacking a pizza or getting their candy on. This said, they already have better eating habits than I did at their age. They are perfectly fine measuring out two pieces of Halloween candy, and being as happy as if they had good sense. Their father would have had a hard time stopping at 15 pieces when he was their age.
I also take some comfort in that they see me exercising pretty much every day. I'm only gone for an hour or hour and a half each time I go, so they are not getting a window into a nut. However, they do see someone who has found a way to work in exercise as a basic part of his life. It's just a normal thing to do. My girls are not yet at the age where "working out" is particularly necessary or appropriate. They get their exercise through sport. However, when they get older, I can only hope that they will have memories of what active life looks like for a grownup perspective.
I write all of this with optimism and hope because I truly believe that as parents, we need to be healthy life role models for our kids. The most important lessons we teach them about food and exercise will be those that they observe of us rather than receive in the form of nagging and lectures. Much of the burden for this role modeling has historically fallen on the shoulders of moms. I believe that dads need to step up just as much. If we as fathers cannot be bothered to seek a healthier life, then why should we ever expect our kids to do so?
In my ideal world, my kids will see me as a father who works for a decent organization that's trying to make the world better by helping people become better themselves. They will see me as a person who strives to be healthy in both his relationship with food and his commitment to activity. If so, I can think of no better reason for me to enter the new week with refreshed resolve to stick to the healthier path.