Ride to Life: a no-nonsense program for braking your family’s cycle of obesity and having a healthier, happier life by Dr Gary Leong

To start this new year 2021 on a Healthy direction, let’s go back to the beginning and reflect on where we are now and where you want to be at the end of the year – New Year’s resolutions often get lost in the day to day stress of living a family life, but if you focus and remember the “Why” – i.e. the most important reason you want to start making some micro-habit healthy changes for you and your family, it will make it easier.  So… let’s get started!

Stage 1 – Get honest: understanding where you are and why

Honesty is the first chapter of the book of wisdom.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) – Third President of the United States of America

No journey can commence without a clear understanding of the start point. Before we do anything then, it’s vital we understand where you and your family are right now. The purpose of getting honest is critical if you, your child and family want to reclaim better, healthier lives.

In stage one, you will:

  • Learn the importance of getting honest about the reality of your child’s situation
  • Review your family’s state of health, taking an integrated approach and reflecting on the various aspects that contribute to the overall picture.

Where are you?

If I were to see you in my clinic, the first thing I would ask you to reflect on is where you and your family are right now. Even before I asked about hopes for treatment, understanding the current situation is a vital first step. To help with this exercise, I have developed a simple questionnaire that uses a one to five scale. Among other things, the questionnaire asks questions about:

  • Your family’s current level of stress
  • General fitness, i.e. how physically active you are as a family
  • Food practices, including shopping, cooking and eating
  • Daily and weekly routines, taking into consideration the demands of family life
  • Sleep habits, understanding that quality rest has important healing power
  • Social supports, looking at who you turn to for emotional and practical support.

The Getting Honest Questionnaire

This first part is for parents and caregivers. There is another section for children later in this chapter.

The Getting Honest Questionnaire requires that you score a response to the following questions from one to five. Do this by circling your response. As you answer the questions, enter the number that corresponds to your answer in the tally table below. Once you’ve answered all the questions, tally the scores and that number will be a measure of your family’s health and wellbeing. The questionnaire score is just an indicator about priority areas you might turn your attention as you move towards a healthier life for your family.

For further information about Dr Gary Leong’s Ride to Life book, go and join the 2020 Family health challenge community on Facebook and go to the website at: https://2020familyhealthchallenge.com where you can get a free copy of the Getting Honest Questionnaire to complete and reflect upon as you begin your new healthier journey with your family. 

Also see some inspiring family stories of healthy change happening right now at https://www.fabtobefit.org.au/incredible-stories – the Fab to Be Fit Foundation website which I ask you to support as well.

Gary Leong

Prof Gary Leong is a paediatric endocrinologist based in NSW and is passionate about educating the community about prevention of childhood obesity and has written a book called, ‘Ride to Life’.

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