This post is sponsored in part by United Healthcare but, as always, my thoughts and my opinions are all my own.

When I think back to my childhood, I think of a lot of games of being chased around the front yard, a lot of candy, and a lot of chip-and-can-of-soda combos for $0.50. As in, daily.

In fact, we thought it was harmless. We thought nothing of it. We thought it wasn’t a big deal. And, even when we recognized that I was gaining weight once I hit age 12 and was already an adult size 15, we still continued with our $0.50/day chip-and-can-of-soda combo habit because, hey, it wasn’t expensive and it made me happy.

Out of my teens and into my twenties, our idea of healthy living was doing whatever it took to get down to a healthy weight. So yes, it meant an insane tea diet where, sure, I lost 11lbs in a week and a half, but most of that was simply emptying my bowels and really, I didn’t have to starve myself for that. I could’ve just eaten an extra helping of collard greens if I needed all that.

It also meant going on Metabolife, the super-popular diet pill of the day back then, and being told “Since you’re extra-fat, you should probably take an extra dosage!”

It also meant… doing exactly that. Working at a Famous Footwear at the time, I don’t think I’d ever cleaned a sales floor that fast in my entire life. My heart was racing, my blood was pumping, and I felt sick to my stomach. All that, for a glorified caffeine pill to make me lose a grand total of “zero” pounds in the end. Excellent.

I didn’t actually learn how to eat and how to be active until I learned that my early $0.50 habit had developed into a lifelong habit of using and abusing food. It’s supposed to nourish our bodies, not our emotions. It’s supposed to fill us up, not make us feel loved. Once I realized that, it all became clearer…and now, I needed to learn how I was truly supposed to be eating.

The beautiful thing about learning how to eat and how to live, really, is that I can see reflections of that in my child. I see her looking forward to darting outside to play, or ride her scooter on what she lovingly calls a “run slash ride,” where she rides her scooter and I basically chase her down the street, block after block until we both get in a few miles. I see the excitement in her eyes when she can find a new fruit she hasn’t tried yet, and how she can’t wait to cut it open once we get it home. And, even though I’m always annoyed when she insists on ordering a cream-cookie or an almond croissant, I sometimes marvel at the ease with which she’ll eat half of it and tuck the rest of it away into her pocket “for later.” If I’d only learned that at her age…

What’s even more special about learning how to live well, is that this knowledge doesn’t trickle downward into your offspring – it finds its way upward, too. My mother – yes, the same woman who managed to survive a ruptured aneurysm and emergency brain surgery without even the faintest hint of side effects – has now officially been taken off of her medication for type 2 diabetes, and is now working to get in a little bit of activity with the lovable little Husky she adopted at my request. Although, as she orders her salads from McDonalds, she orders a small fry on the side.

“What?! Baby steps. Get off my back, girl.”

live-well-pass-it-on

So much of this is what United Healthcare’s new “Live Well, Pass It On” campaign is all about. A website that gives you a daily quiz on everything from the fat content in certain foods to just how much sugar you can expect in your favorite treats gives you not only a fun opportunity to learn, but a great way to earn prizes while you do it. Daily, the website gives away $25 gift cards; monthly, you’ll find big ticket items like Ninja brand blenders. Combine that with recipes, videos,

With a focus on making every generation a wee bit healthier than the last, LiveWellPassItOn.com will teach you, make you laugh, and possibly make you a bit richer. At the bare minimum, you’ll think twice before you pick up that pudding cup… and your little one might be watching you while you do it.

This post was brought to you in part by United Healthcare. Check them out at LiveWellPassItOn.Com.