A person making a change towards a healthier lifestyle is often a very big step; making this same change for the entire family can even be bigger. Bigger, true … but certainly possible. A family I know from southwest Michigan is proof that it can happen as all four family members are living healthier and are a bit “lighter on their feet” as well!
Stacy and Zeb along with their children, Noah and Abby, continually wanted to be healthier and were always on diets. Three years ago they decided to end the dieting. They made some lifestyle changes, including making healthier food choices and adding exercise to their routine. With each family member on board, they didn’t find it too surprising that soon after the changes were introduced, each family member noticed a weight loss.
Noah, a wrestler, would often want to “make weight” for his tournament and he knew that dieting was not an option now. But he did know that healthier decisions would help him achieve his goal, so he made simple changes like asking for water rather than juice. He would snack on fruit and veggies, healthy items that he witnessed his parents consuming. Not only were the children practicing healthier eating habits like their mom and dad, but their exercise habits were being shared too. When their parents worked out and enjoyed activities like hiking, bike riding, walking or jogging, the kids tried these activities also. Zeb and Stacy exercise at least 5 days per week now. Stacy shares that the exercise was truly the key to losing the weight as well as feeling much better. Exercise allows her to eat whatever she wants … just not “whatever she wants” every day!
I asked if there were any particular foods that they have omitted now that they are living healthier. “We no longer cook red meat in the house. I will occasionally have a steak or a burger when we eat out, but not too often. We also try to stay away from anything white. WE still have noodles, just whole grain. We still have rice, just brown. We used to eat ice cream and cookies several nights per week. We really only have ice cream every once in a while. And, when I do have ice cream I try to have “Skinny Cow” sandwiches or McDonald’s cones rather than larger sized ice cream treats. We now make our own popcorn and snack on that in the evening when we feel like we need to snack… which is every night! I put 3 tablespoons of popcorn in a brown lunch bag, microwave for 2minutes, 20 seconds. Add 0 calorie butter flavored cooking spray and salt. Great, healthy, low calorie and low fat snack that we all love. We also tend to snack on roasted, no salt peanuts in the shell.”
And like any of us, there are always going to be a few times when the family doesn’t want to exercise. They allow that time and simply have a “lazy day!” That doesn’t happen too often though. Stacy keeps in mind to never give up. There will be bad days, weeks and even months, but it takes picking yourself up and trying again.
Each family member has achieved their personal weight goals, but now they are finding that their goals are ever changing. Zeb is now lifting more weights, focusing on shaping his body and giving it more definition. Stacy achieved her original weight loss goal and has decided to lose just a little more to make running for her easier.
What impresses me is that the entire family has a different attitude towards living the lifestyle of good health. They understand that if they eat bad, they feel bad but if they eat good, they feel good. With Stacy losing 50 lbs. a few years ago, plus an additional 10 lbs. since and Zeb losing around 40 pounds, they have a combined weight loss of 100 pounds! Add the children’s weight loss to that total and you’ll surely agree: a family that practices healthy choices together can expect to live a healthier life together!
What small changes will you be making to start living a healthier life as a family?