The Parents: Peggy, radiologist, 45; Peter, set designer, 45
The Kids: Michael, 17; Amanda, 15 (Christina, 20, and Katie, 18, aren’t participating because they’re away at college.)
Home: Egg Harbor City, New Jersey
Current Stats: Peggy, 191 lbs and 5’4″; Peter, 285 lbs and 6′
Goal for Michael: Lose the weight he’s gained since quitting football due to an injury
Goal for Amanda: Drop those extra pounds and increase her flexibility
Why They’re Ready For The Challenge: “At work, three people in one day asked when I was due,” says Peggy. “I said, ‘Fifteen years ago, I’m just fat!’” She’s also concerned about Peter, an insulin-dependent diabetic who has hypertension and sarcoidosis, an inflammatory disease. “He needs to change his lifestyle before complications set in,” she says. Peter is also focused on change. “When I finally accepted the fact that I had diabetes, it hit me that I needed to control my eating and exercise so I could decrease the medications I hate taking,” he says. The Avaglianos also want to help their kids. “They don’t have poor self-image, and I want to make sure they never do,” says Peggy. “Getting in better shape is the key.”
★ Excuses never end. “We always find a reason—an upcoming graduation party or birthday—why now isn’t the best time to get healthy,” says Peggy.
★ We’re in a recipe rut. “We’re busy, so I make the dishes that I know even if they’re not the healthiest,” she says. Think tortellini Alfredo or chicken Parmesan. “I’m Italian and I like my pasta along with heavy, creamy sauces,” says Peter.
★ On-the-run eating leads to poor choices. “If I’m working on a show, it means several weeks of 12- to 13-hour days,” says Peter. “I end up grabbing food at the convenience store, or coworkers and I order in.” When Peggy works late or the kids have band practice, dinner consists of take-out pizza or fast frozen meals.
Their Fit Future
★ Discover fat-free fun. “We need family entertainment that doesn’t revolve around food,” says Peggy, who hopes to
find physical activities that they can enjoy five days a week. “Before we had kids,” adds Peter, “Peggy and I did charity
events like the MS 150 bike ride. I’d like to start doing those things again.”
★ Pare down Peter’s prescriptions. “I hate taking my diabetes medication,” says Peter. “I’d love to drop 50 pounds in six months to a year and reduce my insulin intake as a result.”
★ Find satisfying food swaps. “I want us to have the knowledge to make healthier choices on the go,” says Peter. “This includes meals we can prepare in advance and bring with us and details on the best take-out choices.”
Do you face the same health hurdles? Share in the comments below.