Healthy Family Challenge

Meet the Avaglianos

The Avagliano Family

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.”

Better-Health Hurdles:
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.

Meet the Lehmans


The Parents: Tiffany, 39, mortgage underwriter; Andy, 45, building engineer
The Kids: Anna, 9; Jack, 6
Home: Des Moines, Iowa
Current Stats: Tiffany, 250 lbs and 5’3″; Andy, 257 lbs and 6’2″
Goal for Anna: Quit looking to food as her comfort and reward
Goal for Jack: Eat more veggies and less fast food

Why They’re Ready For The Challenge: Though Tiffany logs all her food and four weekly workouts on, 100 pounds stand between her and a healthy weight and lower blood pressure. “I’ve dieted on and off for years, losing about 10 pounds each time,” says Tiffany. “Then something comes up, like a stressful day with our son, who is autistic. I overindulge and the weight comes right back!” And she’s not the only Lehman tipping the scales, something that hit her when she saw last year’s holiday photos. “Sure, we all had smiles on our faces, but I was surprised to see how much space we took up in the picture,” Tiffany says.

Better-Health Hurdles
Eating turns into a free-for-all. “This is one of our biggest weekend challenges,” says Andy. “We don’t plan for lunches. Most of the time we go for the easiest route like frozen pizza or fast food, or we have a tiny snack and then gorge ourselves at dinner. We also indulge in beer and wine on the weekend!”
Portion sizes are a problem. “I love the taste of food and want to keep eating,” says Tiffany. “We never measure anything.”
We’re foodies. “When people ask, ‘What’s your favorite food?’ my reply is ‘Yes!’ because we love everything,” explains Tiffany. Topping the list are wine, cheese, bread, desserts and rich meals like steak.

Their Fit Future
Lighten up by 165 pounds. “That’s 50 for me, 100 for Tiffany and 15 for Anna,” says Andy. (Their son doesn’t need to slim down.) “I’ll be 40 in January and I refuse to spend the next 40 years making the same mistakes I made in the first 40,” Tiffany insists.
Teach their children well. “We need to change bad habits we’ve instilled in our kids, like rewarding with food,” reveals Tiffany. “My daughter says, ‘I was really good at the grocery store. Can I have ice cream?’ Or my son asks for McDonald’s if he’s his school’s Superstar of the Day.”
Make fitness a family affair. Being active isn’t a problem for Tiffany, who loves running, weight training and boot camps, or Andy, who walks a lot for his job and does isometric workouts at home. “But I want us to exercise as a family every weekend,” Andy says. “It would be a fun way to get healthy—things like playing outside, going to the park or riding our very dusty bikes together.”

Do you face the same health hurdles? Share in the comments below.

Welcome to the Healthy Family Challenge 2012!

The pressure is on. The stakes are high. The world is watching. Which of these families will win our Healthy Family Challenge 2012? And what can they teach you about getting fit?

healthy family challenge 2012

You have the power to get your family off the couch and into their sneakers. You also have what it takes to help them not just eat healthier–but actually enjoy doing so. Sound impossible? It’s within reach if you follow our Healthy Family Challenge. For the next six months, we’ll inspire two broods to battle their biggest obstacles to eating better, exercising and more. By detailing their every get-healthy move, we’ll show your clan how to do the same. Oh, and did we mention the monthly prize giveaways? In the coming days, check back here to meet our two families and the experts who are about to whip them—and you—into better shape!