Outside of marrying the love of my life and having my children this whole process has been one of my best accomplishments. The past six months have personally touched my soul and I am forever grateful to Family Circle in giving us this once in a lifetime opportunity. In my last post, I recapped the first three months of the challenge. Things got kicked up a notch for the last three:
Challenge 4: Sleep Tight.
A good night’s rest is so vital in weight loss and over all health. If you don’t get the proper amount of sleep it could lead to weight gain, lower your immune system so you get sick or even impair your judgment. We won that challenge and we won new beds for the four of us which we’re loving. They are so comfortable!
Challenge 5: Get Fit.
Exercise goals were set by our personal trainers at Gold’s Gym. Anna was challenged to do an at home routine and lose a few pounds. Andy and I were pushed further than we thought possible and met those challenges and we even broke a couple of personal records! This part of the challenge was also especially hard for us as we had the most difficult time in our parenting lives. It made us come together and the four of us grew. While the road was hard it was a journey worth traveling and made all four of us better for the struggles. Because of us doing so well and the A-team (the Avaglianos) doing the same, we both got to choose a piece of training equipment courtesy of Dicks Sporting Goods. Andy and I chose the elliptical.
Challenge 6: Slim Down.
This month’s goals were just for me and Andy. It was to lose as much weight in a healthy way as possible and get points by doing activities together as a family, staying true to portion sizes and not using food as a reward. Find out how we did when the challenge ends, next Tuesday.
What did you love most about the last three challenges? Post a comment and tell me!
Let’s face it: We all have days when we just don’t feel motivated to exercise. But if everyone in the family is committed to exercising, then you’ve got motivation to show up at the gym. One way you may not have thought of to work out: Signing your brood up for a small group class. Here, some suggestions from Tilton Fitness (where kids 13 and up are allowed to break a sweat) on their best classes to try:
What it is: In this class, you’ll use TRX straps (the popular suspension equipment designed by Navy Seals) followed by a 30-minute spin routine.
Why it’s great: You’ll get a double shot of cardio and strength training—and the bands will give you a truly great total-body workout. Plus, the exercises are easily modified. Although everyone can be doing the same movement, they can perform it at varying levels of difficulty.
What it is: Trainers will use the High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) method—which is a short burst of physical activity followed by a rest period—to build muscle and boost strength.
Why it’s great: Since you go as hard as you can, you’ll rev your metabolism and burn calories long after you leave the gym. But like the TRK/SPIN class, you can easily dial down the intensity.
COMBAT BOOT CAMP
What it is: With its mixture of plyometrics, calisthenics and weight training, the popularity of boot camp classes shows no signs of slowing down. The activity is part cardio, part-strength training, and a lot of fun.
Why it’s great: You’ll build strength and hone your flexibility, but the best part of the class might come from performing the kicks, jabs, and punches themselves—how’s that for a confidence booster?
(Photo via Tilton Fitness’ Facebook)
As I reflect on the past 6 months of my life I realize how blessed we are—blessed to have been chosen to participate in this challenge. It has been an amazing ride and we will miss it dearly. As we wind down, I thought I’d give you a little recap of the experiences we had and what we learned:
Challenge 1: Eat More Fruits and Veggies.
We loved all the food sent to us from Melissa’s produce and we realized that we were not eating anywhere near the amount of strawberries, oranges, yellow carrots, blueberries, kiwi, kale, you name it! as we’re supposed to. We were introduced to an amazing variety of produce that is out there. This was the month we learned about quinoa and we totally fell in love with it! I also learned that I love lentils, particularly in my salads. So yummy.
Challenge 2: Healthy Hydration.
We are big water drinkers. We love it. Can’t drink enough of it. We also learned that we probably enjoyed wine and beer a little too much as well. We were challenged to drink less wine and beer and to really focus on staying hydrated with water. We learned how much better we felt when we cut back. Clean and pure. Not that having a glass or two of wine (same with beer) is a bad thing but everything in moderation.
Challenge 3: Get Moving.
This was my favorite at the time. I jumped for joy when I opened the package that had our Fitbits in them. I have wanted one of these for ages but just didn’t want to spend the money for one. Moving is my favorite thing to do. If I don’t move it then I can be a bear to be around. It also brought competition with in the 4 of us to see who could have bragging rights with how much we moved. We won a gift certificate from SpaFinder which we’re really enjoying.
Which was your favorite of the first three challenges? Post a comment and tell me!
The challenge is ending soon, but I’ve asked the Lehmans to continue making goals for themselves. This is important because it will help keep them from slipping into old habits. For instance, recently I’ve noticed that the Lehmans have been eating fewer fruits and vegetables—almost down to the level they were eating at the start of the challenge. That’s not unusual. In fact, most people fall back into old habits if they’re not focusing on healthy behaviors.
If that sounds familiar, try setting monthly health goals for yourself. Do this as a family rather than having just mom or dad decide what the goal will be. Or, offer up several goals and let the family choose which one to work on. Then, have the entire family come up with ways to implement the goal.
So if your monthly goal is to eat more fruits and vegetables, ask your kids how they could help in that goal. Keep them involved throughout the month. Let them pick out some fresh produce at the grocery store. Invite them to help with meals, washing carrots or mixing a salad. Kids will be much more likely to get on board with a health goal if they are actively involved in planning and implementing it.
Keep a list of your family’s health goals so you always have one or two to work on. Once you’ve met the monthly goal, keep tabs on it. A few months later, check in and see if you’ve kept up the healthy changes or slid back into old habits. Remember: Making healthy changes is a process. It takes time and effort but eventually those changes will become part of your lifestyle.
Through her Des Moines-based nutrition company, SK Health Communications, registered dietitian Stephanie Karpinske writes and develops recipes for magazines, books, supermarkets and food companies. She is the author of Read Before Dieting: Your 4-Step Plan for Diet Success and writes a blog about healthy eating, foodnuti.com. She’s coaching the Lehman family through the six-month Healthy Family Challenge.
We tapped the experts at Tilton Fitness for easy ways to keep your metabolism running at top speed.
- Park on the opposite side of the parking lot. The farther you are from your destination, the more steps you’ll have to take. Commuting via train or bus? Get off a stop early and walk.
- Do some sit-ups in the a.m. Turn on the shower and do the exercises as the water is warming up. You’ll wake up faster and be stronger.
- Knock out some push-ups on the sink. The bathroom workout continues.
- Go for a walk on your lunch break. You’ll log extra cardio, but the time spent outside can help you feel reenergized too.
- Take the stairs. The elevator is convenient, but there’s a reason the Stairmaster is so popular.
- Swap your office chair for a Fitness ball. Doing so engages your core muscles.
- Take a stretching break. It’ll keep you moving. Plus being sedentary all day increases your risk for heart disease and being hunched over a desk can hurt your posture.
- Stand on one leg while cooking. You’ll strengthen your quads and hamstrings—but just be careful!
- Do a few sets of squats while watching TV. Stand in front of the couch, lower your hips until your butt grazes the seat and then return to standing. Repeat during the commercials.
- Walk the kids to school. It’s an easy way to log extra exercise for the whole family—plus, you get to spend more time with them!
What’s your favorite way to sneak in exercise? Tell us in the comments below.