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.
When we first began this challenge I had a pretty good idea of why I was doing it. I want the luxury of being able to go to White House Black Market, buy a dress and look amazing and then take Andy out on a date. Really, I wanted to go into any store that doesn’t sell anything larger than an XL, shop and have the clothes look good on me. I was tired of having clothes be a means to cover the excess energy–that is Lass’, my personal trainer at Gold’s Gym, term for fat.
But when I thought about it, I realized the true driving force behind our participation in the challenge was the legacy we leave. (What were we teaching Anna and Jack about how to live when they become adults?) Not to mention overall health. (There are so many illnesses that can be avoided just by being in a healthy weight range.) As I’ve shared before, my mom had a heart attack and had to have triple bypass at 60 and she’s in good physical health. Andy’s mom passed due to high blood pressure causing a stroke. Both of these women are in a normal weight range but were not very healthy. I’m happy to report today that my mom is very healthy, watches what she eats, works out and is living a full life.
Even if you can’t be a part of a challenge like this, think about your family health history and the legacy you want to leave your kids. Then sit down and write down some health goals. Don’t leave anything out. Be as vain as you want to (ie. I want to look hot for my upcoming high school reunion). But also set some practical ones that will uplift your family. Create a timeline and then get going.
What are your family’s get-healthy goals? Post a comment and tell me!
People have asked me: “How do you do it?” My response is: “How do you eat an elephant?” I usually get blank stares back followed by an awkward silence. Then I add: “One bite at a time.”
For me, the question isn’t “How do you do it?” but “What do you do once you’re done?” I know all too well about setting a big goal, achieving it and then finding myself in the middle of the road thinking, “Now what?” All the glory is gone and just stuck. This happened to me in a very big way last year.
Back in 2010, my good friend Jenny encouraged me to go out on a freezing cold October morning and volunteer for a marathon. My job was to take off racing chips and hand out medals to the finishers. I saw the joy and pain in the runners. I also noticed some women who I was shocked to see finishing this race. I had just started writing my own blog because this weight loss journey I’ve been on has been on track for years. So I decided shortly after the marathon I volunteered at that I was going to do a half marathon. In October 2010 I was tipping the scales somewhere on the 270 range. I’m only 5′ 3″ so all that on my frame is way too much.
In the year I trained for the race I got down to 227. In the process of training I developed what is called jumpers knee and had to cancel a lot of the races I signed up for because my sports medicine doctor was not going to let me run in the races. I was devastated and I was a crying mess but I was determined to finish the half marathon. I spent all summer in physical therapy and was released to do a run-walk routine for the half.
I completed the race and I had no other plan in front of me and just like in the past I packed the weight back on. I experienced what’s called “post race blues.” I didn’t fail, I met my goals. But where I did fall short was making a future plan. I still had all this weight to lose but no plan of how to get it off because I was tired. Training can be exhausting if you let it.
Plan for success, plan for fun, plan for work. Just like in everything if you have a plan of action, passion and a willingness to accept constructive feedback then you have no choice but to be successful. This life and my weight loss journey is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Just like being a good wife, mother and friend you have to respect, listen, seek information and be willing to do things you really don’t feel like doing but in the end you’ll look back and be so thankful for the experience.
I am so thankful for my post race blues. It taught me that how important having a plan is.
What do you need to make a plan for right now? Post a comment and tell me!
I say YES! In this game of weight loss and living a healthy life, getting to the gym and making low-cal meals takes time. Time away from your significant other, children, housework and extended family. How do I manage all that is on my plate and still have time to work out and be healthy? In a word…Partnership.
Andy and I have partnered with one another and have unwavering support for the other in this journey. Not just with in the Family Circle challenge but in life. We realize what we have to lead and its good for Anna and Jack to see us make time to do all that we have to and maintain good health and loss the excess energy.
Weight loss success also takes commitment. You have to be so committed to your goals and really stop and think how is this going to help me in reaching the end result.
How are you willing to work on your partnerships and commitment to win at weight loss? Post a comment and tell me!
So, what have we learned? If I had to make a short list of what I’m taking away from the challenge, here’s what the past (nearly) six months have taught me and my family.
Focus on three basics:
- Exercise. Nothing else will help you fit into the jeans you want to wear. Find an activity you love. Make it easy for you to do it.
- Drink water! Eight glasses a day. It works! You will want to eat less, and you will feel better.
- Plan ahead. Fast food is the easy option for those who are not prepared. Be prepared, and you will eat healthier and save money!
Make smart choices:
- Avoid buying junk food. If I buy foods that are bad for me, I will eat them. I have no willpower when it comes to chocolate. The best solution: Get rid of the junk, do not buy more and don’t make any at home.
- Don’t have just any old dessert. I used to eat ice cream sundaes with peanut butter and hot fudge sauce. Now I have a cup of sorbet or vanilla frozen yogurt with raspberries and bananas. Make Jello and sugar free pudding with fat free milk.
- Give in if it makes sense. If you really want something, eat it, but be conscious of the amount of food you consume. For example, if you really want an ice cram, have it. But not while you are sitting in front of the television or talking on the phone and distracted. Enjoy it. Make the calories count.
- Track your results. Use sparkpeople.com or any of the free websites on line to track your results. Buy a Fitbit or other tracking device. I loved mine, and wish I had not lost it. These devices help to make you accountable to yourself! Other websites, like Earndit.com tie into the Fitbit site and reward you with gift certificates for achieving your goals!
- Get a buddy. Having someone to share your weight loss journey with makes it easier to stick with it.
Never, ever, ever give up:
- If you totally blow your new diet, just start again the next day. Do not feel like you should wait to start over on Monday, since you blew it on Friday night. You’ll have a reason to not start on Monday too!
Begin right now:
- You’ll never lose weight simply by reading about it. Start today.
What one truth of weight loss do you believe everyone needs to know? Post a comment and let me know!