Tiffany, Week #25: A Fond Farewell!


I cannot believe the end of this challenge is here. I want to first thank Family Circle for believing in our family and giving us this opportunity. What an amazing experience it has been and we are so blessed to have been a part of this journey.

Thank you to our family and friends who have supported us in this journey. Thank you to the people we don’t know who have been following us online and in the magazine.

Thank you to the wonderful people we got to work with and meet along the way. WOW what a pleasure to deal with you. Your knowledge and strength is priceless. Thank you to the vendors who gave us all of the tools to make healthy living and weight loss possible and fun. Thank you to the photographers, make up and hair artists who made us feel like movie stars and for becoming friends.

While this is the end of this journey this is not the end of my ride, of our ride. We have a legacy to leave. We have two beautiful kids who we need to continue to teach how it is vital to use food as a means to fully live. God’s word says I have come to give you life abundantly. I believe that to my core. This journey so far has not only changed me/us physically but spiritually as well. We are to honor the temple God gave to us so we can serve. Serve those in need and serve Him. I have learned in this process that I am a servant and my heart is to serve those in need.

Honoring your body and making sure you’re healthy in your life is the best gift you can give to yourself, your husband, wife, kids, family, friends, etc. As I’ve said before, all it takes is a little time and planning. Deliberate actions get deliberate results.

If you’re telling yourself “I don’t have time to work out” or “I can’t leave my kids, I’ll feel guilty.” I’m here to tell you as a wife, mom, and full-time employee you make the time. If you have shows that you DVR and you sit on the couch and watch them, you have time to work out. Rather than fast forward through the commercials use that time to do jumping jacks, run in place, if you have the room jump rope, next commercial break do push ups, squats, use your dining room chair and do some triceps dips, etc. All it takes is a little imagination and determination. Do like I did for a long time, use your lunch hour at work.

Right now I’m still working very hard with my personal trainer that Family Circle provided for me so I work out with him pretty much every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. The kids are used to this routine and they love it when mom gets her workout because while I’m a hot sweaty ugly mess I’m happy, I’m energized, and I’m fully present for them. Because I work so hard on my 3 days with the trainer I take the other days off but I still am all of those things because I’m feeding my body well and getting proper rest.

So if you say “I can’t,” get that word out of your vocabulary. Let’s pretend that word isn’t even a part of our daily lives. Don’t say I can’t but say I’ll try. Trying is doing and doing is success. So if you try and you’re consistent in trying you will be successful!

10 Weight Loss Tips To Help You Stay Motivated

Tilapia with Lemony Herb Salad

1. Don’t skip breakfast.
Remember it gets your metabolism going and gives you energy; it also prevents you from overeating during the day.

2. Fill up on nutrient (not calorie) dense foods.
Eat lots of fruits and vegetables at meals and snacks and skip the crackers, candy and chips. Fruits and vegetables are full of fiber so they help to keep you full longer.

3. Make time to work out.
Even a short session will help you burn calories.

4. Have it your way.
Prepare as many meals as you can from scratch—this way you’ll know what goes into your food.

5. Don’t skip the homemade dessert.
Do pass on all the other junk food that’s not worth the calories.

6. Control your plate.
Make 1/2 your plate fruits and vegetables, 1/4 of your plate protein and 1/4 grains.

7. Avoid drinking your calories.
Save your calories for eating and chewing—they’re much more satisfying

8. Don’t let fun equal food.
Try not to make all of your social plans around eating and drinking alcohol.

9. Drink first.
Try drinking something instead of eating when you think you are hungry—remember you get the same cue for hunger that you do for thirst.

10. Give yourself a break.
A splurge one day it’s not the end of the world, just get back on track the next day.

Registered dietician Elizabeth Fassberg runs Eat Food, a New York City-based company that designs and delivers custom food and nutrition programs for businesses, organizations and individuals. She’s coaching the Avagliano family through the six-month Healthy Family Challenge.

Tiffany, Week #24: Challenge Recap Part 2


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!

Challenge Yourself: The 3 Best Fitness Classes For Families

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.

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?

How To Set Your Own Healthy Goals

Woman eating apple

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, She’s coaching the Lehman family through the six-month Healthy Family Challenge.