the lehmans

“The Ultimate Prize Is Our Health”

tiffany lehman

It’s official. What I once thought was a pipe dream is a reality. I applied for us to be chosen for this challenge thinking never would we be picked. The only person I told was Andy, my husband, and even then I just kind of told him in passing. I applied late one January evening and I told him as we were getting ready to call it a night, thinking…we’ll never be chosen. When I got the call that we were finalists, I just had a feeling that we would be the lucky family to get the honor to participate in this challenge.

We ‘re very excited, happy and thrilled to start this challenge, but it also made us nervous. Nervous that we are going to be so out there. Nervous about failing. It’s one of my biggest weaknesses: fear of success and failure. But then I think about our strengths. We’re very determined and committed to this challenge and know that we will put our best foot forward.

We really hope to inspire and challenge others to make good choices for their families. The epidemic of being overweight is so vast in our communities. But by making small diet changes, we can have a huge impact on health.

We hope that in this journey with Family Circle we can learn that a fast-paced, busy family can still find time to eat healthy, get workouts in, have fun and watch our waistlines shrink in the process. The ultimate prize is our health and being able to pay the journey of health forward to our children. I want to teach my daughter Anna and my son Jack how to be the best nutritionally they can be and not struggle with weight gain like Andy and I have.

I’ve been a member of SparkPeople for a while and gotten great support there.

Post a comment and let me know about the healthy legacy you’d like to leave for your kids.

Meet the Lehmans’ Nutritionist

Stephanie Karpinske, R.D.

Stephanie Karpinske, R.D., is author of Read Before Dieting: Your 4-Step Plan for Diet Success. Through her Urbandale, Iowa–based company, SK Health Communications, Karpinske develops recipes and writes for supermarkets and food companies.

Family Circle asked Karpinske to guide the Lehmans through their six-month makeover and give them some of the knowledge they need to accomplish their goals.

“Even the best advice isn’t helpful if it doesn’t fit into your life,” says Karpinske. “The Lehmans need tips tailored to their lives.”

Her Family Plan: “Helping the Lehmans make time for healthy eating will be my priority. They need a go-to meal plan, a kitchen stocked with basics for super-quick recipes and snacks, and a weekly menu that includes ‘emergency dishes’ for those too-tired-to-cook nights.”

Her Healthy Eating Tip: Replace brown or white rice with quinoa. “You’ll get five times the fiber versus white rice and nearly 50% more protein than brown rice,” says Karpinske.

Got a healthy eating tip? 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!