What started as a casual weight loss challenge after the birth of my first child, has now become a healthy lifestyle that I would not change for the world; one that incorporates plenty of different workouts and making healthier food choices.
Just recently my husband (Ben) and daughter (Isabella) decided to join me on my healthy living journey, and the outcome has been great.
Ben’s mother is a fantastic chef who LOVES to feed her family authentic Ethiopian food. Her restaurant Etete’s for anyone living in the DC area is top rated, and a must try. So, it’s no surprise that the man loves to eat food rich in butter and meat fat.
Seeing my body change so quickly after our third child was born sparked an interest to change his eating and workout habits and soon after he made his decision we got our daughter interested in making a healthy lifestyle change. The challenging part for me at that point was creating two plans for my family. Ben needed to lose weight while Isabella just needed to eat healthier and be more active. If in the process she lost a couple of pounds that would be great, but I by no means wanted her to feel like she had to lose anything or needed to change her body. She is a beautiful, happy and innocent 9-year-old and I want to keep her that way for as long as I can.
I slowly started to include more green vegetables into their meals and replaced carbs with protein. We massively reduced Ben’s food portion, while Isabella could still eat the same portions as long as she had healthy food on her plate. It was hard in the beginning; Isabella would get so upset during school lunch when her friends would come to school with pizza or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and she had broccoli and kale with grilled chicken. Ben would call me and complain that he was starving and needed his mother’s cooking.
Getting Isabella to work out with me was another hard task. Gone are the days where we have ample time at home after school. Most weekdays we are only home in the afternoons for an hour or two to have a snack, do homework, change, and play with the baby before rushing out to their oh so many practices and games or piano lessons.
The days she has lacrosse practice or a game, I do not focus on workouts with her. However, when she is home on off days, we do one activity together. I make it as fun as it can be, so she does not complain or feel like it is a punishment. A lot of times my son will join in on the fun and my youngest will sit with us and watch.
When we started this journey, Isabella hated running and would only do it during PE for a grade or during her lacrosse practice. Now though, she loves getting on the treadmill with her iPod and catching up on shows like Mommy does.
It has been a month now since I’ve changed the family’s diet and workout routine. The first week they got on the scale and both lost roughly 5 pounds. Although Isabella knew that wasn't the intent of our healthy lifestyle change, she was excited and felt proud that she accomplished something with her father. I think that and the fact that we were having fun working out as a family made them both want to continue. What’s funny is… to celebrate their success, we went out to eat... but guess what; they both chose healthy options (Isabella was less happy about her choice then Ben was).
I must add, that now it does not bother Isabella when her friends bring food to school that she once craved. She will always love her bread, pizza, and pasta, but she knows that everything is in moderation and the same idea goes for Ben. He doesn’t crave his mother’s cooking as much anymore or doesn’t feel deprived and hungry which means I have succeeded.
My sister just joined us on our healthy living journey two weeks ago, and so far she is happy with her results. Next stop will be getting my in-laws to join in. More to come...
I hope this helps you in some way. I’d love to hear what you are doing to include your family members in your healthy living journey.