Becoming actively involved

Both, Rebecca and myself, have discussed ways we need to have a healthier and active lifestyle. Most of this became nothing more than talk. While we understand that there are health risks involved in being overweight, we have not been as proactive as we would like. This all has changed since my step-son’s pediatrician had referred us over to the YMCA.

The program we were told was called Strong Kids, Strong Families. A three month program where the family receives a free YMCA membership, and twice a week families meet together to go over some exercises, nutritional ideas and information, and a support group.

While it is now called ACT (Actively Changing Lives Together), we have already completed our first week of the program and are now onto the second week.

The first week required that we focus on where we are at as a family, and to set realistic goals as to what we would like to accomplish. While the Mukilteo YMCA only has one night a week set aside for the ACT program, our family can also go into the Marysville YMCA and participate in the activities offered there.

For this second week, we are asked to make at least one goal. It has to be detailed enough to be clear, measure the progress of the goal, ensuring that it is feasible for all to do, that it is realistic, timely, and then provide a reward at the end of the week for accomplishing the goal.

So, for this week, we have decided to become more active than we already are. Our main goal is to take two- 30 minute walks after dinner as a family. This will mean that dinner has to be ready to go by about four in the evening, and then done by about 5. Since the past couple of days have been very nice, the expectation is that this will follow through until Friday evening.

On top of this, the parents and children were given sheets. Parents are to track the progress of the entire family in meeting more of the long-term goals. Based upon this sheet, our family has adopted to do the following activities as a part of the challenge to develop a healthier and actively lifestyle.

My wife and I would like to start Zumba classes that are offered at the YMCA, I would like to do some strength training as well and I know my wife would like to do some elliptical work. Regarding my step-son, I offered to work with him on his Physical Merit Badge that he has to do for scouts. One of the things he has to carry out is to create a 12-week exercise program and either follow through with it on his own or have his scout troop involved with it. One of the things I would like to focus on is the push ups, running, and squat thrusts, maybe even through in some sit-ups. All four of these are possible to carry out and will allow him and I to do something together and encourage one another in reaching our own personal weight loss goals.

The other long-term goal is to start working on eating healthier. On this, I learned something new that I have never heard of before. There are two types of eating behaviors. One is normal eating behaviors and the other is dysfunctional eating behaviors. According to the one paper that we were given, normative eating behavior recognizes the true signs of hunger, eating three well-balanced meals a day, with a couple of healthy snacks, and eating right portions. Dysfunctional eating habits are the opposites (which I am very dysfunctional in my eating habits and behaviors – come to find out).

Making healthier choices in how we eat as a family, challenging each other, encouraging each other, praising each other, and making better choices in what we do as a family activity and how we eat as a family are going to be very beneficial to us in the long run. This program is the type of program that we have definitely needed to give us the motivation we lacked to start focusing on changing our sedentary lives into a more robust and active family life.

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