Food & Fitness with My Family

“You like this s***?” were the first words that came out of my Dad’s mouth as he ate his serving of quinoa this evening. I guess you can’t teach an old dog new tricks- or can you?

When I originally started my wellness journey with Beachbody, it was to help myself get back on track. My parents and husband were supportive of me, but it definitely took a while for them to get on board. I had no idea that my lifestyle changes would have a trickle-down effect, but boy am I glad that they did.

The first to join me on my wellness journey was my mom. Unfortunately, my very busy mother is known for skipping meals, which is not advisable. Our bodies are built to protect us, and the internal system does not know the difference between a meeting running late and missing lunch or being stuck in the desert hunting our next meal. In either of these situations, the body will start to store fat, which is pretty much the opposite of what any person who is trying to lose weight wants to achieve.

So, I introduced my mom to a program that would create a change. The first thing was getting my mom to start drinking a shake packed with “super foods,” daily vitamins and nutrients. I knew at the very least she was getting that in and that it was an easy on-the-go meal for her while she was teaching or driving to work. Plus, now that my mom was not skipping meals, she was keeping her metabolism going and preventing starvation mode.

Our next step was to introduce a portion control-based meal plan, without the concept of having to weigh your food or count. I knew this nutrition plan would be perfect for my mom because she has zero patience for that type of thing (in fairness, most people don’t have the desire to track all of their food).  Instead, the food goes into measured and color-coded containers, and she can choose from the foods that are provided within the nutrition plan. Each container represents a different type of food- protein, vegetables, etc. All of the containers are different sizes, and you’re allotted a certain amount of each container based upon where you fall on the caloric map.

The first thing my mom asked was, “Do I have to carry around these containers everywhere?” No, of course not they’re namely meant for measuring but hey, if you don’t like your food touching or even need a toy for your toddler to play with this meets the mark. The guesswork of having to follow strict recipes or even worse eating weird exotic foods that our taste buds are not used to was not an option for my mom. She was able to eat the health foods she likes, for example, chicken parmesan, but with healthier substitutes and in the correct portions.

You’ve probably heard of diets where you completely eliminate carbs or sugar (a food fad). Initially. you may get results, but the fact is that your body needs these healthy macros. Your brain uses carbohydrates and natural sugar for fuel, plus it’s a great source of energy. The thing you need to think about is, what type of carbohydrates or sugars are you eliminating? Is it the bag of Lay’s potato chips and doughnuts at lunch, or are you eliminating brown rice and fruits?

Our bodies are so smart and adaptive; once they start to realize that we are missing healthy carbs from our daily routine, this is when people will often plateau with our weight loss, and some people might even start to gain the weight back. It’s classic case of yo-yo dieting due to the body trying to find its perfect homeostatic balance. So first we need to eliminate the processed foods. Yes, they may taste good, but you may risk taking years off of your life.

Next, we needed to create a plan for my mom where we were eating the proper amounts of each macro to match our desired weight loss goals. Once we saw a plateau in our success it was time to switch it up. What do I mean by this? Not necessarily eliminating the container portion control system, but rather option to switch to a different plan. If you were doing this type of plan you would still be using the containers for the portions, but you might be substituting some types of proteins for other proteins. Another option could be to switch up your workout routine, which could be as simple as lifting heavier weights during the same exercises.

I want to mention how important it is to maintain an "80/20" balance when it comes to your nutrition, too. If you’re eating healthy 80% of the time and indulge in an adult beverage or your favorite scoop of ice cream, that’s okay. Eliminate these things completely from your diet can be torturing yourself. Remember, this isn’t a diet- it’s a lifestyle change.

Now that my mom was drinking her shakes and using the portion control system, next on the list was adding a fitness regime. As a background, my mom has had multiple surgeries on her knees and legs. Although both my mom and I have been strong athletes our entire lives, it goes without saying that injuries happen- such is life. What’s important is to know your limits.

I think a small part of my mom was nervous about being able to do the workouts she had seen me doing the prior few months, and we weren’t looking to add another injury to her laundry list. Luckily, the fitness program we chose had a modifier in every workout. Rather than using heavy weights like me, she would use a resistance band. Some of the exercises would require jogging in place, but she would march in place instead. As long as you’re moving, that is what counts!

What was even better for my mom was that every day was a different workout focusing on a different area of the body. There are even two active recovery days that involve pilates and yoga- score! This turned out the perfect workout for people like myself and my mom who love variety. Hey, it’s the spice of life, right?

As humans, we love to have confirmation and reviews on things before we make a decision. It makes us feel better about our decisions and takes out the guesswork (wouldn’t you love to be the creator of Yelp? It’s genius). Well, it was the same thing when it came to mine and my mom’s health and wellness journey.

Seeing my mom’s success, my husband began to follow suit. As a couple, we love to do things together but there was a major gap when it came to our fitness regimes. My husband grew up an athlete and played basketball and golf. As many of you may know, sprints and agility are a major part of training for basketball. For me, running is more like a death sentence; it’s just straight up painful. Plus, I felt like I was always falling behind due to his much larger gait and pace. He would end up half walking/jogging while I was pushing my hardest. It was frustrating and quite frankly not fun, so running just really wasn’t an option for me.

Once my husband began the same nutrition and exercise plan as me, we were able to find some common ground. We were able to stream a variety of workout programs from any wireless device and motivate one another throughout the workout. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are days where we do yoga together or even a massive full-body cardio routine, but there are days where we don’t even have to be using the same program. I could be doing a mixed martial arts program in the morning and he can do pilates before bed. It’s awesome!

With my mom and husband on board, getting my dad to join in our new lifestyle was the final step. It took a full year before my dad decided to commit. To be honest, I don’t think my dad believed the hype, but out of the four of us, he ate the most, and probably the worst. To say the man has a sweet tooth would be an understatement.

My Dad had three stents put in three and half years prior to the beginning of my health and wellness journey. He was on every medication you could name, too. I made an agreement with him that he needed to give this a try for 30-days, and if he didn’t feel better or see results, there was no need to continue. So, we got my dad on a vegan formula that allowed him to get all of his vitamins and nutrients but not have any flare-ups with his lactose intolerance. There was no way he was getting out of it (just kidding, he got on board willingly). Not only did he lose weight but his cravings were diminished (I say diminished because he still loves himself some homemade pie). Now, I can happily say that everyone in my family also enjoys this with him every day.

By starting this new lifestyle we have noticed improvements in energy, sleep, digestion, blood sugar, weight, and the need for certain medications. Our journey has inspired other members of our family, too. My cousin, who is a mother of three, joined me this past year to get back into pre-baby shape and is thrilled that she has “found her abs” again. I’m thrilled to help others but it’s even sweeter when it’s family.

Like my dad, I was once a hater and didn’t think that the folks you see on infomercials were real, but now I’m a coach myself and this has worked for me. I did my research prior to starting, and it’s important for you to do your research before anything you try, too. Find out what you think will work for you and your goals, and talk to your health care provider. And if you do decide that you want to learn more from me, my door is always open!

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© Whatismyhealth, March 12th, 2017