Becoming a fit family

By Rachel Ballin


The time has come; I need to get back into shape after my three kiddos. Personally, this is a lot easier said than done. My daily schedule is usually hectic and exercise is something I havenít done in years. Iím pretty sure high school gym class, may be the last time I attempted to run any distance. But these excuses aside. After I Ďracedí Liam up our back hill this weekend and was exhausted half way up, I made the conscious choice that it is time. But I know I cannot do it alone. The only way to make this work is to become a fit family, together!

My biggest struggle with getting healthier is first and foremost my love of junk food and sweets. I love junk food! I will not lie I know what I should be eating. I know it's horrible for me, but it simply tastes good and it is quick, which helps with my lack of time. When I was pregnant, I was so great about always making healthy food choices. When I wanted to eat something unhealthy, I would say to myself, ďDoes the baby really need to eat these Oreos?Ē Answer, ďOf course not!Ē I would have fruit or veggies and move on. Well, I haven't been pregnant for the past seven months and letís just say my eating habits are right back to where they were pre-baby. My second struggle with getting healthier is definitely my lack of motivation and energy to actually workout and/or exercise. I know my lack of energy comes from the food choices I make and also a lack of sleep most nights. Simply itís just a struggle that I know I need to overcome. But I would like to exercise in a fun family oriented way, as much as possible. What can I say my family is top priority, but I also know I need to be healthy for them too.

Becoming a fit family doesnít mean a complete overhaul of our life. We do make healthy food choices on a daily basis. However, Iím also a busy Mom and I do rely on convenience foods to get through the week. I started this journey on Monday morning, by going through the fridge and cabinets to remove the Ďunhealthyí foods that we really shouldnít be eating. I did leave a few convenience choices, because I know everything in moderation is still okay. Next, I went to the sale ads and my saved recipes to look and see what healthy meals we could eat this week; that would still fit in our budget. Healthy eating on a budget is possible. I strongly suggest making a meal plan for the week and prepping some ahead of time to save time and be more convenient during the week. Another shopping tip would be buying bulk when possible and freezing for later. You may spend a little more money up front, but it will save your budget in the long run when things arenít on sale. I also suggest looking at the sale ads to see what is on sale, before you pick out your meals for the week. By basing your meals around sales, you are maximizing your saving, but still getting healthy meals for your family. Lastly, try to shop in season for produce or of course you can always grow your own! Most fruits and veggies freeze well, so you can still enjoy those fresh blueberries or home grown green beans in the winter months at a fraction of the cost. I know that healthy meals are possible and cooking from scratch is within my reach. I just have to refocus and start making better decisions for my family. Letís do it together!

On top of healthy eating, exercise and being active needs to be a top priority and focus for my family too. Our kids love to play outside as much as possible and we already do many activities on the go. But I know I need to fit some aspect of actual exercise into our day or week. To start, I will say we do have a family membership to the Norwich YMCA. My husband uses it all the time and our kids love to swim and play in the kidsí gym. But, for me, actually going to the gym to workout is something I have a hard time wrapping my head around. I havenít pick up a real weight, since I donít know when. But I do pick up my twenty plus pound kids all the time. When I started looking at my schedule and comparing it to the times the YMCA had to offer, I did notice that the YMCA does a great job at scheduling things to overlap and coincide. Remember, if I want to go work out, I will have three little ones in tow, so I need to make sure all the times for child watch and youth open will match up. Although Iím not a member of AIM Fitness, I do know that they provide a convenient babysitting program to their members as well. Sadly, after doing all this I have come to the realization that gym time may not quite work out, on a regular basis. There just arenít enough hours in the day! I need to look at bringing exercise into our house to make it part of our routine in that way. I know there are several at home programs out there, but they generally tend to be on the pricey side, which on a frugal family budget I really canít afford. Plus these programs are normally only geared towards adults. I need to find something that my kids can join in with too if they want; which led me to my end game, JUST DANCE, on our Wii. My kids love music and dancing, so do I! Itís fast paced and the one we have actually includes a monitored fitness program. Now let the dancing begin! We will see where it takes us and what else we can add in along the way.

We may not become a fit family overnight, but Iím hoping that little by little, the changes we make now will come back full circle. I hope that by reading this you can look at your families schedule and habits and see if there are changes you can make to become healthier together. Can you imagine what a whole community filled with fit families can achieve and accomplish? I think with support and focus the possibilities are endless, one family at a time!

If youíre interested in seeing what healthy choices my family is trying out, plus updates on our on-going projects please find me on Facebook at ĎBaby Talk Ė with Rachelí. I love interacting with everyone and sharing ideas and information throughout the week. Hope to hear from you soon!

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