By Adam & Kristin Kleinert
A year’s worth of exploring the path to a fitter family has made for an interesting journey. Words we’d use to describe it include the following: frustrating, enlightening, empowering, entertaining.
Sometimes it was rather fun; sometimes it was a downright chore, though it was never boring. This month, as the calendar year comes to a close, we look back on what we feel has been, at the very least, progress.
We started the year with an ultimate goal to become more intentional concerning our family’s overall health. In this aspect alone, we feel we’ve succeeded. We’ve researched, learned about and tried our hands at ideas ranging from family workout routines to packing healthier school lunches. We’ve shared our endeavors and results in an effort to help other families that may be interested in progressing alongside us. While we aren’t the poster-household for perfect health and wellness, we’ve made changes to our habits and reorganized our methods. We’ve succeeded and we’ve failed, but the overall result is a distinct upgrade in our former standard.
For instance, our pantry is looking exceedingly fitter and so does the fridge. Fresh foods are more abundant and processed items are few and far between. Concepts such as baking our own breads and making homemade snack items took some getting used to but have now become habitual and consume very little of our precious time.
Our “ballgame snack sack” (a.k.a. Operation Curb the Concession Stand Dependency) stays near at hand in the kitchen and is quickly filled with reasonable snack items before rushing out the door.
The hustle and bustle of our daily life helps keep us active and, while we still need to regularize a solid exercise routine, we’ve armed ourselves with tools to create a regimen that works for the varying needs of our family members. We’re a far cry from perfection, but we’re getting better.
Above all, the most positive aspect of our FamFitter adventure is definitely this: Our children are learning that their health and fitness are important to us. Making an effort, implementing new ideas and fostering key changes to any family lifestyle is a demonstrative representation of the value a parent places on a particular concept.
We want our children to prioritize wellness. We must continue to provide them with skills and examples they’ll need in their own quests. While we aspire to create healthy habits that last, we can’t let ourselves become complacent or tired. We know we have much room for improvement. 2018’s Kleinert tribe will have to measure itself against 2017’s, and that’s a challenge to which we must rise.
Here’re a few things I’ve learned this year:
Kroger Click List is my best friend. The convenience alone is a luxury with which I am exceedingly happy each and every time I partake. But I’ve also learned it’s an efficient avenue, not only for saving time and money, but also for planning and choosing healthier food options than I do when I stroll through the actual store.
If grocery pickup service is my true BFF, my crockpot is surely a close second. Our schedule most days allows for very little prep and cooking time. Knowing a protein is stewing away all day on the countertop and will be available for throwing together a quick dinner later decreases my stress level significantly. (Side Note: I’m thinking of investing in an Insta-cooker. This will allow for the days when I forget or am too rushed in the morning to actually put something in the crockpot to slow cook.)
School sports are a GREAT way to keep kids active. Throughout this journey, I haven’t had to worry at all about the older two kids getting enough physical activity into their days. Daily P.E. classes, school sports teams, after school practices and weekend clinics are keeping our tribe moving. As colder weather sets in, I will need to make a conscious effort with the two youngest, as they won’t be playing outside quite as willingly and there aren’t as many school sports opportunities for their age groups.
I am terrible at taking care of myself. I’ve obviously fallen into the Mom-trap about which my friends are always lamenting. I focus my efforts on making sure my family is well cared for and I don’t take the time to acknowledge my own physical well-being. Throughout the past year, I’ve tried each new idea we’ve explored, but my personal follow-through has been meager at best. While I feel like we’ve certainly made progress as a family, I must focus more on my own health in the coming year. In a nutshell, my husband and children are meeting many of the FamFitter challenges like rockstars, and I’m more of a groupie. I’ve got to up my game if I want to join the band.
For the most part, I’ve been pleased with the journey we undertook as a family this year. When it comes to health and fitness, I’ve wanted to undergo something transformative because, after having kids and getting caught up in their busy lives, I felt like we’d lost focus concerning the importance of our overall wellness. I knew FamFitter could be a great catalyst to explore the changes for which I’d been looking.
Excitement of a new endeavor is always a strong motivator for me, and I started off the year embracing every new concept we decided to take on. I developed a strong workout routine and stayed with it. I dropped all processed food from my diet and stuck resolutely to healthy eating habits. Within a couple of months, my blood pressure had dropped so drastically that I eliminated the medication I’d been taking. By the time school was out and the kids were home for the summer, I was excited to include them in my daily activity goals because my energy level was soaring.
I admit that my motivation has dwindled recently. The kids have gone back to school, the weather is getting colder, and I find that I am less regular in my exercise regimen. In addition, I’ve recently allowed myself more and more indulgences foodwise. I still feel good, but I can tell a difference and I know I’ve got to find the spirit to get back on track.
One thing I’ve learned ¬ and my wife will say I am still a work in progress ¬ is that a guilt trip is unproductive. Even an unintentional one. Not everything is going to work for everybody and, though we’re a family, we’re comprised of individuals who have very different personalities, preferences and goals. I place guilt on myself for my own shortcomings, and I’m not sure that’s the best method for turning a situation around. I know (again, my wife will attest) it’s certainly not the method I should use when attempting to encourage others. My goal in the New Year is to renew my own drive toward healthy living and to positively lead my family in finding motivation along the way.
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