By Tara Figurski
I have 10-year-old twins. My son Kyle is a rail. He can eat a half of bag of potato chips in one sitting and not gain a pound.
His twin sister, Abigail, looks at a chip and gains a pound. Her nemesis is anything sweet – brownies, doughnuts, cake and chocolate.
When she was around 2 years old she came downstairs and announced, “I need chocolate.” At a young age she knew chocolate was a need. I can empathize. I can turn down salt and vinegar potato chips but please don’t put a bowl of ice cream in front of me or my will power goes out the door.
We have been making “smart choices,” like an apple versus chocolate cake forever. We have also talked about portion control. There’s 29 fish in a serving of Gold Fish. But those attempts haven’t been enough for either of us.
A couple of weeks ago we started working with a specialist at Children’s Hospital in an effort to help her lose weight. We were advised our family should decrease the amount of carbohydrates we eat, increase the amount of fruits and veggies consumed and increase the amount of exercise we get.
Two weeks ago we started incorporating more exercise in our hectic schedule. Our goal is to get an hour of exercise five to six days a week to lose one pound a month. I have tried to make exercise fun. We have played “Just Dance,” rode bikes, battled on Wii Fit and walked the dog.
I’ve really enjoyed the bonding time. We are so busy every week with all of the activities the kids are involved in, we don’t take time for each other. You can have a long conversation in an hour long walk
Part of our new regiment is to eat healthier. I am blessed Abigail loves a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. She eats pretty much any fruit I pick up and does not mind taking a salad to school as long as it has fat free poppy seeds or Italian dressing on it.
We weren’t sending a lunch box full of candy and cookies before, but now we are making an effort to get a fruit, veggie and protein in every meal.
The doctor at Children’s Hospital was adamant our lifestyle changes had to be for the whole family, not just Abigail. Kyle can’t eat a bag of chips while his sister munches carrots. I had to threaten to take away my oldest daughter’s Nutella to get her to eat green beans.
I also learned a little bribery will get you everywhere. Abigail wants a real pair of Cowboy boots in the worst way. I promised her if she lost a pound a month over the next three months, I would buy her a pair of boots. It’s much easier to turn down a brownie when there is a pair of cowboy boots on the line.
Her efforts have inspired me to get back on the weight loss train. I too have been battling my weight for as long as I can remember. I lost 40 pounds at one time with Weight Watchers, but like any lifestyle change, if you stop the program the weight comes back. I’m hoping our six hours of exercise and focus on fruits and veggies helps me lose some weight too.
I figure if my 10-year-old daughter is courageous enough to take on this battle, her mom better step up her game too. It’s a lot easier for me to turn down a brownie when I watch my beautiful daughter turn down a piece of chocolate.