Here is the new FITNESS CHALLENGE and BLOG LINK UP.
Walk and Talk Wednesday.
Check it out at the bottom of this post, and be sure to join us.
Family FITness: Physical and Nutritional
One of my New Years Resolutions is FAMILY FITNESS and my one word for the year is FIT. Today is the day I start my journey to become fit, and I am inviting you to join me. We are going to walk and then we are going to talk about it.
Our Current Status:
There are eight of us in our family. One BIG excuse after another the past few years has led to overweight / obesity for some of us. The rest of us are out of shape, though not obese (yet).
I am ashamed I have let myself go this far. I used to be able to maintain a tolerable level of “plumpness”. I didn’t look fat, just pleasingly plump. I stayed the same weight for many years. But being pregnant 7 times has definately had its challenges. Plus the stress of the past four years has been the biggest factor in my weight gain; specifically moving away from the farm four years ago, three pregnancies in the last four years, enduring a miscarriage, my last pregnancy resulting in an emergency C section, etc., my body seems run down, tired, and has been growing fatter, faster. Sounds silly I know, but it really seems to be happening faster to me in the recent years, and its a battle I have been loosing. I am no longer pleasingly plump, I am fat.
Let’s just be honest here. I am 43 and certainly don’t look 23 anymore! I have put on a lot of weight and have become much more sedentary over the past few years. I spend more time than I care to admit using the computer, plus time in the rocking chair nursing babies (this task, though I love it, has been ongoing for 12 years), and working at the kitchen table with the homeschool work with the kids. I used to fill the time I now spend on the internet with lots of activity like farm chores, running two business, stocking store shelves, meeting with customers, tending large gardens and flower beds, baking, canning, home visits with the Amish, youth ministry, music ministry, and get togethers with others in the community, and caring for babies and chasing toddlers. Now four and a half years later, I still care for babies, and chase toddlers, but the rest of my activities are a distant memory.
Even more scary to me is that my kids are following in my footsteps. They read books, do their schoolwork, color and make crafts, play computer games, watch TV, all while sitting on their bottoms, and spend very little time moving and being active in comparison to those other bottom sitting activities. Sure, we play outside, ride bikes, and play at the park. But it is so little time being active compared to the rest of the day, the week, the month, and the year, that we are all more sedentary than what I believe God designed us to be.
Did God design us to sit most of the day? Or did he design us to be moving most of the day? This is the question I am wrestling with. I wonder this because sitting seems to be detrimental to our health. Because I believe God created us to be healthy, I don’t believe God designed us to sit for long periods of time. It is contrary to his design.
It is a catch 22. The more sedentary you are, the less energy you have, the less muscle tone you have. The more weight you gain, the less energy you have, the more sedentary you become. The less energy you have, the more weight you gain. Yuck! I don’t like myself this way. I am tired of being tired. I want to be a healthy 43. As a matter of fact, I want all of my family to be healthy. So I am implementing a Family Fitness priority in our lifestyle.
I am humbly reporting this to you, my readers, in an attempt to encourage you and also to hold myself accountable by putting my progress in writing and out in the open. I must be crazy to do this!!! But I don’t know how else to make myself follow through. If I have to write about it, I think I will follow through and stay with it to completion. I plan to report my progress here each week in the blog link up “Walk and Talk Wednesday”.
Family Fitness is more than just a physical activity for me. It is the whole picture of the living dynamic family unit. The health of our family unit can be measured in many ways: physical, mental, social, spiritual, nutritional, financial, relational, educational, life skills, etc. I want my family to manifest healthy habits in all of these areas. I plan to set up goals in each of these areas, but for the sake of this post I am mainly addressing our physical and nutritional goals.
In 2011 my children and I began walking once or twice a week through out the spring, summer, and fall (we don’t go in bad weather or in the winter) at five local parks (East Flat Rock Park, Jackson Park, Lake Lure, Lake Julian, Fletcher Park, Dana Park).
We have stayed committed to this plan and walked through out 2012 as well. We got a bit of a late start at the end of spring 2012, late April or so, as I was still recovering from C section surgery and had a new baby. It felt like it took forever to recover from the surgery and it really set me back. But as the weather warmed enough to take the baby outside, we started up our walking routine again and it has been the highlight of our outdoor time together each week.
We take a nature walk and see all sorts of beautiful plants, trees, leaves, bugs, flowers, birds, and more. Two of the parks also have a lake and we can enjoy feeding the fish, ducks, and geese too. You can walk the same paths each week and see something new every time. Also, as the weeks progress through out the late spring, summer, and fall, the plants change and this is really interesting to watch. We have thousands of pictures we have taken to document the changes and variety of animal and plant life we have observed. I don’t know yet what we will do with all these pictures, but I do know the walks have been good for us physically and educationally.
My family also hosts learning programs and educational workshops in the local parks during the summer, and after the programs are over, the kids almost always stay to play together on the playground equipment with their friends. This play time has been a lot of fun to share with our friends and my kids get lots of exercise during this time. But we needed more than just playing on the playground, so my kids and I added in this extra special time of nature walking for just our family before or after the the other program depending on how much time we had, and it has been a good experience for us (except for a painful bee sting the 12 year old received when he got too close to some buzzing flowers).
This fall we added walking 1 mile near our house each week for better health. The older two boys are walking with me, while the younger children ride their bikes and we push the baby in the stroller.
We took a measuring wheel (used to mark off distance for construction) and tracked how many laps around the subdivision equaled a mile. 9 1/2 laps on the road out front of the house equals a mile, but we are choosing to do 10 laps or 6000 feet.
Though I love walking with the kids, both at the park and at home, it hasn’t been enough to cause me to loose weight. I think part of the reason for this is that we walk slowly due to the various ages and skill levels of the kids and it is not physically challenging enough for me. I am hoping to add five more laps in a couple of months, and five more again until we reach two miles and maintain that for a while, but my eventual goal is four miles (I think), but time will tell.
Here is the NEW 2013 PLAN to address the physical needs in our family fitness goals:
Eat healthy meals, beverages, and snacks.
Use the Nourishing Traditions (WAPF), Makers Diet, methods of feeding
my family. These methods will include:
eating more of a traditional whole foods and superfoods lifestyle,
eating more “God made” foods that have been raised naturally,
and limit “man made” foods.
Drink water. This is so important for the health of the body and elimination
of toxins. I have neglected to drink enough water. Especially when we are
not at home and other unhealthy beverage options are the norm. I need to
say “no thank you” to the soda and “yes please” to the water. I plan to use
the 21 days to a healthy habit check list to gain more control in this area
of my life.
Drink plenty of healthy beverages including water, smoothies, kefir,
kombucha, and fresh raw milk.
Create Healthy Meal Plans.
Eat at the table together as a family. Minimize eating in the car,
or on the go through drive thrus, and snacking in front of the TV.
Keep an active physical lifestyle.
Spend time playing outdoors each week.
We will actively play in the yard, and local parks each week. This is
beneficial in many ways and meets our P.E. needs in our homeschool.
Join the YMCA to enjoy fun activities, and use when the weather is
not as nice outside. We have purchased a monthly pass for January and
I hope we can afford to continue to purchase the passes for the whole year.
Spend 30 minutes (or more) in a “movement” activity each day:
either WALKING, T-Tapp, swimming, cycling, or dancing. I also plan to
use the 21 days to a healthy habit check list for these 30 minutes activity
daily goals. I am going to start with 30 minutes, but eventually, I hope
that we can increase this goal and the time spent in physical activity will
outweigh the time spent being sedentary. I remember a time when we
lived this way, a day full of activities, not the sedentary lifestyle of doing
everything from a sitting position. See the WALKING GOALS below
for specific details about how I plan to walk.
Just for mom: Be an active member of an online weight loss support
group. I am excited to be a part of a group of homeschool moms who
have similar goals to eat healthy and loose weight and encourage each other.
I have a lot of weight to loose, and I am excited and scared to start this
journey. But I have no more excuses to wait. I have every reason to begin
now before the excess weight causes health problems. I want to be healthy.
I found this 12 week walking chart on Sparkle People. I plan to challenge myself with the beginner level for now, and continue on to their intermediate level after the first 12 weeks are over.
Beginner Walking Program
|Walk Briskly for
Source: Exercise and Your Heart, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute/American Heart Association, NIH Publication No. 93-1677.
My thoughts on this are to add in this walking program challenge and see if this results in boosting my metabolism. I think the way the chart is written is simple enough that we can all implement it on various age and skill levels and I will hopefully benefit with a boost to my metabolism.
Sparkle People encourage using this walking program every other day with a day of rest in between walking days to heal the body. The program increases in intensity as you move through the 12 weeks (60 days), and increases even more in the intermediate level with the goal in mind to increase your endurance with each additional week. It looks like a good place to start. Every other day I will be doing the walking challenge listed in the chart above, and on the other day it will be other physical activities (walking, dancing, cycling, swimming, t-tapping, or something). I will let you know next week how we are doing.
Our goal is family fitness, not weight loss specifically (though I definitely need to lose weight). Family FITness in the area of our physical health relates to eating a nutrient dense meal plan, and reach our potential in our physical body to have vigor, strength, and endurance. The weight loss will be a good side effect of a healthy FIT lifestyle. I want to implement this plan for both myself and my kids. We are going to walk this challenge near the house, at the parks, and on the indoor track at the YMCA depending on the weather and our schedule. So we have several options each week to keep motivated and excited about this. I will post updates and pictures about our activities.
Please join us for this journey. You don’t have to do the walking challenge above, any walking or other physical activity will do. Just do it and tell us about it.
WALK AND TALK WEDNESDAY
January Blog Link Up
Please link up your stories about walking and being active with your family (or by yourself). It can be outside, or inside, at home, the park, or at the gym. It can be with or without additional exercise equipment. Our goal here is to be an encouragement to moms and families to be healthy and active.
This linky will be live all month, and I will post a new progress story each Wednesday and include the linky. So come back and link up your posts about physical activity and nutrition to share with us. We all need a little encouragement.