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Our family needs to lose weight and I'm ready. Help me figure out how?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

It is difficult to write this and put it out there: my family is very unhealthy and needs to make major changes.  We don’t exercise enough (not even close), we eat far too many processed foods, we eat massive amounts of fat and sugar, and we don’t eat enough fresh foods.  We eat too much meat/protein and too many starches.  Plainly put, we all have way too much weight. 

 

I am the first one who needs to lose weight; I carry the most extra weight.  I’m currently about 50 pounds heavier than I need to be.  My husband is probably 20-25 pounds heavier.  My son, I’m not as familiar with.  He is well above the 95thpercentile at nearly 6 and does have extra weight.  With him, I’m very cautious about it.  We don’t talk about it in front of him (or really at all), so as not to create any weight issues.  But the truth is, he really loves to eat, and eats too much of the wrong stuff.  That’s my fault; I let him have it.  I completely take the blame.  I also don’t get him as much exercise as he needs. 

 

The truth is, I don’t really know where to begin.  I know that our diet is messed up, but short of cutting the processed foods, fatty foods, and sugars out, I don’t know how to plan the meals.  Everything I thought I knew, is backwards.  I have always considered myself smart about nutrition (obviously not that I followed it), but I’m starting to think I don’t.  I think I need to revamp my knowledge, and I don’t know where to begin.

 

I’m feeling really overwhelmed by life in general.   I’m homeschooling, and I’m totally overwhelmed by that.  I want to put my kids into school to get some structure, but the cost of our private schools is too much for us right now.  And the public schools are out of the question; they aren’t safe.  I find that I cut a lot of corners in our diet and get lazy about getting outdoors to exercise because I’m really overwhelmed.  I feel like there’s just too much on my shoulders, and I don’t know how to relieve that.

 

Can anybody help me figure out what to do?  How do I plan meals out day to day so we’re eating healthier?  What does that look like?  I am finding I cook with good quality, but it’s rich and heavy.  I don’t want us to have these issues; I want us to live a long, healthy life.  My kids deserve that.

 

Please help me, anybody.  Please don't flame me; this is really big for me to step out and admit this.  I truly want help, I truly admit my faults.  I want to learn more.   PleasePl

post #2 of 13

Wow! Sounds like a lot on your plate right.  I can say that one of the big changes we made (though I still need to lose some more) is to stop buying processed foods except for maybe mac and cheese.  You want soup? Make it on the weekend and freeze it or use the crock pot.  Basically anything you buy "ready Made", figure out how to make either ahead or on the spot. Look at your grocery list...what does it have on it? If you pick up a box, ask could I make it instead?  We also cut down meat to a few times a week rather than daily.  Tofu, seitan are yummy protein sources. Same with snacks, we keep some but they are for lunches mostly. If we want a treat like ice cream, we make the trip out special to get it. We dont keep it on hand. Same with cookies...we have popcorn, fruit, some chips for lunches..but you want something sweet otherwise? Special trip. REALLY cuts down on it....and we don't keep soda in the house at all. Tea, coffee, water, milk, some juice or fizzy juice like Sprtizers or Izzies...

 

Hope this helps...

post #3 of 13

I agree with the previous poster. What I would suggest if your feeling overwhelmed by what to buy and how to make it is to maybe subscribe to a menu mailer that breaks it all down for you. I really love this one and found it worth every penny. http://www.cookingtf.com/

I was able to save them into a folder on my desktop and canceled my subscription after about 3 or 4 months because I felt I had enough of them to keep my meals in good rotation without getting bored of the same ol' thing. I found all of them to be healthy, quick, and tasty. Hope that helps, and best of luck.

post #4 of 13

Keep it simple and don't try a "big bang" approach to change, but do it incrementally. You will make positive changes that way without being overwhelmed by making an overnight change. Eating healthy does not have to be complicated or time-consuming in the kitchen (or grocery store). Look for quick and easy but healthy meals to prepare - this forum has tons of them. For exmaple, tacos or burritos, with healthy fillings make a really easy meal - rice, beans and/or browned meat with some seasoning (which you can buy without junk in it), some fresh veggies, and tortillas and you are good to go. Put everything in separate bowls and each person can assemble their own. There are a zillion other options - as a PP suggested, find a single source that you can rely on for ideas to keep the process simple and straightforward. I am looking to get a crockpot as I feel that would simplify a lot of our meal preparation - things that you can throw into one pot or pan tend to be quicker/easier to prepare and you do not have to worry about various side dishes. Buy frozen veggies that you do not have to worry about cutting and cleaning.

 

Start phasing out the processed and empty calorie foods, exchanging them for healthier alternatives. For example, there are "healthier" chip options. Mix your own mashed fruit, or even a spoonful of jam, into plain yogurt rather than buying flavored yogurts with lots of sugar added. In other words, start by making better versions of what you already eat, provided that it is not too complicated to make.  If it is too complicated, use it as an occasional "treat" or just ditch it. Choose carefully what your prepare yourself versus buy already prepared - with limited time and resources, I would prefer to buy canned beans and boxed broth and use my time to assemble a healthy soup.

post #5 of 13

That is great that you want to help your family be healthier :) My advice is to keep things simple...in homeschooling and in diet. Some things that help me with homeschooling is to have a rountine and keep things basic--reading, writing, and math. I would be overwhelmed doing it any differently. If I am right your child is only five so I would just be reading stories, going to the park, drawing pictures ect.

 

I do the same thing with food. I eat lower carb so I concentrate on proteins and vegs...which aslo makes shopping simpler.  So for dinner I will make a roasted chicken and buttered broccoli. I also make a lot of food at once so I have leftovers to make chicken salads fast the next day for lunch (for example). For snacks, my kids have fruit, cheese cubes, PB on an apple ect..stuff that is easy and healthy. I make lists of (easy) meal ideas because sometimes I just draw a blank on what to cook. Whatever diet you choose for your family try and par it down to the basics so it is doable.

 

It sounds like you just really need some structure and simplifying in your life....Maybe writing out some clear goals and working from there could be a good start to getting on track.

post #6 of 13

My husband had great luck with picking a few things to cut out and a few things to add.  He ate lots and lots of processed food.  He chose to quit drinking soda (he has the occasional can now) and eat less fast food.  He lost 15 lbs within a few months.

 

He also didn't really like veggies, so he picked the ones he could swallow (broccoli, green beans, peas).  Eventually, he was able to cut out more and more of the unhealthy stuff he was eating.  He even quit smoking!

 

We usually do pretty simple meals.  I also had lots of weight to lose after baby 3.  We would marinate a big package of chicken breasts and grill them.  I would eat it for dinner with a big pile of veggies and a small pile of noodles, rice, potatoes, bread.  The next day, I would make a huge salad with grilled chicken, carrots, lettuce, ect...  I really like Newman's Own low-fat dressings.  And up your water intake by a lot. 

 

Both dh and I started by walking.  We have dogs, so that made it easier and gave us a reason to move.  Do your kids have bikes?  A park near-by?  Can you try to incorporate some outside time into your homeschooling?  There is lots to learn at the park or hiking trail!  I think a lot of us hold ourselves to very high standards, especially where our kids are involved.  Teaching our kids about healthy eating and how to cook are very important life skills.  You could incorporate the geography of the food into your cooking lesson.  Also some science experiments.

 

You can do this!  It seems so hard at the beginning, but it is unbelievably rewarding when you see the weight start to come off.  Good luck!!

 

 

post #7 of 13

I don't know if this is really not what you're looking for, or even viable where you live, but what about joining a community garden as a family? It's good exercise, educational, and you'll get healthy food. In my area, there's lots of competition for plots in community gardens, and so it would be a little late in the year to join, but there are still garden projects or cooperative gardens to volunteer at that send you home with fresh produce.

post #8 of 13
I think the incremental chnages are a good way to start. One meal or one habit at a time. When you have that change handled, make another. For instance figure out one good breakfast meal. Once you have one you like, find a lunch for your family. Gradually build new meals. Or replace poor drink choices with better ones. Them improve again or in another area.

Our habits are far from perfect but I find we only need a couple of choices during the day or else too much time is spent decision making before school or at lunch time, ditto for snacks. Choices change over time but are stable for a while.

Good luck!
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 



Thank you all for your responses, I really appreciate them.  I have been in denial about this issue for a while now and I'm overwhelmed with how to conquer it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rani View Post

We also cut down meat to a few times a week rather than daily.  Tofu, seitan are yummy protein sources.



This is something I really want to do, but I'm not really familiar or comfortable cooking vegetarian.  In my house growing up, we had the 1/3 split: meat, starch, veggies for each dinner, all 1/3 of the meal.  Cooking outside of that is really unfamiliar.  I need to find some good recipes and just jump in.  It's so much easier to hop into our old habits.  Honestly, after my mini meltdown the other day, here's what I've figured out: I cook healthy, but I eat too many carbs/meats with the dinners.  During the day, I'm really carb heavy in meals.  I snack too much.  And when the kids go to bed at night, my husband and I are guilty of - several times a week - one of us driving the one mile to SprawlMart and getting a snack and movie to bring home for a mini date.  It's fun, but it's killing us.  It's usually ice cream or chips.  Lately, our family has eaten out waaaaaay too much.  Even when it's not fast food, our portions are too big and too rich.  We love fruits and veggies, all of us, so that's not a problem.  And when I *shop* I don't buy a lot of processed foods; I buy more whole foods.  But I'm killing myself when I eat too many carbs, we make too many extra trips and fun trips to the ice cream shop or to stop for a treat elsewhere.  And eating late at night.  And not exercising. :(
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chicasmama View Post

What I would suggest if your feeling overwhelmed by what to buy and how to make it is to maybe subscribe to a menu mailer that breaks it all down for you. I really love this one and found it worth every penny. http://www.cookingtf.com/

 

I am really interested in checking this website out.  Lately I've gotten really overwhelmed and lazy about meal-planning, so I tend to not have a plan at all, which means we wing it, which often means eating out or grabbing something fast.  I'm bored by the usual stuff we cook and overwhelmed.  Bad mix.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by amma_mama View Post

Start phasing out the processed and empty calorie foods, exchanging them for healthier alternatives. For example, there are "healthier" chip options. Mix your own mashed fruit, or even a spoonful of jam, into plain yogurt rather than buying flavored yogurts with lots of sugar added. In other words, start by making better versions of what you already eat, provided that it is not too complicated to make.  If it is too complicated, use it as an occasional "treat" or just ditch it. Choose carefully what your prepare yourself versus buy already prepared - with limited time and resources, I would prefer to buy canned beans and boxed broth and use my time to assemble a healthy soup.

 

This is good advice.  Even just commiting to eliminate one certain food would help, then maybe add another one in a couple of weeks.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by newcastlemama View Post

It sounds like you just really need some structure and simplifying in your life....Maybe writing out some clear goals and working from there could be a good start to getting on track.

 

This is a really good idea.  I bought a notebook last night, and I'm hoping to start doing just that: mapping out a plan, an overview, some goals. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by june'smom View Post

My husband had great luck with picking a few things to cut out and a few things to add.  He ate lots and lots of processed food.  He chose to quit drinking soda (he has the occasional can now) and eat less fast food.  He lost 15 lbs within a few months.

 

He also didn't really like veggies, so he picked the ones he could swallow (broccoli, green beans, peas).  Eventually, he was able to cut out more and more of the unhealthy stuff he was eating.  He even quit smoking!

 

We usually do pretty simple meals.  I also had lots of weight to lose after baby 3.  We would marinate a big package of chicken breasts and grill them.  I would eat it for dinner with a big pile of veggies and a small pile of noodles, rice, potatoes, bread.  The next day, I would make a huge salad with grilled chicken, carrots, lettuce, ect...  I really like Newman's Own low-fat dressings.  And up your water intake by a lot. 

 

Both dh and I started by walking.  We have dogs, so that made it easier and gave us a reason to move.  Do your kids have bikes?  A park near-by?  Can you try to incorporate some outside time into your homeschooling?  There is lots to learn at the park or hiking trail!  I think a lot of us hold ourselves to very high standards, especially where our kids are involved.  Teaching our kids about healthy eating and how to cook are very important life skills.  You could incorporate the geography of the food into your cooking lesson.  Also some science experiments.

 

You can do this!  It seems so hard at the beginning, but it is unbelievably rewarding when you see the weight start to come off.  Good luck!!

 

 


Lots of good advice in here, too!  My kids do have bikes, and they do spend time out riding them quite often.  When I wrote my mini-meltdown here, we were in the midst of a chunk of many nasty rainy, cold days.  When the weather is nice - like it finally was today! - we tend to get out more.  My kids love riding their bikes and we do have some good parks nearby.  That's an awesome idea to incorporate the parks in our schooling.  And congrats to you and your husband for becoming healthier!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by imogenlily View Post

I don't know if this is really not what you're looking for, or even viable where you live, but what about joining a community garden as a family? It's good exercise, educational, and you'll get healthy food. In my area, there's lots of competition for plots in community gardens, and so it would be a little late in the year to join, but there are still garden projects or cooperative gardens to volunteer at that send you home with fresh produce.


We do!  We have a community garden about a mile and a half from home, and we *just* got the paperwork in the mail for it yesterday.  We got our plot number and the date of the opening, and we're anxious to dig back into the dirt again!  We love growing our own produce and living off of it throughout the summer.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mommajb View Post

I think the incremental chnages are a good way to start. One meal or one habit at a time. When you have that change handled, make another. For instance figure out one good breakfast meal. Once you have one you like, find a lunch for your family. Gradually build new meals. Or replace poor drink choices with better ones. Them improve again or in another area.

Our habits are far from perfect but I find we only need a couple of choices during the day or else too much time is spent decision making before school or at lunch time, ditto for snacks. Choices change over time but are stable for a while.

Good luck!


I really like the idea of focusing on one meal at a time.  Much smaller changes are much easier to handle, and conquering one area would be good.  Perhaps limiting no food after dinner would be a good place to start for us!  Or at least for my husband and I.

 

Once again, thank you all for your responses.  I was particularly overwhelmed when I wrote this and desperate to make changes.  I know I am sabotaging myself by our extra habits.  As a whole, we do eat reasonably healthy at meals.  We just eat too much and we snack poorly.  But I end up letting myself think we're eating healthy because our meals are okay (albeit too big), but really it's a fallacy because we're sabotaging ourselves with snacks.  I really do appreciate all the ideas.  I am going to explore each of them.

 

post #10 of 13

I hear you on the crappy weather.  When it is nice out, we run and play and dig.  When it is raining for 6 days straight, well, that's another story. 

 

I think it is also pretty important to find an exercise plan that you like.  When I exercised enough, I felt way better.  It also allows you to splurge once in a while without ruining the whole weight loss plan. 

post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 

I love to walk and bike.  I am awful about making *me* time for that express purpose, though.  I find that I end feeling guilty about taking the time every day to go for a long walk or bike ride when there are a million and one things to do.  I know it's not rational, but it happens.  I am NOT a morning person, and I would need to get up at 5:30/6 am to go before my husband leaves for work.  I don't have anyone to watch the kids during the day, and after dinner is when the guilt kicks in about skipping out and doing something for a chunk of time without the family.  Like I said, not rational but happens all the same.

post #12 of 13

I have the same problem.  My solution was to run after I put the kids to bed.  It wasn't ideal, but I am not a morning person either.  I usually ran/walked from 8:30 to 9:15-ish.  Then dh and I could hang out for a while before bed. 

 

I am horrible about carving out me time, but it is so important in my over-all sense of health and well being.  It was what made the weight loss possible.  Diet changes worked a bit for me, but I needed movement to get the last 20 lbs or so off.  It also made me feel a lot, well, sexier.  Something about losing weight and adding movement made me feel so good. 

 

ETA: I loved the book "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver.  She tackles how we eat as a culture and where we get our food.  It really made me excited to make some changes for my family. 


Edited by june'smom - 5/1/11 at 7:26am
post #13 of 13

How about incorporating nutrition & cooking into your homeschooling curriculum?  Food skills are undervalued in actual school, but incredibly valuable skills/knowledge for your kids to have.  Start with the biology - what's a human? What is a natural environment for a human? What are they supposed to eat? Look at how humans ate in the past - look at different cultures, especially REALLY different ones (ie, look kids, you could be eating witchetty grubs, but all YOU have to put up with is a hard-boiled egg, now count your blessings and stuff it down, LOL).  Get interested in FOOD, real food, and take your kids to local small farms.  If you can, get your kids picking wild herbs, fruit and berries (even a u-pick deal is good!).  Fish if you can! 

 

My family is mostly Paleo, but I firmly believe that people are healthiest eating what they BELIEVE in.  Find what really works for your family, body and soul, involve your whole family, especially your kids.

 

On the fitness side of things: get a dog, and walk it a lot.  Also, play in playgrounds.  Homeschoolers totally have it best - you can get the playgrounds when they're free of other children and make the most of them. 

 

Also, don't think of this as dietary restriction, or enforced exercise - this is OPPORTUNITY, for tasty, better food, and OPPORTUNITY for outside fun.  Sometimes it might be a struggle to grasp the opportunity, but just keep putting a positive spin on it and eventually your subconscious will get the picture. :)  Good luck!

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