Healthy Families Challenge: Meet the Drevitches

Filed under: Healthy Families Challenge



Hello, America!

We're the Drevitch family of New York City, and we're looking forward to dieting and exercising for your viewing and reading pleasure over the next eight months.

I'm Gary, the dad. I work full-time as the editor of a website here in Manhattan, and I probably have the most concrete fitness goals of anyone in the family. I need to lose some weight. I was a heavy kid growing up, until a crash diet before my senior year of high school erased 40 pounds and helped me get a prom date. After that, I was a fairly fit young adult, working out, running and playing in basketball leagues. However, my weight has crept up since the birth of my second child, which signaled the end of most of my free time for exercising. (The arrival of the third didn't help, either.) I'm 42 now and my wife says she's waiting for me to hit a midlife crisis and start training for the New York City marathon.

That's not going to happen.

But I'd be thrilled to lose 20 pounds in the months to come, and I'm looking forward to getting expert advice on making the most of my workouts.

My wife, Lynn, and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary a year ago. She's 44 and, by far, a healthier influence on the kids than I am. She makes time for exercise in the gym, the pool and the park. On weekends, she takes the two older kids on long bike rides along the Hudson River, great fun for all. She also has the most balanced diet in the family, and while I find repulsive some foods she adores -- like beets -- during the Healthy Families Challenge we hope we can get the kids (and me) to enjoy more of the fruits and vegetables she loves. Lynn, a busy lawyer with several public-service commitments, would also like to find more time for fitness in her schedule, and hopefully lose a few pounds herself, though she looks terrific to me.

And then there are the kids, Benjamin, Natalie and Adam. We wouldn't have joined the Challenge if they didn't agree to play ball, but they're definitely plotting some resistance to our plans to get them to eat healthier. So tune in for that ongoing battle.

Benjamin is a lean and muscular 9-year-old. He's been in Little League for years; he plays shortstop and lives to turn double plays. He plays football at the playground with his friends, runs laps in the school gym, rides his bike and loves to go to the park with me to throw the Frisbee around. He's also a top chess player -- he and his public-school teammates won a national championship last year. We're amazed by his ability in the game; we're also amazed by how much junk food he and his fellow players consume at their all-day tournaments. Benjamin's fitness goals are to improve in some sports that he loves, like tennis and ice-skating. We'd also like him to improve his swimming.

Natalie, 7, is our middle child. She shares her dad's love for carbs, which we'd like to balance with some of her mom's love for fruit and salads. She does great things in her gymnastics class, loves biking and swimming, and will play soccer in the spring. She's also curious to try some new sports, including skating and maybe even fencing.

Adam, our 4-year-old, is the happiest little fellow we know. All he wants to do is play with his big siblings or, failing that, his mom or dad. He likes baseball -- he pretends to be "a Red Sox guy" (I'm from Boston, so the kids are diehard Sox fans). He's eager to learn to swim, and we'd like to get him to sit down at the table to eat the same meal at the same time as everyone else. (Anyone else have this challenge with a 4-year-old?) One thing I know: He'll steal the scene in all our family videos.

So that's us, a pretty typical Manhattan family. Everyone has different commitments every day of the week, and sometimes eating right and staying fit become lower priorities. We know we could use some better strategies.

And we're open to anything -- except beets.

Who's the rest of the competition? Check out all the challengers' latest updates here.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.