Healthy Families Challenge: Meet the Hatch-Palucks

Filed under: Healthy Families Challenge

Three years ago, I weighed 160 pounds.

It was the most I'd ever weighed -- 35 pounds more than my wedding-day weight, 20 more than I weighed six months after the birth of my first child.

My poundage wasn't the only thing that had changed. A year earlier, my husband, Channing, quit his job as a music teacher and enrolled in graduate school, and I bid farewell to my corporate marketing gig to stay home with our infant daughter and start writing again after a long hiatus.

We pulled up our roots in Rochester, NY, and set down new ones in Illinois.

My days were lonely that first year. Channing worked long hours on his courses, and some nights didn't get home until after 9 p.m. I hadn't made friends yet, and had only our toddler, Emmeline, for company.

The girl and I, we went out to eat a lot.

It killed the time -- and my waistline, too. When I stepped on the scale and found that I was 30 pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight, I was shocked.

So I lost 10 pounds using a weight-loss program, and ... got pregnant with our son, Henry. Thanks to gestational diabetes, I kept my pregnancy weight gain reasonable. But, despite losing 30 pounds the day Henry was born, I was still 20 pounds up.

Fast-forward to 2010. My husband, now 37, is finishing his degree. I'm a full-time work-at-home mom, age 39, with both a thriving freelance-writing career and a small business to mind. Our kids, ages 5 and 2, have the usual hectic school and playdate schedules.

We don't exercise, and dinner takes place in shifts. We feed the kids, and then forage for ourselves in the pantry and fridge. It isn't pretty.

In the coming months, though, with a nudge from the Healthy Families Challenge, we're committed to eating better and moving more. No more excuses.

My husband and I both have early death in our families. His maternal grandfather died suddenly of a heart attack at age 54, and Channing's uncle went at the exact same age. My own father died of metastasized colon cancer in 2004, also at age 54. I loved my dad with all my heart, but he wasn't a paragon of health. As his daughter, I'm at risk of suffering the same fate -- if and when I need to fight for my life, I want to be fit.

That means I need to get off my tush. I face limitations, thanks to psoriatic arthritis, diagnosed after a knee surgery in 2009. The disease is in my knees, hands and back; learning how to be active without injuring myself is a big goal.

Another goal is to learn how to run a healthy household. I make the grocery lists, pack the lunches and dream up the dinners. I'm a terrible cook and an enthusiastic baker -- not an ideal combination for health. When I do cook, I go old-school.

What can I say? I like butter.

But, more often, it's meals from a box, hot dogs or takeout while one of us rushes in or out the door.

Compounding the problem is the fact that Emmeline has sensory issues that influence her diet. She eats only crackers, Nutella on white bread, yogurt, bananas and chicken patties. I'd love to see her incorporate even one new fruit into her diet.

Henry is a true herbivore -- he loves every fruit and vegetable I serve him -- but turns up his button nose at meat, like his mama does, so I'd like to see him eat more protein. And then you have Channing, the meat-and-potatoes man. Set us all around a table and you have one frustrated cook (me) on your hands.

My husband convinced me that we need to get our act together when it comes to eating and exercise. Channing is keenly aware that we're careening towards obesity and illness -- and he has the pillbox to prove it.

His goal? Simple, in theory: Lose at least 10 pounds, incorporate plant-based meals (minus the butter) into our menus and develop a regular exercise routine.

Sounds like a fine idea to me.

Now it's up to us to make it happen. And we have two very good reasons for doing so. Their names are Emmeline and Henry.

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


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