The Quintanas, Week 5: The Good, the Bad, and Boy, Did It Get Ugly!

Filed under: Healthy Families Challenge

quintana family picture

Michelle and David. Now we're chilling. Credit: Elizabeth Roman

Our fifth week was a tough one.

Up until now, despite having to get a crazy schedule down, the Healthy Families Challenge has been like freefalling. But this week, we needed a parachute.

On Tuesday, Aaron, my 16-year-old, called from school, saying that he wasn't feeling well. He sounded horribly congested. I picked him up and took him home to rest. That night, I stayed with him while David took the rest of the brood to American Top Team Doral for their classes.

Around 8 p.m., David called. After surviving weeks of successful training at ATT, he said, he'd thrown his back out. He joked that he'd have liked to say, "You should see the other guy," but couldn't. David hadn't hurt himself doing an arm bar or a kimora with a classmate -- his gym bag had taken him out. When he bent over to pick it up after class, he'd used his back, not his legs.

When David arrived at the house with the children, he was hunched over. I insisted on driving him to the urgent care center. The doctor there determined that the injury was muscular and said there was not much to do except rest. David came home with an anti-inflammatory prescription and orders to wait it out.

So, by hump day, Wednesday, we had two men down. And I felt the extra load.

David and I both work full-time jobs by day, and the evenings are now booked out as well. Monday night, for me, is devoted to yoga. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, we go as a family to American Top Team, where David and the kids are training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Wednesdays, David and Christian go back to ATT for mixed martial arts and Muay Thai classes. And on Saturdays, Chloe has gymnastics at The Little Gym. All of which we pull off as a one-car family.

Oh, and in between? There's cooking, laundry and cleaning. Typically, David, the children and I all pull together to keep our family moving at a smooth pace.

Last week was different. It all seemed to fall -- hard -- on me.

My eating habits, I've discovered, have always been tied to my emotions. If I'm sad, food is not so appealing. If I'm stressed out, don't put your finger too close to my mouth. I will bite it off.

My chaos cravings had an upside: They gave me the opportunity to apply the teachings of our nutritionist, Su-Nui Escobar, who has explained to me that I need to think before I eat. I shouldn't put anything in my mouth, she said, until I have mentally measured, on a 1-to-10 scale, how hungry I am. Below a 5 and I should hold out, but hunger between 5 and 10 merits a snack or meal. She strongly advised me never to let myself hit a 10 state of hunger; once I reach a 10 on the scale, it means my body (and its metabolism) has slowed down. To avoid the dangerous 10 zone, I should consume small snacks between meals.

It works. I found that, as I weighed my hunger, I often got distracted and forgot I was going to eat in the first place. This helped me realize that sometimes I eat out of pure boredom, madness, stress, or a combination of the three.

Good to know! But still, by Thursday, I was crabby, feisty and just generally not pleasant.

On a positive note, I've lost 5 pounds just by applying this technique and a few others Su-Nui has shared. David has lost 12 pounds, thanks to the nutritional teaching and the incredible training he's had over the last four weeks. His back is better and, needless to say, he no longer has a morning cereal party in a mixing bowl.

Aaron is feeling better, too.

Best news of all: I got through my crazy week. And everybody still has all their fingers.

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

How is the Quintana family doing? Check in on their progress!

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