The Jacksons, Week 10: We've Griped, We've Groaned - and We've Grown

Filed under: Healthy Families Challenge

Deidra Jackson picture

Water-resistance training offers Deidra an extra calorie-burning boost. Credit: Jenn Hall


We've said "so long" (temporarily) to bacon-double cheeseburgers and late-night Slim Jim and sweet tea benders. And we've forced our bodies and minds to fall in line with constant workouts.

Such life-altering changes have definitely put the "C" in the Healthy Families Challenge for us Jacksons.

We've griped and we've groaned, but we've also grown. Post-Thanksgiving, Jackson and I are thankful for being a part of this amazing opportunity to stop the clock and make some major adjustments to our health and fitness routines.

How we think about food and exercise has changed. Since Thanksgiving, we've been enjoying streaks of meat-free days. We find time and places around the house to fit in impromptu exercises. Bicep and tricep work on the couch and floor. Glute- and quad-strengthening on the loveseat.

When it comes to food prep, I've finally found time to try some of the recipes in Weight Watchers Eat! Move! Play!: A Parent's Guide for Raising Healthy, Happy Kids. I made the meatless spaghetti pie and the baked sweet-potato fries. Both were a big hit with me. As for Jackson -- not so much. Of the spaghetti, Jackson kept asking where the beef was. He also questioned whether I had left out some seasonings in the sweet potatoes. Even though he's a picky eater, he's always been relatively healthy in his tastes, passing up the sweet, sugary treats a lot of kids his age enjoy.

Says Jackson: My experience with the Healthy Families Challenge is pretty life-changing. It also helped me get slimmer and burn calories. I lost about five pounds over the last four weeks, and I can't believe it! Every time she sees me, my grandmother said I look slim. Like I said in my first video, I want to get some muscles!

While I can't verify that he's lost five pounds, because the experts helping us and his awesome body mass index determined that weight loss shouldn't be among his goals, I can say that my tween's continuing growth spurt (he's shot up four inches in the last five months) has erased the chubbiness he had as a toddler.

In thinking about how the Healthy Families Challenge has changed us, we put together a "Top 5" list of the major ways our health and fitness have improved these past two months:

No. 5 -- We're aware of the junk food we formerly ate (and still do, occasionally). Did we really down all those scoops of ice cream with chocolate chips and candy coatings all those consecutive nights? It's true: Don't eat it and you won't crave it!

No. 4 -- It's helped me improve my swimming skills. I was an average swimmer before. I have a wonderful personal trainer in Jenn Hall, a graduate student and campus rec and fitness staff member at the University of Mississippi. She added water-resistance training to my workouts and is helping me refine my swimming strokes at the same time.

No. 3 -- We're enjoying meatless meals. Two months ago, if someone had said that Jack and I had to go meat-free for one week, we would have pitched a fit. In no hurry to replenish our stocks in the freezer, I haven't prepared many meals with meat, because it's just not been handy. I've probably been enjoying this dietary switch more than Jack, however.

No. 2 -- Two words: looser clothes!

No. 1 -- A boost in self-confidence. Especially for Jack, who, bless his heart, has complied with my order to abstain from bacon-double cheeseburgers for a while. There's been some grousing, but he's been OK with it. I'm glad that HFC is teaching him -- us -- a life lesson: With help and determination, we can accomplish whatever it is we put our minds to.



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


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