The Hatch-Palucks, Week 14: A Clean Slate

Filed under: Healthy Families Challenge

amy hatch picture

Can you see all the germs in this picture? I can, but it sure helped get the sillies out. Credit: Amy Hatch

Do you know what the sweetest six words in the English language are?

I do: "You look like you've lost weight."

That's what my sister-in-law said to me on New Year's Eve. We were driving into Old Town Alexandria, in Virginia, for a holiday walk-about when the conversation turned to all the food we'd been eating on our 2,000-mile holiday odyssey.

Dreana turned around in her seat and said those sweet words to both me and Channing. She asked if we had lost any poundage, or if her eyes were playing tricks on her. After all, it had been 12 months since she'd seen us.

Shyly, Channing nodded. "I have," he said. He declined to talk numbers -- he doesn't want to do a big reveal until the number is high -- but it was clear that he was happy she'd noticed.

I was less reticent. I told her I'd lost about 12 pounds since she saw me last, and how happy it made me.

And it does make me very happy, indeed.

Now that we're well into 2011, it seems silly to make any New Year's resolutions. And, after eating our way across eight states while also being pretty sedentary (see: obscenely long road trip, it felt like we already broke our promise to the Healthy Families Challenge to do our best to get fit.

Until Dreana pointed out how different Channing and I look.

I feel better, too, and I know Channing does. I had to jog across a crowded parking lot over the holiday and for the first time in many years, I didn't feel the uncomfortable up-and-down jiggling of my pot belly. In fact, I felt pretty fleet of feet.

Those two simple realizations really lit a fire under me. I'm going to make 2011 the Year of Exercise. Channing is also committed to moving more: When he and I talked about changing our schedules in regard to who does pick-up and drop-off at Emmie's school, he pressed hard not to give up dropping her off.

His reasons? He gets up at 6 a.m. to walk on the treadmill and that schedule works best with drop-off duty.

I conceded the point.

My arthritis has been very tame this winter (so far), and I don't have any excuses not to hit the treadmill, with the exception of a lack of time. I got my coveted iPad for Christmas, so now I can multitask at home and at the gym.

After walking around Old Town for a few hours, I remembered how good it feels to use foot power to get around. Here in Urbana, we don't walk much. Our neighborhood has sidewalks, but there's nowhere to go. Back in Rochester, N.Y., I was able to walk to our grocery store, library and the bagel shop (two of the three are food sources -- go figure).

Here, I almost always drive. But there are ways to incorporate more walking. I can foot-it around the mall (bonus, I can spend my holiday gift cards at the same time) and I can drive to the gigantic, free indoor playground that also boasts a track for adults. Henry can run like the wild banshee he is while I do laps around the monkey bars.

When we visited Rochester for Christmas, we took the kids to one of those bouncy-house places where they can act as crazy as they want for $8 apiece. It felt a lot like I imagine the third circle of hell would be like, but it got us all moving. I'd love to see something like that pop up in Urbana, but in the meantime, we can do mom-sanctioned laps around the house or hit the pool at the Urbana Indoor Aquatic Center.

I also gave our fridge a makeover, courtesy of it being empty for two weeks while we traveled. I shopped for only fresh fruit and low-fat, high-protein yogurt to eat for breakfast, and lower-fat milk (we still need at least 2 percent milk in the house, for Henry). The crisper is filled with veggies and I boiled a half-dozen eggs to grab for an on-the-go healthy snack.

Right on the heels of the New Year, I had a health scare. The words "ultrasound," "tumor" and "radiologist" were involved. Thankfully, I'm fine.

But for about two hours, I wasn't sure that I was fine.

I've talked a good game about wanting to be healthier in case I need to fight for my life, but I've really been paying it lip service, focusing mostly on food choices.

Now that I have the clean slate that is 2011, and a terrifying afternoon of contemplating what it would be like to be really sick, I'm ready for action.

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



How is the Hatch-Paluck family doing? Check in on their progress!

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