The Hatch-Palucks, Week 23: Motivating Milestones

Filed under: Healthy Families Challenge

amy hatch picture

There's nothing quite like losing so much weight that you need to buy all new clothes. Like my red dress? Credit: Amy Hatch

I had to pull my belt in a notch this week.

And no, I'm not talking about a metaphorical belt-tightening. My pants were actually too big.

Channing and I have been pretty good about sticking to our fitness routine this month, and we both dropped some poundage. I'm down to 135, according to our scale -- which isn't a big drop, since I was 136 last time we checked in -- but my shape is changing.

I noticed that my pants were sagging in the butt and I was having to hike them up a lot. Then, one evening while changing into my PJs, I was able to slide my jeans over my hips -- while they were zipped and buttoned.

Channing is also a slimmer version of himself. He came downstairs for work a few days ago clad in a dark sweater and dark-gray pants, and I looked him over appreciatively.

"Wow" I said, circling him. "You look really skinny!"

"Do I?" he asked.

He really did. His face is thinner and he has a much sleeker look about him, in general.

The best part of these changes in our bodies is that we didn't have to starve ourselves to get here. We've made slow but steady changes in the way we eat, and those changes are paying big dividends.

One of the biggest changes we've made is cutting back on the number of times we eat fast food. More and more often, we eat at home, even if it means that we grab turkey sandwiches with a side of fruit instead of a four-course meal.

When we last met with our team at the Family Resiliency Center at the University of Illinois, one of the most crucial pieces of advice they gave us was to stop viewing dinner as such an event.

I felt so much pressure to cook a full meal, from soup to nuts, and most days it felt like such a burden. There wasn't enough time, I was too stressed, our schedules were in conflict ... it was always something.

And those nights always ended with burgers and fries. Our waistlines paid the price.

My new motto: Sometimes a frozen dinner or soup from a can is A-OK.

Even better, I now try to get a few meals prepared in advance on Sundays, even if cooking is something as simple as poaching chicken to add to a salad or some quesadillas later in the week. We plan on one frozen meal a week, usually a light pizza, and we always set Sunday evening aside for a hearty dinner -- the kind of home-cooked meal that sticks to your ribs, like beef tenderloin and mashed potatoes.

That way, we don't feel deprived.

We're more conscious of the fact that the kids are watching us, too, and so we model better choices in front of them. If we do indulge ourselves, we do it after they are in bed.

As in all things, moderation has turned out to be the key for us, as well as being more aware of what we're eating. I find myself craving fruit more and more -- and chocolate cake less and less.

While I've lost about seven pounds since we embarked on the Healthy Families Challenge in October, the shape of my body has changed dramatically.

My potbelly, which I've lugged around since after Emmie was born in 2004, is disappearing. Dresses that once showed my love-handles with cruel specificity now glide smoothly over my hips. And then there's that belt -- the one I had to pull in a notch.

I was asked to co-moderate the first mayoral debate here in Champaign next week, along with my business partner, and of course, the first thing I did was look in my closet to see what I might have to wear for this important event.

I tried on a bunch of professional clothes leftover from when I worked full-time in a corporate setting (as opposed to now, when I clock my hours in a campus coffee shop) -- and not one thing fit.

It was all too big. I had to go shopping, where I discovered I am two pant sizes smaller than I was in October.

Seeing that single digit on the tag inside my new pants?

That's all the motivation I need to keep going.

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.