The Jacksons, Week 26: The Season of Sacrifice

Filed under: Healthy Families Challenge

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The family that does push-ups together stays healthy together. Credit: Deidra Jackson

Jack and I both are giving up chocolate for Lent. No, we've never gorged ourselves on it, but boy, did we find pleasure in eating it.

So, in preparation for this next month or so of going without, we're also continuing our efforts in the Healthy Families Challenge and practicing more discipline and self-control. I've pushed to the back of our refrigerator the half-eaten pouch of dark chocolate-covered raisins, and Jack has ditched part of a chocolate-and-almond candy bar he had stowed in the freezer.

Soon after we agreed to not give in to temptation -- our cravings for chocolate in observance of the religious season -- we, of course, yearned for it briefly. It's funny how that works. But it's a small sacrifice, and we've learned to turn off those appetite flashes for all things cocoa, and have refocused our attentions on becoming fitter together.

I'm glad Jackson and I are experiencing together foregoing something we both enjoy. We challenge and remind one another of our goals, especially if we get sidetracked and need extra motivation. The threat of getting it on tape -- one of us capturing less-than-stellar moments of the other on the Flip cam -- always looms. (And there's a bit of Chick-fil-A ugliness on our latest video to prove it.)

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

"Come on, Jack, let's do our pushups."

I was trying to motivate myself to get on our living-room floor as much as I was instructing my son to join me there.

As a team, we've also begun doing daily pushups and situps. Full-body, toe-to-ground pushups are not my strong suit. Unlike the modified pushups when your knees touch the ground, I struggle with the harder ones I do during workout sessions with my personal trainer, Jenn Hall, a graduate assistant with the University of Mississippi Department of Campus Recreation. However, Jack can pull off a few more than I can, since his fencing instructors at the Oxford Fencers Club take him and the other youth through full-strength pushups as part of their regular workout regimen. And, maybe he has youth and vitality on his side, too.

So each day, we both complete at least 30 of them, complementing the exercises with additional tricep and bicep work on the couch and loveseat as I mentioned in an earlier post.

Jack is still battling seasonal allergies this week as we power through what already looks to be a run of record pollen counts around the country. Luckily, rains have minimized much of the dust here, and the wetness has made it bearable to be outdoors for limited amounts of time. However, coughing and congestion have sidelined Jack from at least one fencing session and a couple of opportunities to improve on our pushups at home.

As his allergy meds run their course, I'm sure he'll soon be back up to full speed. And the elimination of another sugar from our diets -- even temporarily -- will do our bodies good.

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



Check out how the other families are doing!

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