The Jacksons, Week 30: Knowledge Is Bliss

Filed under: Healthy Families Challenge

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Look at how happy I am in my healthy state! Credit: Jenn Hall

How do I know I've reached a sort of health and fitness nirvana? I have absolutely no regrets about eating, period.

I mean, I no longer have misgivings about eating right -- worrying that consuming too much healthy food will cause me to put on weight; or eating wrong -- fretting that devouring too much unhealthy food will cause me to put on weight.

The opportunity to kick into gear new goals -- smarter and more reachable ones, that is -- thanks to the Healthy Families Challenge, has taught me that, yes, I can make mistakes, and then make corrections and get back on track if I have to.

If I eat an extra chocolate-chip cookie one day, the day after can be the time to atone. Tomorrow, I have learned to calmly tell myself, I'll eat healthier, resume my exercise regimen and choose not to splurge for awhile.

Revelations such as this figure into all the steps forward that Jack and I have made during this journey. We're still making good progress and are taking to heart the effective health-and-fitness tips we're learning from the personal trainer, dietician and other counselors who have been advising us throughout this trip.

Maybe I've been worn down enough by years of occasional yo-yo dieting, intermittent fasting, binge eating and other bad eating habits, to reach the point where I've finally had enough. It's a pleasure to arrive at this stage of the challenge, or any worthwhile journey for that matter. I have yet to reach my goal weight, but I know I'm getting there, and tomorrow, in this case, too, is another day.

I touched base this week with Mary-Amanda Haskins, the project coordinator of "New Beginnings," the University of Mississippi employee health-and-fitness program of which I'm a participant. She was pleased with my progress and said that I was on the right track. We agreed -- and many of you know -- that the real challenge comes in trying to incorporate all this health and fitness into your regular lifestyle; I mean, really making it a routine part of life, instead of doing it in fits and starts.

For instance, those temporary weight-loss plans, such as two-week, grapefruit, high-carb, fasting and other crash diets, -- I could go on -- don't work in the long run. Mary-Amanda gave me a few of the reasons why in the form of a pamphlet provided by Nutritious Ways, a company created to help people overcome food problems and to prevent the development of eating disorders:

* You go on a diet only to go off it later -- this doesn't teach you how to live for life.
* You don't learn how to include your favorite foods into your everyday existence -- you don't learn balance and moderation.
* You lose muscle, not fat, when you severely limit your calories.

But here are some examples of what does work:

* Strength training -- lifting weights at least twice a week -- will toughen your muscles and bones, and boost your metabolism, helping weight to fall off your frame naturally.
* Actually eating! Regularly consume, and enjoy, an adequate amount of food.
* Switch to lower-fat and whole-grain foods and prepare more high-fiber home-cooked meals at home.
* Moving! Get physical with a cardio-friendly activity several times a week: walk, play tennis, go for a bike ride, etc.
* Ever hold a soccer ball above your head and bring it down to make contact with alternating raised knees across your driveway, yard or living room? Try that for several reps. Why not? Encourage new activities to prevent exercise boredom and burnout.

I'm going to tell you the same thing I tell myself: Come on, you can do this, and stay committed to it.

That's what it will actually take to achieve our goals. And to experience that feeling of pure satisfaction? That's bliss.

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.