Healthy Living Unites 3 Generations*

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Editor's Note: Greg (KSIGMA1222) has lost 165 pounds with SparkPeople, and this father of three says his family's lives will never be the same. His daughters are growing up healthy and happy, thanks in part to his family's commitment to the SparkPeople philosophy of small steps to reach larger goals. He has also grown closer with his father, who has always been active.

By Greg Gaul (KSIGMA1222)

Since I started losing weight and shaping up, much in our lives has changed. The changes are small, but they're significant. We started walking to school and church more since both are only about half a mile away. We take more walks as a family and go to the park more. We go swimming more in the summer and are outside more in general and do not sit nearly as much as we use to and watch TV.

We keep healthier foods around encourage our children to try them. We are also teaching them serving sizes and when to know when they are full. To give an example, I think they are still working on their Halloween candy, one piece at a time! But I think a couple Christmas candy canes may have gotten mixed in there as well.

My kids learned to eat better almost from the start--my oldest was just turning 5 at the time I started. They learn to have a complete meal, they need to have a fruit, vegetable and an entrée and to eat all three meals plus snacks. They ask for snacks and know they need to eat all three foods on their plates and now prepare their fruit while we prepare dinner for them.

We do not eat out as much as we did before, so we are able to sit down at home as a family and have dinner together. I learned what my daughters like to eat and then how to work other foods in to get them to try and maybe like them--but not force them to eat them.

I lost the weight for myself so I could be more the father I wanted to be--rather than the one I talked about being and thought about being. I want to see them grow up and experience life. I went skiing with my dad for the first time last year, and it was amazing for me; I want to be able to do that with them. My dad is a very active man who was a runner when he was my age, and I have always aspired to be as much like him as I can. I want to give that to my kids as best I can and be there and able as long as possible.

I am now more active and willing to go out and do things than I was before so they are as well. They come and cheer me on in races, and I get to play more with them and not be winded or all sweaty. Before, if it was hot outside--forget about me even thinking of going outside. Now I take them to the pool or playground and could care less about getting hot or sweaty. I can also show them that you can and should always remain active throughout life, as my father showed me.

Now that I've lost weight, I am able to not only keep up with my daughters but lead the way. I had never thought too much about my dad and how active he was--and is even now. But when I decided to live a healthy lifestyle, I had that to fall back on and use as an example, without even knowing it. And it goes both ways: My dad and I are much closer now. He is prouder of me now for this, not because he says it but because he shows it, as he always has, by example. We went skiing and will go again, we hike, bike and just now do more together, which I never realized before is how to get close to my dad and speak his language, for now, it is mine too.

How has weight loss (or your healthy lifestyle changes) affected your relationships with your loved ones?

*Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.