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. 

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Good job!!! Report
Way to go! Thanks for the great article! Report
Your daughters will love you for what you have done for yourself and ultimately for them!! Report
Thanks. Congrats on your success and keep up the good work! I still have a long way to go but the weight I have lost have motivated some of my family members, friends and co-workers. Report
All I can say is WoW! This is the exact kind of change I am hoping to make in my life. Report
Congratulations on losing all that weight and making a whole new lifestyle for yourself and your family.
Best of luck in the future and with all your new goals. Report
Great inspirational story! Thank you! Report
Greg!! What an awesome compliment for you to be in the daily Spark! I am so inspired by your work and your family.
Thank you for being my Spark Friend! Report
What a great story. Good modeling is what will help this generation value fitness. In this high-tech society we really have to counter-act the sedentary activities of work and leisure. You are leaving a great legacy! Report
What a great blog, Greg! You are an inspiration to many people by telling your story and living as an example. Keep up the great work! Your children are truly blessed. And it is so nice to know you are closer with your father now, being able to participate with him in your new active lifestyle. Report
This is a great article, congratulations on having the strength to turn your life around and putting your family and yourself first! Report
Yeh for you change is positive when it is a betterment. Report
I really enjoyed reading this article. I think you are a great role model, and your children are very lucky to have such a great father. Report
This is a beautiful story and I am so happy for you and your family. It sounds like they have a keys to a healthy lifestyle already and you have been their inspiration. Way to go, Dad!!

I hope others follow your example for their chidren too.

God bless you all ~ Sarah Report
I love this post. I always wished that my parents had been active and taught me more about eating well and exercising. Now that they are retired my Dad walks everyday with a friend and my Mom swims, they live in Florida and are really active. They were not always that way, both factory workers they were always too wiped out to do anything with me, when I was 21 and my Dad was 50 he had a heart attack and that was a wake up call for him, but he did not get healthy till he retired a year ago...I have been on a yoyo since having my son 10 years ago and joining SP last April was the best thing I ever could have done for myself. I have never been healthier! Report
Congrats on your weight loss. It is great that you are instilling good health and nutrition habits to your daughters. Keep up the good work! Report
I drink Diet Pepsi as this is what we were raised on due to dad's health. My sister was drinking regualr Pepsi until she was disagnosis with diabetes! Never want a doctor to dictate to me what I can or can't eat or drink. It's harder then and I feel, because dad had to adjust, I'm eating and maintaining a healthier lifestyle which is easier to be an example to teach children and grandchildren. They do what they see and say what they hear! Report
Great article. I emailed it to two of my brothers. Report
Thank you for this article. I decided to get healthy for my great-granddaughter who was born in May 09. I'd kinda like to be around to see her grow up. Report
Thanks this was a great article. Congratulations on your weight loss. Report
I would love it if my husband read your article - and got inpired! He has about as much to lose as you did. It would be soooooo much easier to do this weight loss thing if we were both doing it! Congratulations for both your weight loss and getting your family on board! Report
This was great... very inspirational! Thank you for sharing. Report
Very inspirational!! Thank you so much! Report
For me, my healthy eating has effected my relationships with my loved ones negatively. Some don't understand my desire to eat healthy! When I eat healthy snacks, they make fun of me and when I pass up sweets offered to me, they don't understand and take it as an insult! Most of the time, I just eat what is offered me even if I don't want it because that is easier then taking thier comments. I also get alit of problems because I eat small meals throughout the day and they don't get why I "eat all the time".
Some people, like my parents, are very supportive but for the most part no one understands :( Report
Thank you so much for sharing your experience! Congrats on your weight loss and finding the real you! Report
You are an inspiration. Thank you for sharing! Report
Congratulations on your weight loss! My dad is very active as well and I'm hoping once I lose my weight, he and I will be closet. Report
What a great article! ROCKSTAR! Report
This is a great article and shows that we all need each other and learn from each other our whole lives. Your daughter will most likely, never be where you were when you decided to get healthy because they are learning right the firt time. Keep up the good work and the great life. Report
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