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Losing weight as a family

Abbi Perets lives in Houston, TX, with her husband and five children.






Get going to get healthy

How can your family lose weight together? Peeling off those winter layers reveals a few extra pounds for many of us. And since kids with even minor weight issues are at risk to become adults with more serious health problems, today's the day to make a change. Get your whole family healthy -- and get happy at the same time.

Family Playing Softball

Around age 6 or 7, you notice that your child's baby fat more closely resembles, well, actual fat. And no, you're not one of those crazy parents who thinks her daughters should be stick thin and her sons should be buff. But on the other hand, you don't want to be the mom in denial feeding chocolate to her already overweight child -- remember Augustus Gloop from Willy Wonka?

Of course, if your child has serious weight issues, you should have a frank talk with your pediatrician -- preferably with your spouse and without your child. Together, you can come up with a complete plan to get healthy. And it goes without saying that you should get a doctor's permission before you make any drastic changes to your family's diet and exercise regime. But once you've done that, here's how to start.



Don't use the word "exercise"

Unless you want your kids to start getting super creative with their excuses, don't use the word exercise. Instead, announce something like, "Ok, everyone, family walk time," or "Two-on-two in the driveway in five minutes." Make it clear that participation is mandatory, but keep the tone light.

Can't imagine your family shooting hoops outside? Then fire up the Wii and start a Wii Sports challenge.



Get your spouse to get with the program

Change is hard, and you'll undoubtedly meet some resistance when you propose a healthier lifestyle. Make sure you have your spouse on board. One surprisingly easy way to do this is to ask for his advice. "Honey, I'm trying to figure out some ways we can all get healthier. Can you help me think of some fun family activities we can all do together?"

The caveat: If you ask for his help, you have to use some of his suggestions. So remember that compromise means concessions on both sides, not just his. You may find yourself playing more touch football than you'd like, but if it's getting your family healthy, go with it.



Set family goals

Rather than working for weight loss, think about walking a 5k as a family. Eventually, you might even work your way up to a family fun run. Take a martial arts class and try to get everyone to advance one level in a set period of time. Start swimming and work on getting everyone certified as a lifeguard. Pick an activity and find a complementary goal.

Of course, what's the point of meeting a goal if there's no reward? Work as a family towards something you can all enjoy -- whether it's buying a new gaming system, taking a trip to a playoff game in your new favorite sport, a relaxing week at the beach, or an aerial tour of your own city. Work together to figure out what reward excites everyone, and work towards getting it -- together.

Make the commitment to get your family healthy, and let it take you to new and exciting places. Of course, we'd love to hear what you're doing -- and what's working -- for you and your family. So let us know in the comments!

Tell us: Share your family fitness tips! How do you keep the family healthy? Comment below!

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