To Ben’s credit, he didn’t say anything.
Much as he loves to tease his little sister, he knew better than to brag about coming within 2 ounces of a 10 percent loss at yesterday’s Wells Weighs In monthly weight check, knowing that Colleen wound up with a 1-pound gain.
Is that an example of teamwork? From the guy who just last year, when a slightly different lineup took its first shot at this contest, used to wave cookies in his sister’s face?
I guess I’m looking for the silver lining now that we’re destined to plummet in the standings after this month’s performance: Though Ben and I lost a little over 5 pounds between us, Rowan and Colleen teamed up for a 3-pound gain.
We’re not giving up, though our odds of winning that $1,000 prize — a real attraction to a team with three kids on it — have dwindled considerably.
I’d hoped that as long as we stayed in contention, that would buy us four months of momentum to make some lasting family dietary changes. We’re eating much more produce and much less processed food, and the treats we do eat are much more likely to be homemade (and therefore less fatty) these days. If we can just stay focused for one more month, I think the adjustments we’ve made will stick.
The other underlying goal was to learn and practice some weight control tools — so that none of the kids find themselves, as I did, well into middle-age before they had a clue as to how to control their eating.
For Colleen, those tools are needed ASAP, so that her body doesn’t get in her way of enjoying those sports she loves so much.
She’s been frustrated by a month-long slump, but the reality is, that’s how weight loss goes sometimes. The initial changes she made in both diet and exercise have helped her take off the first layer of chubbiness, and she’s basically maintained about a 12-pound loss over three months.
Trouble is, to make much more progress she’s going to need to work some vegetables into her diet so she can fill up on low-calorie foods. So she’s screwing up her resolve for Project Colleen Fuel, a final month of reworking the recipes of all her favorite foods. (One idea we may try: Pureed cauliflower in chocolate pudding. Stay tuned.)
For Ben, the various weight-loss tools we’ve been experimenting with might not seem terribly important right now. But he won’t be a growing teenage athlete forever. The world is full of flabby ex-jocks with good workout intentions but no real clue about how to control their eating. He still has a definite sweet tooth, but he’s gotten interested in reading food labels and he loves trying new veggies, spices and sauces.
Rowan, at 18, has a pretty good system in place for dropping 10 pounds or so when she needs to, and she’s generally set a good example for the rest of us. She prefers to fill up on beans, veggies and fruit, and she’s been the family leader in moving away from drinking soda.
But she’s also getting her first look at how a busy schedule can disrupt good health habits. In her first couple of weeks working in Lowe’s Garden Center for several hours after school, her workouts have fallen by the wayside and she’s been so hungry when she gets home she hasn’t been paying as much attention to her meals.
As for me, technically I’ve met my initial goal of a 10 percent loss, though part of that on either end — both my highest weight at the beginning and my low yesterday — come from knowing how to manipulate the scale a bit. I have dispatched a few pounds of post-holiday excess, but I’ll likely try to drop a couple more, just to give me a bit of wiggling room and to help the rest of the team stay focused.
But it’s funny how often during the past three months I feel like I’m learning as much from the kids as they are from me.