Join Healthy Families Challenge, Track Activities, Win Prizes

Healthy Fam Family Biking

If you want to eat healthier, get more exercise and improve your family’s wellness – and would welcome an extra incentive – join the Carolina Parent Healthy Families Challenge. Starting this January, we’ll provide online tools and tips to help you get on track in 2013.

During the challenge, health and wellness experts will share advice in blogs, articles and newsletter tips. You can track your individual healthy habits and activities online to earn points to win prizes- including $1,000!

Experts will work closely with two Triangle families to develop personal plans for healthier lifestyles. These families will share what works for them, recent challenges and how they are doing as they travel the path to wellness. Their successes and solutions may work for you, too!

Meet the Families

The Steeds want help balancing healthy eating with busy schedulesTHE STEEDS: Tina Steed, 43, is a single mother who works full time and enjoys riding horses. She and her daughters, Day, 10, and Belle, 8, practice taekwondo and are involved in music. They all are huge Disney fans!

Their Challenges: A hectic schedule is one of the Steeds’ main challenges to achieving healthier living. Like many families, Tina says work and extracurricular activities tend to crowd out time to exercise, and she’d like to learn more about preparing healthy meals.  “Our life consists of either a quick processed dinner out or at home, and not much exercising,” she reports. She adds that she and the girls’ dad use food as a “celebration” of being together and as rewards.

Desired Changes: Tina would like to lower everyone’s body mass index (BMI), start eating healthier and enjoy exercising for fun more often.

The Carrs would like to find more ways to have fun exercising together.THE CARRS: Ben Carr, 30, Elizabeth, 29, Joseph, 5 (soon to be 6!) and Dallen, 3, recently moved to this area, and Elizabeth is home-schooling Joseph and Dallen. They enjoy spending time together as a family.

Their Challenges: The Carrs are looking for extra motivation to accomplish their health, fitness and wellness goals. Elizabeth says she and Ben have found it difficult to stay active after getting married and having children. Elizabeth would like to learn to shop for and cook healthy meals and better schedule her time. They are looking forward to learning more about resources in the area that can help them reach their healthy living goals.

Desired Changes: Along with learning to cook healthier meals, Elizabeth says she would like everyone to have more energy, feel good about themselves on the inside (because they are fit, well and eating right) as well as on the outside (because they are fit, healthy and exercising regularly). “I want us to be able to give our children a great future and fun, active parents – and eventually grandparents – by living healthy now,” Elizabeth says.

Meet the Experts

Cindy GouldingCindy Goulding has more than 25 years of experience as a licensed behavioral counselor, certified fitness trainer, and certified health and wellness coach. She uses a holistic approach to achieving wellness. Goulding says that as a parent and educator, she is committed to getting the whole family on board with healthy eating and exercise, and keeping it fun for everyone. She and her husband started Victorious, which provides life management coaching, consulting and workshops, and she wrote Healthy Weight: It’s a Family Affair (Outskirts Press, 2012).

Favorite way to stay positive and motivated to reach a goal: When you share your goals with others and have a support system, staying motivated is much easier than trying to achieve goals on your own, Goulding says. Her favorite ways to keep motivated are to develop a supportive network to help with accountability and encouragement, and to have a long-term vision of how she wants to feel. Focusing on what she can do helps her keep a positive attitude and continue moving forward to achieve and maintain goals.

Meredith Dolan

Meredith Dolan is a registered dietitian with a master of science in nutritional sciences. She has more than eight years of experience in child obesity prevention and treatment, including research, clinical programs and public health settings. Dolan is currently the program manager of Be Active Kids.

What’s in her refrigerator? Leftover turkey and stewed apples, tomato basil soup, string cheese, a variety of vegetables (cherry tomatoes, celery, cucumbers, red onions, spinach, lots of garlic), clementines, a pomegranate, low-fat Greek yogurt, leftover blackberry pie and too many condiments.

sm-new-tonya-peele-09.jpgTonya Peele
is also providing healthy eating tips for our readers, starting with how to make healthier winter comfort food (see page 33). She writes from personal and professional experience, having lost 30 pounds by changing the way she eats. Peele is a wellness coach who also teaches nutrition and anatomy and physiology at Wake Tech Community College. She wrote Quick Wins for Healthy Eating: Easy Changes You and Your Family Can Make Now (Food & Me, LLC, 2010) and writes The Quick Dish blog at

The YMCA of the Triangle is providing fitness expertise during the Healthy Families Challenge, plus memberships for the Steed and Carr families.

Kara is a trainer at the YMCA at The FactoryTips for winter workouts: Don’t forget the sunscreen, says Kara Lockhart (right), a trainer at the YMCA at The Factory who will work with the Carrs. The sun’s radiation can still damage skin in the winter, and reflection from any snow can increase exposure. Also stay hydrated. You still sweat when it’s cold.

Beth is a trainer at the Cary YMCABeth Mosher-Blount (left), a trainer at the Cary YMCA who will work with the Steeds, encourages families to get outside as much as possible to take advantage of our milder winters. Go for a hike dressed in layers you can shed as you warm up.

155x155-final-challenge-logo-blue_003.jpgGet Fit and Win

Register for the Healthy Families Challenge. By logging activities and healthy habits, your family earns points toward prizes, including a chance to win $1,000. Sign up to get our Healthy Families e-newsletter and don’t miss our Healthy Families Challenge blogs. Be sure to mark your calendar for our Healthy Families Expo, Jan. 26, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at The Streets of Southpoint in Durham.

Categories: Family Health, Fit Family Challenge, Health, Nutrition