Mom Gets Running Start With Fit Family Challenge





When it comes to the Fit Family Challenge, Beth Purdy of Versailles has hit the ground running – literally.

When she was interviewed for this story in December, the 35-year-old single mother of 4-year-old Colleen ran five miles at lunchtime at work at Georgetown College. She is Director of International Student Services.

And when she’s not out running, she’s still getting an on-the-job workout. In December, she modified her work station, transforming her desk into a treadmill desk. Purdy bought a used treadmill and the school supplied the desk.

“I love it so far,” Purdy said. “I walk very slowly, about two miles per hour, and I feel better at the end of the day. It’s very refreshing and I’ve actually burned a few hundred calories.”

Purdy and her daughter are one of the four families taking Lexington Family Magazine’s Fit Family Challenge, sponsored by Family Practice Associates. All four families have been paired with local personal trainers, and Purdy met with Alex Laughary of the YMCA at the Beaumont Y.

“I’m still hurting from the workout so we must be doing something right,” Purdy said good-naturedly.

Purdy and Laughary met in December to map out a program that emphasizes strength training.

“I do pretty well with cardio but I have no upper body strength, and I need to work on my core,” Purdy said. “We’ve worked out a program with weights and band resistance that will really help me.”

At 5-foot-4 and 135 pounds, Purdy is far from obese but hardly satisfied when it comes to her health and fitness. With a 4-year-old who brings the term “picky eater” to new heights, eating well is a challenge – and her biggest goal in the Fit Family Challenge.

Too many dinners at the Purdy home are given over to cereal – one of the few foods her daughter will eat.

In January, Purdy and the other families taking the Challenge will embark on an eight-week “Learn. Live. Lose.” program at Family Practice Associates.

An $800 value, the comprehensive, personalized weight management program is medically supervised featuring a BMI calculation and lab work to measure blood pressure, cholesterol and thyroid levels.

The program emphasizes fitness education and nutrition counseling, including implementation of the D.A.S.H. diet (the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.

Because excess weight is associated with medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease, “Learn. Live. Lose.” approaches weight loss from a health standpoint.

That suits Purdy, considering her family history. She grew up in Somerset (part of the vast section of rural America known as Coronary Valley) where unhealthy eating habits are often the rule.

Purdy has witnessed her own mother’s struggles with weight.  Her mother took the drastic measure of having lap band surgery and started a walking regimen that helped her for a while.

After knee pain limited her movement, she gained much of the weight back and is now on blood pressure medication.

Purdy wants to break the cycle of poor dietary habits for herself and her daughter. That effort became more challenging when Purdy became a single parent. Her husband Tyler died of cancer in 2011.

Suddenly on her own, Purdy virtually gave up cooking – partly because of time constraints and partly because of her daughter’s pickiness.

“I’ve never worked with a nutritionist so I think this will help me quite a bit,” Purdy said. “I want to change, but I like it to be reasonable, something both of us can follow.”

Armed with help from a personal trainer and the “Learn. Live. Lose” program, Purdy enters the Fit Family Challenge with high hopes.

“I want my daughter surrounded by a good health environment in as many ways as possible,” she said.

“I’m optimistic about the Fit Family Challenge. I’m grateful for the opportunity and think only good things can come from it.”