Against All Odds, Thomas Family Perseveres

Geneva-thomas-with-chrisWhen Geneva Thomas thinks of challenges she spells that with a capital C.

The challenges started even before she volunteered for Lexington Family’s Fit Family Challenge.

But the challenge became even greater when the efforts of her and her children to meet their weight loss and fitness goals were threatened.

First, her daughter Saraya, 13, suffered a broken foot in September.

Then Geneva broke her own foot in December, making exercise a real challenge for the family.

A beloved aunt passed away in February. “She was like a second mom to me,” Geneva said.

Then in March, the family moved from its apartment near Tates Creek Road to one closer to Geneva’s job at Kentucky Medical Services Foundation off Alumni Drive.

Few things in life are as stressful as making a move, especially when three children are involved. Her youngest, Chris, is 3.

And Geneva’s 18-year-old son, Dontaz, will join the Marines after his May graduation from high school.

“It’s hard,” Geneva said. “That’s my baby. He is my right-hand man.”

All of this upheaval has led to emotional eating, which was compounded by Geneva and Saraya’s birthdays in February which, of course, meant more eating.

Despite all of these challenges, the Thomas family was determined to become more fit.

The family met with Kathy Hampton of Body Slam Boot Camp.

She taught them exercises they could do at home like the Russian Twist, Wall Squats and Mountain Climbing.

Geneva and Saraya also joined The Roc, the recreation outreach center at Immanuel Baptist Church.

“We’re trying,” Geneva said.

In fact, Geneva and Saraya have decided to train for the Bluegrass Mud Run, a muddy 5K obstacle race scheduled for Sept. 21 at Commonwealth Stadium.

With the weather warming up, Geneva and Saraya have begun walking together at Kirklevington Park.

The 0.9 mile Vita Course that includes balance beams and pull-up challenges have become a favorite.

“We have so much fun,” Geneva said, “We compete with each other. See who can do more, go longer.”

Thomas family members also altered their eating habits.

After meeting with the professionals at the Family Practice Associates’ Learn. Live. Lose Program, the family made big changes in their daily routines.

The program, which offers personalized, medically supervised weight management, emphasizes healthy eating through the D.A.S.H. diet that is heavy on grains, vegetables and fruits.

“We never ate breakfast before,” Geneva said. “But our trainer suggested cutting up frozen fruit and blending it with coconut water for something quick in the morning.

“It’s really good and easy.”

Geneva and Saraya are now grocery shopping together and paying careful attention to the ingredients in the food they buy.

Saraya has learned to read food labels. “She will compare food and see what’s better for us,” Geneva said.

Despite all the challenges to their success, Geneva says that she is happy with the Fit Family Challenge.

“We are more conscientious now, we keep track of calories. We write down what we eat,” she said.

This accountability is the key to the family’s success. “I ask myself, “Do I really need this?”