Somehow, in those TV shows, parents are always trim and fit, they have plenty of time to hit the gym and they often have a healthy meal on the table every night.
In the real world, the schedules of working parents and active kids don’t leave time for cooking and exercise.
That is why Lexington Family Magazine started the Fit Family Challenge to commemorate the magazine’s 15th anniversary.
It’s also why the Hopps family signed up as soon as they heard about it.
Shelley and Matthew Hopps and their children, Jacquelyn Young, 19, Katie Young, 16, Connor Hopps, 11, and Faith Hopps, 10, wanted help with two challenges – finding time to exercise and revamping their diet.
The Hopps have been partnered with the exercise professionals at Fast Track Fitness and with the Family Practice Associate’s “Learn. Live. Lose” weight management program.
This is a comprehensive, personalized weight management program that is medically supervised by Family Practice Associates.
Shelley, a chemist at the University of Kentucky, says that the program has been very effective.
So effective, in fact, she has already lost 11 pounds since starting it in January.
Much of that success Shelley attributes to the changes in her family’s diet.
“It was very helpful to learn from a nutritionist,” Shelley said. “They gave us options and ideas.”
Those ideas have come from the DASH Diet, which emphasizes healthy foods, fruits and vegetables and lean protein with the goal of lowering blood pressure and reducing weight.
One of the first changes Shelley made was to begin her grocery shopping in the produce section.
Now when her kids go looking for snacks, they find bags of carrots and boxes of raisins.
“Connor is in the middle of a growth spurt so he eats like a bear, but now he is finding good, nutritious things to eat,” Shelley said.
Shelley is trying new recipes and new substitutions, some of which she found in the “DASH Diet for Dummies” cookbook.
She has substituted whole wheat flour for white flour in some recipes and even tops Connor’s pizza in lower fat turkey pepperoni.
“He can still be a kid and just get healthier options,” she said.
While they are adapting to a healthier diet, the family is working more exercise into their schedules.
Grant Lanning from Fast Track Fitness has been teaching the family exercises to improve their fitness.
This has inspired Shelley to try the Legacy Trail, which runs right past her office.
“Before I used to just look at the trail, now I get on it,” she said.
More than just walking the trail, Shelley plans to begin running it as well. Daughter Jackie, a former cross country runner, is planning to run the 5k Midsummer Night’s Run in downtown Lexington.
“My goal is to run with her this year,” Shelley said.
While dieting and exercising sound like hard work, for Shelley, her new lifestyle is actually making her days easier.
“Before it was hard to get out of bed in the morning, but now I get right out of bed,” she said.
“I used to drink coffee all day long. Now, I drink water. That’s huge. I never used to drink water.”