Healthy Living Unites 3 Generations*

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Editor's Note: Greg (KSIGMA1222) has lost 165 pounds with SparkPeople, and this father of three says his family's lives will never be the same. His daughters are growing up healthy and happy, thanks in part to his family's commitment to the SparkPeople philosophy of small steps to reach larger goals. He has also grown closer with his father, who has always been active.

By Greg Gaul (KSIGMA1222)

Since I started losing weight and shaping up, much in our lives has changed. The changes are small, but they're significant. We started walking to school and church more since both are only about half a mile away. We take more walks as a family and go to the park more. We go swimming more in the summer and are outside more in general and do not sit nearly as much as we use to and watch TV.

We keep healthier foods around encourage our children to try them. We are also teaching them serving sizes and when to know when they are full. To give an example, I think they are still working on their Halloween candy, one piece at a time! But I think a couple Christmas candy canes may have gotten mixed in there as well.

My kids learned to eat better almost from the start--my oldest was just turning 5 at the time I started. They learn to have a complete meal, they need to have a fruit, vegetable and an entrée and to eat all three meals plus snacks. They ask for snacks and know they need to eat all three foods on their plates and now prepare their fruit while we prepare dinner for them.

We do not eat out as much as we did before, so we are able to sit down at home as a family and have dinner together. I learned what my daughters like to eat and then how to work other foods in to get them to try and maybe like them--but not force them to eat them.

I lost the weight for myself so I could be more the father I wanted to be--rather than the one I talked about being and thought about being. I want to see them grow up and experience life. I went skiing with my dad for the first time last year, and it was amazing for me; I want to be able to do that with them. My dad is a very active man who was a runner when he was my age, and I have always aspired to be as much like him as I can. I want to give that to my kids as best I can and be there and able as long as possible.

I am now more active and willing to go out and do things than I was before so they are as well. They come and cheer me on in races, and I get to play more with them and not be winded or all sweaty. Before, if it was hot outside--forget about me even thinking of going outside. Now I take them to the pool or playground and could care less about getting hot or sweaty. I can also show them that you can and should always remain active throughout life, as my father showed me.

Now that I've lost weight, I am able to not only keep up with my daughters but lead the way. I had never thought too much about my dad and how active he was--and is even now. But when I decided to live a healthy lifestyle, I had that to fall back on and use as an example, without even knowing it. And it goes both ways: My dad and I are much closer now. He is prouder of me now for this, not because he says it but because he shows it, as he always has, by example. We went skiing and will go again, we hike, bike and just now do more together, which I never realized before is how to get close to my dad and speak his language, for now, it is mine too.

How has weight loss (or your healthy lifestyle changes) affected your relationships with your loved ones?

*Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program. 

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Wonderful story! I took a walk with my grandsons yesterday. It was a beautiful fall evening. Report
Congratulations on taking care of you. You are for sure making your children proud and leading by example. It is wonderful that you have kids help with preparing the fruit while you cook. Keep up the good work. Report
This is one of the best stories I heard lately. I can relate with eating and doing things right and doing the right things for your kids also.
This is the only chance while they are still under our care to teach them good skills and support through this journey.
We want to keep up with our kids and not say sorry I am to tired to move or whatever the excuse might be.
Seeing the smiles on your faces show that anyone can do this.
Awesome weight loss! Keep up the good work your an inspiration to us all. Report
My husband is a Scorpio who is very critical, so I don't discuss my diet with him. I realize I have been on MANY diets and he thinks I'll never achieve my goal, so I just keep this to myself. LOL He is a person with a lot of NATURAL muscle, as he can just pick up something heavy and gain muscle, so he doesn't know what it is to deal with weight loss. Report
Greg, I'm at the start of my journey, and your blog is a great motivator to keep going, one step at a time. Thank you. Report
Way to go Greg! Report
My son got me on, but now that I'm really happy and into it, he's sorta dropped out. I wish he would read your article. Thank you so much for the inspiring story! We all really appreciate it. Report
What a great legacy you have given to your children--that of health, fitness and fun! You should be proud of yourself! Report
Thank you so much for sharing your story! I've been thinking about this alot lately- what sort of example I'm being for our 8 yr. old granddaughter that we've raised. I'm so glad I saw your post and feel more able than ever to make healthy changes! Report
Such an inspiring story. Keep up the great work!! Report
Fanstastic way to go, Greg. Keep up the lifestyle good for you and for your family! Report
I opened this article and saw that smiling face and I said to myself "I know him, that's Greg!"

Great article and I already knew that you were a great inspiration to me and MANY other SParkers out there!. Kudos for all your efforts!

Thanks again for all you do for each of us!
Enjoy your family and your health!!! Report
Thanks! Report
Inspired! Thanks..looking forward to sharing with grandkids! Report
How nice for the whole family! Very inspiring. Report
Greg... thanks for the inspiring story! Report
Wonderful story...thanks for sharing that.
You're doing great things with you family and I'm glad to hear you have a closer relationship with you father.
Keep up the great work.
Great Job Report
Congratulations. Report
that's terrific! i bet you have all kinds of energy now. it sounds like a fun life. Report
Very Interesting Report
Losing weight has help me have more energy. My husband and I have been skiing for years, but since i lost weight i have more energy and my skiing has improved a lot because of it. I still can't ski as fast as he does but he's been skiing for a lot longer lol. Report
Great article Report
Thanks for sharing...truly inspirational! Report
Truly inspiring, thanks! Report
Very nice entry Greg! Your shared experiences are excellent examples of why we are here. It's not just about pounds lost. It's about living! Congratuations! Well done! Birdie. Report
Thank you for sharing your awesome story!! Report
How cool! I hope my children benefit from my changes as much as yours have. Report
Various effects on people near and dear to me. First people thought that I was sick and worried. After that some family members were uncomfortable with my weightloss. Other family and friends actually seemed motivated by my subtle weightloss and boost of energy to consider doing themselves. Report
Fitness and prayer...keeps giving through the ages! Report
What a wonderful testimony and your children can be nothing but better for it. And you are living what is important to all of us. You are an inspiration to many. Thanks for sharing your story. Report
WOW ~ wish I had had YOU for a role model when I was a young kid! Report
WOW, it's story like yours that keep us going. Report
Although my husband does not follow SparkPeople, he's very glad it's in my life because it affects him most days. I used to do most of the cooking, and since retiring, almost all of it. The recipes I get from SP are priceless - I've really branched out in my cooking, and my husband is loving it. He tells me people from work look with envy at some of the leftovers he takes for lunches! Also, we have always been active together, but now I push even more to get outside and snowshoe or bicycle. SP has helped make our marriage stronger. Report
Great blog Greg!
I wish that my habits could/would rub off on my family, but alas it hasn't. I didn't want to be the "FAT DAD" at school and thanks to determination and Spark I'm probably one of the most fit.

I'm glad that you've been able to rekindle your relationship with your dad. It's important that you cherish parents as long as we've got them.

Peace out bro! Report
Kudos to you! This was very inspiring for me. I'm just starting out and for all the same reasons you've described above. This lets me know that success is in the making. Thank you for sharing your story... Report
Bravo! Awesome! I took great Joy in reading your blog. Its all about the ones we love and who love us. First we must love ourselves Report
What a nice blog. You continue to be an inspiration to the spark community. It is wonderful that you are able to relate so well with you father and you kids will see that too so you relationship with them will be strong as they get older.
Hope all is well,
Bob Report
My whole family has started to work out and eat healthier. I use Isagenix shakes for breakfast and my daughter has also been using them. We are on a mission to get fit. Report
Outstanding results, congratulations! I am on a similar path (just further back!) for the same reasons you have -- doing it for me, to be a better father. Kids are an amazing motivator. Nothing has satisfied me more than running with my kids on their first 1 mile fun run last year (when they were age 4 and 3), and to then have them cheer me on as I ran a 5K immediately afterwards. Your kids will be much, much better off because of your efforts and commitment. What a great dad! Report
Way to go Dad! Report
I think my lifestyle changes have made me more concerned or judgmental about the habits of the people I love. Report
Helps me to be MORE on the go mom!
I have more energy, PLUS I'll beable to keep up with all MY Grandkids!!! Report
so inspirational...thank you! Report
What an inspiration you are. A great example of family life as it should be lived
for our society as a whole. Way to Goo.
janisli Report
What a lovely and inspiring blog, Greg! It gives me hope that you've become so much closer to your family and have united in living a healthier lifestyle. Unfortunately, I don't have much family and we live very far apart, but I would love to be an inspiration for my friends.

Thank you for sharing your story! Report
Great blog, very inspirational. I would love to see before and after photos! Report
Beautiful story and family life, brought tears to my eyes. You are an inspiration. Our society would be a much better place if more families were like yours. Report
Praise! We are still working on candy from last year-2008. If it was left to me, I would have given it away. I rarely EVER gave candy to my boys growing up, but my son thinks he was deprived. So, he lets his children have candy more often than I would like.
At church, they give them candy after bible study and after church on Wednesdays. I have asked them not to do it, but they say the children need to ask the parents after they get it. Since they have been living with me the past year and a half, I have been able to curb the candy. The majority of the time, they ask me before eating the candy of which I say-later.
It is a battle when you have outside influences giving your loved ones the junk when you are not around.
I think you are doing a great job - little girls like to please their fathers :).
Congrats on your journey and reconnecting with your family. Keep up the great work Report