“I don’t think I could ever go back to eating fast food again,” said Allen. “I now am aware of what goes into processed foods and I can’t believe that people actually still eat the stuff.”
After her husband left for Iraq in February, Allen decided that she needed a change. After realizing it was easier to be healthy when she had someone to do it with her, she decided to incorporate the healthy lifestyle into her children’s lives too.
“It is easier to make the girls eat healthier than it was my husband, so I decided to start with them. After we got it under control, when he got home, he had to either eat what we ate or not eat at all,” said Allen laughing. ““I was tired of feeling bad about myself, being in bad moods and not having control of my life.”
Allen started by adding meat and a vegetable to every meal, and then eventually adding fruits and nuts.
“The hardest thing I had to give up was chocolate milk,” said Allen. “I had to want to do it, and I slowly got rid of the bad things I was eating on a daily basis.”
As for helping her children live a healthy lifestyle too, Allen serves them bacon and eggs for breakfast, and then helps them pack their lunch making sure that they have the essential meat, fruit and some kind of healthy fat, such as nuts.
“The girls know what is appropriate and what is not for the most part,” said Allen. “At this point if they eat processed foods or anything bad for them they get sick, or I immediately see it in their attitude.”
Allen said that if the girls eat badly, they are bad. She has seen a drastic change in their behavior since they started living a healthier lifestyle, even in their schoolwork. Her 7-year-old daughter can focus better and is able to do her best academically.
“Why wouldn’t you set your child up for success?” said Allen. “I see parents who allow their children to eat multiple pieces of pizza and McDonalds for lunch. When they get older they can make the decision on whether they want to put that into their bodies, but at such a young age why wouldn’t you want them to be the healthiest they can be?”
It doesn’t stop at their eating habits. The Allen’s are a family who believes that “a family who works out together stays together.”
“We do something active every day as a family,” said Allen. “Whether it is hiking on the weekends or doing mini workouts in our home gym, we all stay active. If the girls don’t see us being active, then they won’t want to be.”
For Allen, a healthier lifestyle wasn’t a resolution but a choice she made so that her family could live a healthier, happier life.
“For those people wanting to make the change, do it slowly. I noticed that if I tried to drop everything that I craved cold turkey I would end up binge eating a few days later,” said Allen. “As a new year’s resolution for someone else, I would say start by waking up every morning and doing a 10 minute workout. It gets you into that zone that you need to workout every morning and your body will eventually crave that instead of a bad breakfast.”
As for the kids, they still get their treats just as other kids do, just not every day.
“We will bake cookies or get ice cream occasionally when the girls have a sweet tooth,” said Allen. “Most of the time though, when I ask them what they want for a treat they will say a grain bar, which is extremely healthy.”
It has been a learning experience for Allen and her family as they have tried different foods and have found out what works well with their bodies. It is a path that she continues to follow.
“Once you cleanse your taste buds of greasy foods you start to appreciate everything else,” said Allen. “I highly encourage everyone to make that change for not only them but their family too.”
Now that her husband is back from Iraq, Allen has a workout buddy and a motivator. In January they will be competing in their first Crossfit Competition as a couple.
“I am happy that I not only have a husband that workouts with me but also encourages me and our girls,” said Allen.
As 2013 comes to an end, don’t make resolutions that you may break in a couple of months, make a lifestyle change. Just by making small changes every day you can live a healthier, happier lifestyle by this time next year just as the Allen family has.
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SurfKY News Reporter
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