For most of us it’s a normal sight. Mama got a little “meat on her bones,” grandma got a big ole booty, grandpa got that big beer-belly, and auntie so-and-so is just … big. We never really think much of it, it’s just our life. I had a family member nicknamed “Aunt Lottie with the big bump pon’ she batty,” but the reality is Aunt Lottie had that “bump” because she was a big woman. As much as we love these family members all the meat on the bones and beer bellies can be a sign that they are killing themselves slowly. With all the information we have now on how extra weight affects everything from our bones to our brains and hearts, simply accepting that our families are overweight is no longer okay.

But how do you break a cycle of obesity that goes back generations? The older members of the family are set in their ways and the younger members simply don’t know any better, getting everyone on the same healthy page can extremely difficult. As the saying goes “A family that prays together, stays together” and I believe the same concept applies in trying to get your entire family to lose weight … a family that eats in and works out together, stays healthy together.

Individually, getting healthy can be tough, especially if the way you are is all you know, but if you make getting healthy a family effort, it makes the task less daunting.

In order to truly break the cycle the healthy movement needs to start from the top. Getting the elders interested in cooking healthier versions of their favorites and maybe convincing them to take walks together each day will set the example and tone for the rest of the family. If your family has annual gatherings, try incorporating fun fitness games into the festivities and encourage everyone to participate, show everyone that fitness can be fun.

No one is saying the road to family health will be easier, but if everyone works together the cycle of obesity can be broken for good.

Is your family overweight? Are you working out together?

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  1. I have family members that are overweight. That’s such a touchy subject. It’s really hard to bring it up other than asking about their health. I mean no one wants to be called fat. It’s such an ugly word. You can’t change someone. They have to be ready to make the change. Once their ready, then they can be supported and accountable to family and friends.

  2. This is a touchy subject indeed but one that needs to be addressed for so many families. Studies show that people who work out with partners or groups have better chances of success, this is a great place to start. Even starting small with a walk after dinner. Working out as a family during a show like the Biggest Loser can also be a place to start. There are also tons of great workout videos on demand and on subscription based services like Netflix and Hulu. The first step is the hardest- but be brave to try and stop the cycle.

  3. Thank you for such an inspiring article. Yes I was 408 lbs and obesity doesn’t run on my mother’s side but I have a few relatives on my dad said that are overweight. I decided to do something about my weight. I make sure that we eat healthy, and excercise reguarly. I have boys so I keep them active. My husband is in the Marine Corps so he is working out as well. It starts at home then you move it out to the streets to educate. Size healthy is my lifestyle and I am not going back to a Size Unhealthy Lifestyle!

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