If you haven't seen TLC's new reality show "One Big Happy Family" you simply must. The show revolves around the Cole family, a traditional family of four, you know, mom, dad, two kids and a dog. But there's something different about the Cole's. Every member of this family is morbidly obese and hovering around the 300-pound plus range.
I was channel surfing when I happened upon this show. What I saw were the parents trying to encourage their borderline diabetic son to lose weight and eat healthier. As a person who is currently struggling with family dynamics affecting my weight, I wondered how this kid could ever lose a single pound when his mom and dad were setting the example. Definitely a losing proposition, I thought.
That ridiculous scene alone kept me watching. I was definitely intrigued. As the show progressed the family as a unit decided to eat healthier and to exercise. There was some resistance... first from the dad who insisted that spinach came from a can, and from the cute and clever daughter who confessed that she'd gotten used to and even perfected the role of the "fat girl." As I continued to watch, I was hooked. The Coles are engaging, hilarious and just like any other family in suburbia, plus the collective weight issue. I identified with them, they're learning a new way of eating and though I prefer organic foods, high end cheese and premium cuts of meat I have this very same issue -- rethinking and reconfiguring my relationship with food and exercise.
A recent Ohio State University linked childhood obesity with family behavior. Essentially the study found that childhood obesity can be avoided by incorporating three habits into the family routine.
Those habits included: eating dinner together as a family, limiting the amount of television viewed and getting enough sleep. Its not rocket science --so why is it so hard for people including myself to maintain a healthy weight.
Nearly 9,000 4-year-old's were included in the study and what was revealed showed the kids who ate dinner regularly with their families, watched less than 2 hours of television and got 10 plus hours of sleep were 40% less likely to be fat. Its just that simple. As for the cast of One Big Happy Family, they're already seeing results. The show provided inspiration for me -- if they (The Coles) can do it and they have so much more weight to lose than the average person -- then so can I.
Published On: June 18, 2010