P365 – Day 128 (Healthier Living)

I love charts and check lists and new organizational tools. I’m not exactly known for my follow through but I begin each new project with a sincere heart. It’s the optimistic in me. Well, in an attempt to motivate myself and encourage the family to make some healthier choices, I came up with a new idea for us all to try over the next month or so. I managed to convince Tim to come on board and support the idea. He and I then sat down and brainstormed about my ‘little plan’ and worked out the finer details.

rachel jogs

Rachel logs in some time on the treadmill. You go, girl!

I devised some healthy eating and healthy exercising goals, assigned points and made up a nice chart. I wanted us to have a tangible, easy way to keep track of things. I also wanted to reinforce some basic healthy living principles. In the morning each child (except Sarah) gets a fresh chart. As the day goes along, they keep track of their points.

For fruit, you get one point for a serving of fruit (up to two). Veggies give you one point for the first serving, two points for the second point, three for the third, on up to five (trying to encourage and reward those who go for vegetables). For every 16 oz of water you receive 1 point, up to three points. Thirty minutes of exercise gives you 5 points and 15 minutes of weight training (or a combination of push-ups and sit-ups) gives you 4 points. Exercise has a maximum of two sessions in each category (10 points for cardio and 8 points max for weight training). There are a few people in the family who have a difficulty with portion control so I created a category called measuring. If you eat reasonable portion sizes and measure them out, then you receive 4 points per meal.

All in all there is a possibility of up to 50 points per day. The points are cumulative. Every 50 points gives you a chip (we use poker chips for computer game and movie time). Each chip is worth one dollar.

Go Daniel!

Whew. Does that make sense? Here’s a look at the chart.

Points Chart

The children have amazed me in their enthusiasm and excitement about the plan. They are wonderful. They fill out their charts, compete (subtly) for points, and try to get as many of the areas covered in a day. They struggle with meeting the vegetable requirements. Today Daniel walked around saying, “I need to eat more vegetables. What veggies can I eat??” This evening, at 8 pm, he asked me if he could have a salad. I’m definitely going to hit the produce store tomorrow. I wonder if the children would like to help pick out different vegetables. It might help them be willing to try out new foods.

This evening I made a HUGE pan of stir-fried broccoli with brown rice, a few eggs thrown in (going for the whole fried rice thing) and sweet chili sauce. They ate the entire thing!! The zucchini/squash casserole with stuffing didn’t go over as well. I thought it was delicious (and I didn’t even eat the stuffing part). I’m not sure how well they liked the zucchini loaf casserole either. At least they are trying new things.


Joshua doesn’t look exactly thrilled to be getting his picture taken. Is it the camera or the treadmill he’d like to avoid??

I’m a wee bit embarrassed to admit that the children are doing far better than I. They have definitely surpassed me in the exercising and water drinking departments (I probably still have them beat in overall veggies). This evening Rachel, Joshua and Daniel all did 30 minutes (I think Joshua did a whole hour) on the treadmill. Even David (and Sarah to some extent) were using my hand weights and trying to get in their “fifteen minutes.” Aren’t they awesome!!


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14 thoughts on “P365 – Day 128 (Healthier Living)”

  1. You go guys!!!! Nothing like a little friendly family competition to eat veggies….ha! We’ve cut back on the soda intake in our house and the kids have done real well drinking more water (and gatorade). Of course, the visit to the dentist helped spur that decision… I have to admit though I love my sweet tea. You can’t live in the South and NOT drink tea!! I guess I’ll just limit my intake for now..

  2. Isn’t it amazing what motivation a monetary reward will bring! Money talks to my children as well (LOL)! Maybe I should try giving $$ for a reward instead of just trying to get them to subscribe to a healthier lifestyle for the sake of a healthier life. Kids probably don’t care so much about that at their young ages. I think you’re on the right track and I think maybe I better come up with something to offer a monetary reward for life style changes.

  3. Katherine, that is a great idea. Having 5 children even adds the competitive aspect to it…who can get the most points…
    Way to go!

  4. Great idea, Kathy! Way to go, kids! Bessie does well on her own, but the youngers would just as soon eat junk all day. Brian and I do okay, but we tend to eat too much…of everything! :-(

  5. I love that you are using the chips for all kinds of different rewards, even eating right. We just started using them this week for computer time, per your idea, and it is working great!! They aren’t playing as much, and I am not needing to be the referee, since they have to think about how much time and week they have left. Thanks for all your great ideas. Keep them coming!

  6. HA HA!!

    I love it! This is so awesome. I think I will try this….

    Thanks so much for the detailed breakdown of your plan. Awesome!

  7. Great ideas. It occurs to me that one could do a system like this with any new thing one is trying to encourage…flash card work comes to mind (wry smile), etc. Kids love tangibles like the chips you give. “I can touch it and see it” is a good thing. Love it! ARC

  8. Aunt Kate – do you want a chart and a set of chips as well? :) I can’t believe how motivated the children are. They carry their charts around and brag about how many points they have and how much more they have to go. I doubt the enthusiasm level will stay this high but it’s awfully cheerful right now.

  9. Amy W – no way!! You guys started using chips? How cool! Tim wants to know if you’re using poker chips or something else? I must say it has really taken a good deal of the pressure off of me as well (as you mentioned). I don’t have to worry about how much time they are spending on the computer. The kids are much more self-regulated. They occasionally choose to play another 30 minute chip, but usually they stop at the 30 minute mark and go off to play or read books. It’s lovely!

    Of course, on a weekend, the kids (and Tim) manage to spend a nice pile of computer chips. Still, it’s much more reasonable when there are limits and the responsibility is handed over to the children. I’m still amazed that Tim is willing to submit himself to this regulation as well.

  10. Cindy – in some ways it feels wrong that I have to bribe the kids to be healthier. At the same time, a little encouragement and motivation isn’t a bad thing, it’s helpful. Since Tim and I bring certain food issues (ie bad habits) into the family, we have to work against that at times with positive reinforcement.

    The vegetables are being the biggest struggle for the children and fitting in time to exercise is the biggest hurdle for Tim. I fall somewhere in between. When I’m in the grove of things, I have no trouble finding time to exercise. I love to walk with a neighbor friend or work out at the Y. When the days get busy, however, it’s easy to let a whole day go by without any exercise. Tim is so tired in the evening that he doesn’t have any energy to fit in some exercise. Of course, that’s self-fulfilling (in the negative way) as adding exercise IN TO his schedule would actually give him MORE energy. It would take a while, however, to feel the benefits. He did get on the treadmill Tuesday night so he’s definitely trying.

    Thanks for commenting!

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