The Cumbie Family
Homeschooling mother and triathlete Kathy Cumbie shares how her busy family balances health and fitness with other family responsibilities.
What was it that first motivated you and your family to pursue health and fitness?
Kathy - My husband Scott has always been at a healthy weight and he enjoys working out. My daughter Natalie swims competitively, so she has been in the pool more days than not, for nearly 12 years. My son Jack, when younger, really enjoyed being/playing outside...physical activity was just a part of his life. However, I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes in January, 2010, and was supposed to start taking medicine. I do not want to take medication, so the next day I started exercising and within 2 weeks really started focusing on lifestyle changes that affected my eating.
What are some of the health and fitness successes you've had?
Kathy - I have not had to take the medication and have lost 50 pounds (and have kept it off for over 2 years). I also learned quite a bit about the benefits of reducing the consumption of simple carbs and increasing the consumption of protein and mono-unsaturated fatty acids. I have run a few 5k’s, as have my kids. Natalie and I have finished a couple of triathlons together. I ran a 10k, a couple of marathon relays (4-person-team), and one year ago I ran my first ½ marathon.
How do you balance health and fitness with other family responsibilities?
Kathy - We just try to wrap these aspects into the whole package we call “lifestyle." We homeschool, so our kitchen table is where we share our meals, do math, play games, and engage in conversation and laughter. At any given moment we are all usually busy with multiple things; working out and menu planning and food preparation are just as high on the list as laundry and schooling and practicing musical instruments.
With such a busy schedule, how do you ensure your family consistently eats healthy food and gets enough exercise?
Kathy - I plan menus ahead of time and I grocery shop from the menus. If my family (primarily my kids) are in on the planning, too, they are more likely to eat and enjoy all that is prepared, even if it is not the dinner item they planned. My family does enjoy salad, so every meal usually includes a vegetable plus a salad. Our swimmer is always in the pool, so exercise is not a problem for her; our son tends to be more motivated by training for a specific event. Sometimes we also just tell him to go out and enjoy the outdoors!!! (He sees that as a welcomed break from schoolwork.)
What are some of the challenges you've experienced?
Kathy - Junk food is easier and cheaper than healthful food. It is also difficult to plan good menus that are well-liked by everyone in the family.
What are you health and fitness goals for the future?
Kathy - I do not want to have to take medications for health issues that can be controlled by living a healthy lifestyle. My goal is to “get out and do something” at least 5 days a week. I will be competing in 3 triathlons in 2013, so I’ll continue to train for those. I would love for my family to do a marathon relay together (my oldest daughter is married, so there are only 4 of us at home, now....perfect for a team!). I’d love to do another 5k (or something) with Jack, too, as he enjoys running when he was preparing for an event.