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FitFamily Recognizes Fitness-savvy
Members and Families Serving Overseas

This month FitFamily highlights two military service members and their families living overseas. Keeping the family focused on fitness while abroad has its share of difficulties like anywhere else, but one thing all families have in common while living overseas is a wealth of diverse activities available for all family members on the military installation and exciting opportunities to explore new cultures while off the military installation.

Meet the Carvalho family!

Stationed at Misawa Air Base, Japan, TSgt Michael, Eva, Kristopher 8 and Adalyn 2 not only hold the title as newest registered FitFamily members, but also have an inspiring story to tell! The innocence of a child’s inquiry prompted a year-long journey for Eva that will never have an ending. Her story began like so many others with a history of unhealthy eating and not knowing exactly where to start.

Changing an unhealthy lifestyle is a life-long journey.
Long before Eva found the FitFamily site as a much-needed resource, she knew she had to do something. With a family history of Type 2 Diabetes and a personal weight management problem, Eva’s health was affecting her not only physically but also emotionally which resonated to her family and friends in a way she never imagined. It was not until her young son came to an erroneous conclusion about her weight that she decided to take control of her unhealthy lifestyle – for herself and her family. She researched diets, healthier food choices, calorie consumption vs. calorie burning plus what types of fitness activities would be beneficial for her – and then began her journey to change a lifetime of unhealthy eating habits that included home-made tortillas, enchiladas and potato chips.

A support system is critical!
With a strong determination to succeed, a little fun competitive challenge by her brother and plenty of encouragement from her husband, Eva reached her goal weight in June 2010.  From over 200 pounds to 125 pounds in less than a year, her life has changed. Beginning with diet, she learned to eat healthier foods in moderate amounts, started an exercise program for 1 hour, 5 days a week and finally stopped making excuses for her weight and poor health. But the battle is far from over; recently Eva took another leap toward healthier living and quit smoking. As expected, she quickly gained 5 pounds, but is committed to keep her weight stable for the next year. Eva knows she cannot slip or she’ll reverse her new-found healthy lifestyle and she desperately wants her children to learn by example and education. She’s very passionate about helping others who were never taught the importance of a healthy lifestyle by using her own experiences as a reference.

FitFamily can help make a difference!
The Carvalho’s learned about the FitFamily site from the Armed Forces Network. Chief Master Sergeant Roy and his family through the FitFamily PSA invited families to visit the site and challenged them to use the resources available to create a healthier lifestyle. Since registering the family, Eva plans to broaden her cooking skills using recipes and healthy food tips from the site. With Kristopher at the helm of logging points for the family using Goal Tracker at the FitFamily site, Michael and the children look forward to activities they can do with Mom. Most recently they participated in their first 5K fun run/walk for breast cancer that turned into a family competition with Kristopher the clear winner!

Helping others!
While Eva’s story may not have an ending – her journey presents a new beginning for herself and her family and is an inspiration to all. Advice from Eva? “If you don’t care enough to get healthy for yourself, then do it for your children.”

Want to ask Eva a question?

Next, please meet the McQueen’s stationed at
RAF Lakenheath, England.

Between deployment for Msgt Bill McQueen and a full-time job outside of the home for Allison, finding time to be active together is a struggle. Organization is a must – so they log on the FitFamily site together with Keegan 8 and Logan 5 to decide what activities they’ll tackle over the next weekend.

Youth Programs mix fitness and education!
Lakenheath’s Youth Center offers wonderful programs including the School Age Program (SAP) with after-school activities like 4-H, piano lessons, healthy cooking clubs and science clubs, all of which Keegan and Logan participate. The McQueen’s find themselves using on-base facilities more while living in a foreign country – in some part for obvious reasons, but also because there seems to be so much more to do. A recent week found them at the Liberty Club Halloween Kids Disco, the Library Halloween Story Time, the Youth Center Carnival and finally at the Community Center Skate. The family was busy every night!

Enjoying a country steeped in history!
The McQueen’s are taking advantage of living in a foreign country to give Keegan and Logan the added value of experiencing first-hand the rich history of England. They like to travel to local historic sites where they can always find hiking trails and outdoor activities for the entire family. In fact, a family favorite is to take a healthy picnic to Weeting Castle where they play tag, climb trees and pretend they are knights – plus it’s a very affordable outing.

Fitfamily plays an important role for the McQueen family!
The McQueen’s learned about FitFamily in the At Ease magazine at the Youth Center on base. FitFamily helps them with different ideas on family activities and they’ve expressed how they would enjoy participating in contests offered on the site. Allison offers the following suggestion to other families on how to Get Up, Get Out, Get Fit - Together: “Get together with another family – it can be as simple as playing outside with friends. Make it easy and fun for everyone.”

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