I have a humongous family! I am not talking about my family unit – hubby, kids. I am talking about the extended family. My dad was one of 14 and my mom was one of 5. You read that right! I have 16 aunts and uncles, not even counting the crazy people who married them!!!
For my kids, it gets even more fun because I am also one of 5 – the next generation of chaos begins. In short, the Leza family (with all its branches) is taking over the world.
So now, let’s really get into the numbers. I have 52 first cousins (I think), over 100 cousins’ kids (whatever that is), and it just gets crazier from there. Hell of a legacy, right?
Why is this all relevant?? Because we are in the midst of the most amazing weight-loss challenge ever, created on Facebook, and changing our lives.
My brilliant cousin, Norma, kicked this idea off last year in honor of my Whela Leza (“grandmother” in Spanish slang) after she passed away. Our family (collective family) has fallen victim to the challenges of the good old American diet, and many of us have struggled with weight and the medical challenges that come with that. Diabetes, heart disease, and more are all on the list.
So what do you do to celebrate the life of the most amazing woman that you know? You start Living! Longer! Together! Two years ago, Norma helped coordinate two (I think) family teams to run and honor my grandmother in the 2014 Corpus Christi, TX Beach to Bay Relay Marathon.
Last year, she created a private family page to coordinate the teams and set up a training plan. She blew it up! She ended up with multiple teams of six people, and it was pretty damn special. There were hundreds of family and friends cheering the teams on, many virtually because we are spread out around the world.
This year it is even bigger! We have 92 people in our private group. Each week, there are group and individual challenges that push us to exercise and eat better. We post our progress and team up to make the stretch goals.
The end goal is to be a healthier closer family. But it is also to kick-ass at Beach to Bay 2016 and have even more family participation.
The reason it works is because we push each other. We also call each other out on falling behind. It’s the peer pressure that helps make the process stick. We are accountable to each other to make our family even stronger.
This model works for everyone. It is why Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers exist. It is why you get an exercise buddy or find a workout group when you get serious about weight loss. It is why you post your weight loss and exercise victories on social media. It’s ultimately about support, and being a part of a personal journey but recognizing that you may need help and back up.
This has been a remarkable experience for me. I’m removed from my family – I live in the Chicago area and they are in Texas. However, it’s more than that. This is making me healthier and happier for me and my family.
So, this year, for the first time, I’m going to Beach to Bay! And we are going to do it the Leza way!