The 700 Club with Pat Robertson


Amy Hendel's Winning Strategy to Fight Obesity

By Mimi Elliott

Amy says obesity is a family matter. We learn habits as a family and food is linked to family traditions. A mom cannot go on a diet and continue to feed her kids fast food and packaged food. That is simply setting them up to deal with unhealthy eating habits in the future.

“Obesity starts in the home. If parents don't turn families around who will? It has to change on the homefront for families to be healthy,” Amy said.

Amy, 49, grew up in a home where food was worshipped. Raised in a Jewish home, Amy says almost all Jewish holidays they celebrated revolved around food. Her mother was not a particularly good cook and money was tight, so often the family ate standards like meatloaf, tuna noodle casserole or pizza. They often snacked on chips, cookies and candy. Amy says she noticed that these comfort foods calmed her mother.

As Amy got older, she also turned to food for comfort and craved sweets. By the time she was 16, Amy was 40 pounds overweight. At the time, her only options to lose weight were starvation or eat a balanced diet. To find out more, Amy and a diet buddy attended their first nutrition lecture. Using what they learned, Amy dropped the weight by the time she was a junior and has kept it off ever since.

“It hasn't always been easy,” she said. “I have to pay attention to what I eat and exercise regularly to this day.”

Determined not to let her children deal with the same food struggles, Amy adopted the healthy habits into her own family.

“I came to the conclusion that you cannot pull off a lifestyle change in isolation. The home enviornment has the single most profound influence on your childrens’ food choices and level of activity and overall health,” she said.


Amy says there are 4 habits for a healthy family lifestyle:

1. Plan. Menus are discussed by all family members. This simplifies the shopping experience.
2. Prepare. The core of the program includes time saving tips so that you do most of the food preparation on one designated day each week.
3. Portion. Calories count even with what Amy calls yes foods. The fact that fruits and veggies are so healthy and delicious is not a license to eat mindlessly.
4. Play. Parents need to develop a fun active lifestyle that matches the interests of the family. You can't just eat to be healthy. You have to move, too.

Amy says with her core flexible menu plan, premeasured foods and snacks and healthy homemade meals all family members with different tastes can enjoy eating healthy. The more effective you are at involving your whole family the more success you will enjoy.
Amy will demo food prepping because she says her plan saves so much time and money.

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