A Tuality Healthcare 'FIT' family tells their story

Brenda Jones and her son were one of dozens of families recruited by Tuality Health Alliance and Hillsboro Pediatrics to take part in a program conducted by the FIT (Families in Training) Project, a Portland nonprofit which offers fitness, nutrition, and lifestyle education to families. Brenda recently spoke about her experience.

Q: How did you find out about The FIT Project?
I took my son to the doctor for a normal checkup and they suggested it. I was willing to try anything to get him a bit more active. Our family has a history of diabetics and I don’t want him to be one.

Q: What was your lifestyle like prior to participating in The FIT Project?
Very much inactive. I would take my son to the park and let him play, but while he did that, I just sat there. I was in a severe car accident several years ago and really injured my back, so exercise hurt. I was dependent on narcotics for pain management. When I started the program, I couldn’t do two laps around a track. By the end of the project, I did a 5k with my son and the other families. And since I’ve been exercising, I’m no longer on any narcotics at all.

Q: What was the biggest challenge for you and your family during the project?
Finding time. I started to cook all of our meals at once and freeze them and just heat them every night. That extra hour not spent cooking gave me an hour to exercise. Everyone can find an hour—they just need to prioritize. And while the food was cooking, I could help my son with his homework.

Q: What was the biggest surprise for you and your family during the project? What is something you learned that was unexpected?
I didn’t realize that you could make things that are healthy that actually taste good. Learning to find alternatives to what you make. Learning how to shop. … Don’t shop for a whole month at once — shop several times a month so you have fresh veggies. I only did canned veggies before and now I keep fresh veggies in the house. I’m also learning to cook veggies differently—I now bake zucchini instead of fry.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to say about the program?
Thank you for doing this—it was an amazing opportunity that I wish more people knew about.