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The Shrinking Family

The Shrinking Family

A good news story

Today’s title reminds me of one of those stupid Rick Moranis movies… “Honey, I shrunk the family”. Oh well.

As you may or may not know, I work on a television show here in Australia called 9AM on the Ten Network. It screens nationally every weekday morning from 9 – 11 am. I am the resident on-air fitness bloke and I do my best to cover a broad range of subject matter which will be of value and interest to as many people as possible. A few months ago my producer (the lovely Becky Zack) came up with the notion of doing a family fitness make-over, with the idea being that I would work with a family which was in need of a little shaping up. Or perhaps a lot of shaping up. I would spend time with them and create an overall strategy to change their diet, their lifestyle habits, their exercise habits, their thinking, their pantry contents and of course, their bodies. One of my trainers and I would also work with them in the gym, taking them through numerous workouts and I would give them unlimited access to my centre and facilities outside of their set training times.

The Bulte family wins…. me!

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    Well, it happened. Families were asked to write in to the show and state their case as to why they were the clan most in need of some Craig love, some body renovating and some lifestyle overhauling. We had letters and emails from hundreds of families from all over the country but the decision makers finally settled on the Bulte family from Victoria. And what a great bunch they are; Darryl and Kerry (the folks), Guy (17) Jenelle (15), Monique (14) and Makayla (11). While Guy and Makayla were fit and trim, the other four were in need of a little… modifying.

    I’ve done things similar to this concept before and I gotta say, it’s kind of a high-risk exercise from a credibility point of view. Especially on national television. What happens if I give them the education, the motivation, the support and all the resources but they simply don’t do it? What happens if we give the concept a whole heap of publicity and then they throw in the towel after two weeks? What if their attitude sucks? What if they leave the gym after each workout and head straight for the golden arches? Well fortunately for all of us, they didn’t. They have been perfect students and their report cards have been amazing.

    Considering surgery

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      Kerry, Darryl, Jenelle and Monique all needed to lose weight, with Jenelle needing to drop the most. At 109 kilos (240lbs), fifteen year-old Jenelle’s weight was a major health concern. So much so that the week before they entered the competition, she had attended an information evening on gastric bypass surgery. With the support of her concerned parents, she was seriously considering the surgical option, having tried unsuccessfully to lose weight many times before. Well, I’m sure glad she didn’t have that operation and now, so is she.

      In the ten weeks that I’ve been working with the Bulte family they have managed to completely turn their lives around. Different diet, different habits different mindset and different bodies.

      A peek at their progress so far:

      Darryl (bottom right) – minus 20 kgs (44 lbs)
      Kerry (bottom left) – minus 9 kgs (20 lbs)
      Jenelle (white shirt) – minus 16 kgs (35 lbs) – no surgery for this girl!
      Monique (top right) – minus 11 kgs (24 lbs)

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      Total weight loss: 56 kgs (123 lbs)

      How great is that? Every day I get asked about the secret to the Bulte family’s amazing transformation and when I say that they have simply done what I asked them to do (eat less, move more and be consistent), my response is often met with disappointment. No, it’s not an exciting strategy but it’s an effective one! It’s seems that the enquirer is usually hoping for some miracle, quick-fix secret to come from my lips. Sorry Dude, no magic here. Just some sweat, some hard work and some great attitudes.

      Change your psychology to change your physiology

      While the physical transformations have been great, what has impressed me the most is their collective mindset. These guys are in the zone. Get your head in shape and your body will follow. Even Jenelle who “just couldn’t lose weight” has it falling off her. Not because all of a sudden she has any more ability, but because her thinking and her attitude have totally changed. As I have said squillions of times, getting in shape and staying that way is more about our head than it is about our body.

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      The future

      We know that ten weeks ain’t a lifetime but our family is well on their way. While I’m very proud of them for what they’ve done in ten weeks, I’m much more interested in what they do over the next ten years. My official commitment with the family finishes in a couple of weeks but I have decided to continue working with young Jenelle indefinitely. I believe she could lose the best part of 45 kgs (100 lbs) and I’m going to help her get there. I’ll keep you updated on their progress.

      Well done, Bulte family.

      More by this author

      Craig Harper

      Leading presenter, writer and educator in the areas of high-performance, self-management, personal transformation and more

      Do You Make These 10 Common Mistakes Before Weighing Yourself? If your Childhood Sucked – It’s Time to Stop Blaming Your Parents! Exploring Relationships with the Single Weirdo Education Should be More than Academic Basics How to Stop Being an Over-Thinker

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      Last Updated on November 17, 2019

      20 Creative Ways To Say Thank You

      20 Creative Ways To Say Thank You

      Saying, “Thank you,” can be difficult to do. Some things just demand a little something extra because of the magnitude of the favor or the depth of appreciation involved. But what can you do to say thank you in a meaningful way? Sometimes you have to get a little more creative than just firing off an email. Here are 20 creative ways to say thank you that your friends and family will remember and cherish!

      1. Make a gift bag.

      A unique, homemade gift bag with a custom label or a note is a simple but heartfelt way to show your appreciation for the wonderful things your friends or family have done for you.

      2. Give a toast.

      Many people fear public speaking more than death, giving this particular thank-you a little extra meaning. Composing a sincere, eloquent toast and delivering it is a nice way to show appreciation that truly comes from the heart.

      3. Write a poem.

      “Roses are red, violets are blue…” Uh, you could write that...but why not put a little extra zing in it? Find out what their favorite kind of poetry is: haiku, free verse, iambic pentameter, and so on. (Google them if you don’t know what they are.) Then write one that expresses why they deserve your thanks…and why you’re glad to give it!

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      4. Create your own labels.

      There are a number of websites that offer custom gift labels. Find one that fits your personality and that of your friends and create a personalized thank-you label!

      5. Give a gift card.

      Sometimes choosing what to give a friend can be tough. A gift card is a good way to get around this problem. As always, be sure to include a personalized note or card thanking the recipient for their friendship and help.

      6. Send a letter.

      Snail-mail is a largely lost art form. Don’t worry about how long the letter is, though. What really matters here is that you took the time to put pen to paper and express your feelings sincerely and honestly!

      7. Use social media to send a special message.

      If someone’s done something you think the whole world should know about, why not put out a social media blast? Use your blog, your Facebook, your Google+ account, and your Twitter to spread the word about why this person’s someone your friends will want to know too!

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      8. Make your own digital greeting card.

      While an email isn’t always the best way to go when saying thank you, a digital greeting card that you put time and effort into creating can really brighten someone’s day! Make the card reflect the recipient’s personality and compose a short message of thanks for their generosity.

      9. Make a YouTube video.

      Sometimes, actually hearing someone say, “Thank you,” can make all the difference. Why not take it a step further and create a special video of thanks for your friends, family, and those special people who helped make your day so important…or who helped you through that rough time?

      10. Deliver cookies or candies.

      Making something yourself is a fun and delightful way to say thank you to someone. Create a sampling of baked goods or homemade candies and decorate them with a simple message, or make them so they form letters! (Think Valentine’s candies, only situationally appropriate.) Attach a thank-you note or label and surprise those special people with the gift of your time and creativity.

      11. Make surprise gifts for guests.

      There’s no need to wait until “later” to send a thank-you message. Why not do it at the time? Create little gift packets or bags for your guests with surprises inside. This is a great way to say thanks to the people who attended your event, and make sure they won’t want to miss the next one!

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      12. Put together a flower basket.

      Whether you prefer fresh or artificial flowers, assembling a flower basket with a thank-you note is an excellent way to brighten someone’s day and show you appreciate them.

      13. Take a picture.

      Sometimes capturing the moment is the best way to put a smile on someone’s face. Have someone take a picture of you receiving that special gift or opening that surprise package and send the giver a copy with a quick but sincere note to say thanks!

      14. Repay their generosity by paying it forward.

      The best gifts come from the heart, and the best way to repay a gift is to pay it forward. If your friend has a special cause they care about or something they believe in passionately, why not make a donation in their name or volunteer some of your time to the cause? This will mean more than any number of cookies, candies, or thank-you notes because you’re taking your friend’s love and spreading it around to others.

      15. Do something special for them.

      Take them out to dinner. (See “make a toast.”) Give them that movie they’ve been wanting forever. Cook them dinner and give them a present when they arrive. Any of these are good options for showing someone you really appreciate them and how grateful you are to have them in your life.

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      16. Reciprocate their help.

      Everyone needs help sometime. Whether it’s holding their hand through a particularly traumatic incident or helping them replace the alternator in their car, being there when they need it shows you remember what they did for you and how much it meant. It also shows that you’re willing to be just as good a friend to them as they were to you!

      17. Be there for them.

      Not every thank-you gesture has to be a grand public spectacle. Sometimes just giving them a place to come hang out when they’re lonely or showing up to offer them a sympathetic shoulder means the world to a person.

      18. Listen to them.

      Listening is almost as lost an art as the handwritten letter. When your friend or family member needs to talk, listen to them. Ask questions when appropriate, but just letting them know you’re there and paying attention to them to the exclusion of all else for a little while is a great way to say thank you for the times they listened to you.

      19. Say it in another language…or two…

      A simple thank you is great…but why not spice it up a little? Instead of just saying, “Thank you,” write or make a video of you telling them thank you in different languages. Some examples might be, “Gracias! Merci! Danke schoen! Spasibo! Mahalo!” and any other ways or languages you can think of. (The ones listed above are Spanish, French, German, Russian, and Hawaiian, in case you were wondering.) If you want to really get tricky about it, say a short phrase in each language that conveys why you’re thanking them!

      20. Show them some love.

      A simple touch, a hug, or helping out when they need it without being asked may be the most powerful gratitude message you can send. Offer to take the dogs for a walk, sit for the kids for a few hours, or run to the grocery store so they don’t have to. The little things are often the most important and meaningful. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still send a note, but sometimes your simple presence and willingness to help is all that really matters.

      Featured photo credit: Hanny Naibaho via unsplash.com

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