Fit Family Challenge Spotlight Families: Part 1

We’re following two families throughout the Fit Family Challenge as they work to get healthy as a family. Meet the Garfinkles and the Hills, and read more about their healthy lifestyle goals.

Meet the Families


Lisa, 45; Steve, 45; Sarah, 18; Jason, 13; Ellen, 11; David, 8

Lisa Garfinkle was on her high-school dance team, and her husband, Steve, has always played or coached various sports. But knee injuries, college, pregnancies and poor eating caused both adults to become less active and Lisa to gain weight. Weight Watchers helped, but her busy life took over and her weight crept back up.

The couple wants their family to live a healthier lifestyle. Sarah, 18, wants to learn to eat well and stay fit while away at college. Jason, 13, is active with sports, but needs to make changes to his eating habits. Ellen, 11, was born with a heart condition that prevented her from being involved in sports and other physical activities, but doctors recently cleared her for exercise, and she needs help getting started. David, 8, plays sports but also needs better eating habits.

No one in the family cares much for veggies and everyone loves to eat out, but the parents have set a goal for the entire family: “We will eat healthy dinners prepared at home at least five days a week and will try to get five servings of fruits and vegetables daily.”


Carl, 37; Shana, 32; Alana, 6; Layla, 3

Shana and Carl Hill were very active before becoming parents. They played sports and worked out together. Now they struggle with finding the time and motivation to stay fit. They want to not only tell their children — Alana, 6, and Layla, 3, — to be healthy, but to be living examples of that lifestyle.

Shana and Carl have diabetes and high cholesterol. Many of their family members do as well, and the reality of seeing their loved ones face medications and health problems concerns the Hills. They are seeking a realistic and lasting plan for getting back in control of their health. “I need to somehow keep the motivation of becoming more healthy. I just need that extra push,” says Shana.

Weekdays rush by. Alana is in school full time, Layla attends a half-day preschool program, and Shana works at Layla’s school and is the PTA vice president. Carl’s work schedule is crazy. The girls are in dance class one night a week and the family attends church every Sunday. They don’t have much time left at the end of a busy day and admit they spend too much time watching TV and playing with electronic devices. When asked what her goal is for the Fit Family Challenge and beyond, Shana matter-of-factly stated, “We will workout together as a family twice a week.”

Lisa Hassell is a freelance writer who will be running her first 5K race in April. She and her 3-year-old son live in Indian Trail.

Fit Family Challenge Spotlight Families: Part 2 | Next > 

Meet the Experts
• Balance Expert: Kim Jacobs, host of the Telly Award-winning talk show “Daily Balance with Kim Jacobs” 
• Fitness Expert: Paul Sklar, founder and Personal Training Director of Prescriptive Fitness
• Nutrition Expert: Cheryl Kuhta-Sutter, registered dietitian at Presbyterian Novant Heart and Wellness

[Read more about the experts]