Catching the fitness Bugg

The idea of exercise used to make Renee Bugg want to run and hide, but a goal set by her 11-year-old daughter changed her whole family’s lifestyle, bringing them closer together.

Renee, a social media specialist at Bupa, first heard about the Weetbix Kids Tryathlon through work and thought her daughter (nicknamed Poss) would enjoy the challenge.

“Poss loves swimming and we’ve been swimming together over the summer. It seemed like a nice natural fit because she also likes riding her bike,” says Renee.

So Poss set herself a goal to train for and compete in as many of the three Victorian based events, which include a 150m swim, 6km cycle and 1km run, as possible.

“It’s kept us really focused, so she knows she needs to be able to ride comfortably a certain distance and that’s resulted in us taking her out riding pretty much every night,” says Renee.

Poss’ commitment to training inspired Renee and her husband Aaron to get active with her.

“I walk the dog, she rides the bike next to me, my husband will either come on his bike, or walk alongside, or sometimes he stays home and cleans the kitchen after dinner which is awesome,” Renee says.

“For me, I’m carrying a bit of extra weight so it’s been a nice way for us to do something active together and she’s (Poss) actually been extremely supportive of me as well.”

“It’s also extended to the broader family. My dad walks with us, my aunt and uncle are into cycling so they’ve been giving Poss tips on cycling, my mum is super fit and active so she’s been giving us advice,” says Renee.

Renee says one of the most surprising benefits is the way exercise has brought their family together and opened up communication with their tween daughter.

“The other night she (Poss) was riding her bike and I was walking the dog. She rode slowly next to me and she said ’So mum tell me about your day’ in a really grown up way,” says Renee. “She’s quite introverted and struggles with small talk so the fact that she asked and was actually interested in what I had to say was really nice.”

Renee and Poss together

Poss has also encouraged her parents to make changes at the dinner table.

“She wants to be healthier so it’s been a really nice way for me to be able to introduce food changes, which in our house can be really tricky,” says Renee. “So now we talk about how much of our plate has salad or vegetables on it, how much of our plate has meat on it.”

Making healthy changes as a family has made it easier for Renee, Aaron and Poss to stay committed to a healthy lifestyle.

 “I’ve done every diet plan under the sun, the problem with that is it’s often just me on my own and it can feel like an uphill battle that you’re fighting,” says Renee.

“It’s little changes that we’ve made, but they’re making a huge difference and the little changes are snowballing into bigger changes,” she says. “If we can make sure we’re hitting our vegetable and fruit targets every day then what else can we do on top of that?”

Renee is feeling and sleeping better and has even lost some weight, but this time she’s not focusing on the scales.

“I actually haven’t weighed myself, I didn’t weigh myself at the start, and I don’t weigh myself now because I didn’t want to fixate on the scales,” says Renee. “I just wanted to be healthier and I am.”

“I can walk longer, I can run, I’ve never been able to run, and I’m swimming further,” she says. “I know I’ve lost a bit of weight because my clothes fit differently but other than that it’s just been about being healthier and so far so good.”

And this time she’s got a compelling reason to stick to it.

“I don’t want to let my daughter down, she’s really proud of me,” says Renee. “She’s come running with me a couple of times and I don’t run very fast but she runs alongside me and she thinks it’s awesome to chase me (laughs) to see how fast I can run, ‘not very’ is the answer, but it’s something we can do together.”

Bupa Team Family
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