2016 Fit Family Challenge Spotlight: The Hamiltons

Hamilton had gastric band surgery two years ago and has lost 70 pounds, but she admits that doesn't like to exercise


Darlene Hamilton, 41, of Greensboro is a single mom to 9-year-old twin sons, Cameron and Chase.

Photo by Micki Bare

Piedmont Parent’s Fit Family Challenge launches this month, and we’re spotlighting two Triad families — the Hamiltons and the Griffins — who are up for the challenge to work toward better health with the help of a team of experts.

Our two spotlight families will be assisted by a trio of professionals:

  • Cindy Silver of Winston-Salem is a registered dietitian who has been practicing for more than 25 years. She owns a nutrition education, resource and counseling business called marketbasketnutrition.com.
  • Julie Luther of Greensboro is a fitness trainer and the founder and president of Julie Luther’s PurEnergy Health and Wellness Services Inc. She has worked with individuals and business organizations for more than 30 years promoting overall wellness.
  • Donna Burick is a certified life coach in Greensboro who specializes in energy therapy and body talk. She guides her clients through the stress and chaos that comes with being a parent, creating solutions to help them find peace, clarity and happiness.

Meet the Hamilton family

Darlene Hamilton, 41, of Greensboro, owns Loving Care Home Health Care Services. She is a single mother to 9-year-old twin sons Cameron and Chase.

She wakes up between 4 and 5 a.m. to plan each day. The boys get ready for school, and Hamilton drops them off. She tries to be in the office by 7:45 a.m.

After a day of visiting clients, her work is wrapped up by 5 or 5:30 p.m. She picks up Cameron and Chase from after-school care, where they do their homework.

The boys play basketball in a local program, and the family attends church on Thursday night and Sunday morning. Hamilton is in bed by 8:30 or 9, with the kids going to bed a bit later.

Weekends typically involve the twins playing video games on tablets that are not allowed during the school week.

Hamilton had gastric band surgery two years ago and has lost 70 pounds, but she admits that she doesn’t like to exercise. Added challenges include eating out a lot on the way home from after-school care and a “horrible” chip snacking habit each night for all of them.

“Chase is a very picky eater,” she says, “and Cameron has several food allergies.”


  • Making lifelong changes to her family’s diet and make exercise fun
  • Eating out less often
  • Working on her cardiovascular health
  • Increasing her physical activity so she can keep up with her children

Greatest Challenges

  • Overcoming stress without relying on food as a reward
  • Curbing unhealthy nighttime snacking

From the experts

Silver: Time is a huge challenge for Darlene, a single working mom, and her boys are really hungry when they get home on a weeknight. Rather than snacking on chips before dinner, I encouraged the boys to have a fruit or veggie “appetizer” while mom cooks a simple dinner.

I also encouraged Darlene to begin taking time on the weekend to plan the weeknight meals. She has tried this and had some “beginner” success. I will continue to encourage her to plan meals as a way to eat more nutritiously and with less stress at dinnertime.

Luther: Darlene needs to improve her cardiovascular health and her flexibility. I asked them to choose an indoor and an outdoor family activity and do one of them each week.

Darlene chose spending 30 minutes playing a dance video game every other week. For her outdoor activity, she chose going to the Greensboro Aquatic Center or the YMCA to swim for 30 minutes. She eventually wants develop an exercise routine that is fun and can be done daily.

Burick: I’ll be helping Darlene with coping skills, reframing situations and improving her quality of sleep. I’ll also coach her through the challenges of picky eating, including emotional eating and food allergies.

Anne Wooten Green is a freelance writer from Winston-Salem.

Join Us for the Fit Family Challenge!

The Fit Family Challenge is a FREE healthy lifestyle program for families! We want to motivate families to get moving and create healthier lifestyles. For eight weeks, participants will log their family’s physical activities and healthy habits in the Fit Family Challenge mobile-friendly Activity Tracker. The more activity you log, the more points you earn and the more chances you have to win fabulous prizes. Visit myfitfamilychallenge.com for details.

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