By Vickie Bane/Boulder
August 22, 2011 12:00 PM

The Starr family was in desperate need of a change. While Greg, 48, battled high blood pressure, his wife, Sherial, 45, admits she just felt “fat and old.” And the couple’s default dinner with their 8-year-old son Connor took place at fast-food joints or restaurants at least four times a week. So when the opportunity came for Greg to take a new job with a microchip-design firm and leave San Jose, Calif., the couple homed in on one destination: Boulder, Colo.-the county with the country’s second-lowest rate of adult obesity (next to Routt County, Colo.). “My health would have gone downhill if we’d stayed,” says Greg. “Boulder was our choice for health and fitness.”

But nothing prepared the Starrs for the culture shock they experienced last August when they moved to the city known for being active and health conscious. “In San Jose it was a ritual that Greg and Connor go for donuts every Saturday and Sunday morning. In Boulder there are no donut shops! That was the bad habit they broke,” says Sherial, who now makes fruit smoothies for her boys’ breakfasts. Sherial also recruited the help of nutritionist Sue Van Raes, who taught the family how to make healthy meals and snacks (hello, kale chips!). “We spend less because we eat at home,” says Sherial. “And we’re more conscious of where our food comes from.”

They’re also more aware of how to burn any extra calories. “Everyone wears sportswear here because it’s always, ‘Let’s go hiking!'” says Sherial, who goes on a 3½ -mile walk with the family every night and is now 11 lbs. lighter. Her husband, meanwhile, has lost 15 lbs. and gotten his blood pressure under control. “Fitness has become part of our life,” says Sherial. “We’ll never be couch potatoes again.”