Meet Drew, and learn a thing or two…

I want to introduce you all to a very inspiring little boy.  His name is Drew, he’s 9 years old and…well, he’s kind of a big deal.

Drew is the son of a friend of our family.  My husband and his mom, Karen, go way back to college days.

Three years ago Karen took him for his 6-year old “well visit” and found out that—on paper—Drew had gained too much weight and he was headed in a bad direction as it related to his health, according to growth charts.  She very pointedly asked the doctor if her son needed to see a nutritionist.

As a first course of action, the doctor told her that he believed that by being deliberate about portion control, watching WHAT he eats (not just how much of it), encouraging regular physical activity and being mindful of his weight through regular weigh-ins (every three months over the course of the next year)—that he hoped to be able to get Drew on the right track.

Their family had to draw a line in the sand that day and decide what they would do.  They knew it wouldn’t be an easy road many days.  Let’s face it, “moderation” isn’t a concept many kids (or adults) embrace.  And no matter how much a parent loves their child they cannot make this decision for them.  Because when it’s time to do the hard work of eating healthy and being physically active, no one can do it for you.

By listening to the advice of the doctor and making a commitment to healthier living, himself, slowly Drew began to see a change.

He had to truly buy into the mindset that occasionally a slice of pizza or a piece of cake is OK.  (And it is.)  But it couldn’t be a way of life; he couldn’t consume these things every day.  And life isn’t always fair.  Not everyone’s metabolism is the same, and that stinks.  When other kids could shovel in multiple cookies or donuts, Drew had to make the decision to limit his intake to one cookie or ½ a donut even while his friends over-indulged.

Drew has a love of sports that runs deep, so he decided that instead of sitting in front of the television with a bag of chips in his lap after school, he would become active with participation in flag football, basketball, baseball and wrestling.  He and his mom tracked his progress and they began to read the labels on their food and talk about smart choices.

This kid is 9!!  What wisdom!!

He recently went back to the same doctor for his annual wellness visit—now three years later.  And get this, he has grown 6 inches…and only gained two pounds!!

I’m not even his mother and still my heart bursts with pride for Drew.

He is proof positive that little changes—over time—make big differences.  I am so proud of him, on so many levels.  We should all take note of the example he sets and remember these things:

  • Be deliberate about portion control
  • It’s not just about how much you eat, but WHAT you eat
  • Look at labels and make smart choices about what you put in your body
  • Choose to be active instead of a couch potato—and find activities that are fun for you
  • Not everyone’s metabolism is the same, so learn to work with yours
  • Stick with it and don’t give up and you can see amazing results

Here is Drew at the beginning of his journey just three years ago—mid-journey—and now today.  What a special young man he is.

Drew

What is so remarkable to me is that because Drew “gets it” at his early age, he won’t have the same struggles many people when they get older in the areas of their health and weight.  I think his success is amazing and he is such an encouragement.  We could all learn a thing or two from Drew.


“Make-Over Memories”

Last night’s episode of “The Biggest Loser – Glory Days” was the popular Make-Over Episode.  I always watch with curiosity to see the mid-way transformations and to observe the contestants’ reactions to themselves.  And I always wonder how they really feel.

I viewed myself for the first time during the "Make-Over Episode" of The Biggest Loser, Season 4 - not convinced that I was satisfied with what I saw.

My first look at myself mid-way through the transformation process.

To be honest, when we did our make-overs in Season 4, I knew there was an expectation that I be elated with my appearance. I mean, they staged a big dramatic lead up to seeing ourselves for the first time in a full length mirror…then the great unveiling.  I tried to be exuberant…but truthfully I knew I wasn’t finished and wasn’t satisfied with what I saw.  I wasn’t even where I wanted to be for that point in my journey.

I recently read something a friend of mine (Misti Bryson) posted on Facebook that really sums it up with crystal clear clarity.  She wrote:  ” A person’s future is not based upon where they are.  It’s based upon whether they decide to stay there.”

Future Quote

I love that statement because it’s so true!  And it’s a philosophy I continue to embrace even all these years after my Biggest Loser experience.   When we experience anything in life [success or failure], whether it be in weight loss, or relationships, or career, or family…whatever it is – we can’t let that “moment in time” or those circumstances forever determine our future.  We have to constantly be striving for improvement.  New challenges.  New goals.  New dreams.

I guess the point of what I am trying to say is that our futures really are limitless!  And it’s exciting to think about what lies ahead.  If there’s something in your life that you aren’t happy about, it’s not a life sentence.  You can make a change.  Remember, your future is not based upon where you are!  It’s based upon whether you decide to stay there.

If you don’t like it, don’t be content to stay there.

 


My Take on a Blog About “Fatties” and Jillian Michaels

I want to “weigh in” (pun intended) on a topic that I actually feel qualified to address:  Jillian Michaels.

In a recent blog from a woman who calls herself “Jeanette” and operates a blog identifying herself as “The Fat Chick” (I’m not going to give any links – if you care enough to find it, you can through a quick internet search) she took on Jillian and criticized her approach and her motives.

Jeanette stated, “In an epic moment…my Facebook feed threw up this little fact:  ‘Jillian Michaels has published her ‘Top 3 Guidelines for Improving Body Image’ at EverydayHealth.com. This seems in line with her recent move to distance herself from Biggest Loser after she made untold millions screaming at fatties on the show.” She went onTHE BIGGEST LOSER Episode 414 further to judge Jillian’s credibility and her intentions.

It’s clear that she has never met Jillian, nor has she been mentored by her.  She’s never sweated through one workout with her.  And she clearly has no personal insight into her motives.  I, on the other hand, do.  And seven years after she stopped being my trainer on “The Biggest Loser” I am still in contact with Jillian.

I will interject here that I know that people have varying opinions of the Show.  Some have lost interest.  Many contestants have come out with negative reports of their experience.  I don’t discount anyone’s right to feel like they do.

But it’s particularly difficult to sit back and watch someone like “Jeanette” be so critical.  Among the many things I objected to in her blog was the term “fatties” – which she used to describe the contestants on BL.

In response to her comments, I want to make my own:

I was one of those fatties that she yelled at on “The Biggest Loser” and I can tell you that never once did Jillian make me feel less-than or unaccepted.  She empowered me to love myself enough to change. Change my thinking, my circumstances, my negativity, my self-doubt, my weakness. Weight comes in many forms and losing it doesn’t make you a better person, it makes you realize the person you were all along; the one God created you to be.  Jillian was a catalyst for acceptance in my life, not from anyone else, but from me.  That was life-changing.

That’s my opinion.  I welcome yours’.

.


What’s Holding You Back?

We had quite an exciting day yesterday at our house!  Emma Kate, my precious baby girl, started walking!!

Both of her brothers walked early.  So when she got to be fifteen months old and was still not the least bit interested in doing anything other than crawl,  I will admit we were starting to wonder what was up.

I would try to get her to walk everyday.  I’d hold out my arms to her and plead with her to take just a few steps towards me.  Nope.  Not interested.  She’d plopped her sweet self right on the floor, and then scoot off on her hands and knees.

She had just started what the pediatrician called “cruising” around the furniture; which was suppose to be a good sign.  But she had to be holding on to something to have the confidence to take a step.  Last night she grabbed hold of a pillow on the couch and took a couple of steps away.  Then another one.  Then another.  Before we knew it she was walking all around.  Holding on for dear life to the pillow.  She obviously thought it was holding her up.  And with that pillow in hand, she had all the confidence in the world.  We’d take it from her and she would sit right down and revert back to a crawl.

Before long we noticed she had picked up a toy of her brother Jaxon’s.  It was an Indian-type flute I had gotten him from my recent trip to South Dakota.  It was a relatively small object with beads and feathers dangling off of it.  But we noticed as long as she had that in her hand, that she had the confidence to continue walking.  She seemed to believe it was holding her up too.  We called it her “magic walking stick.”

Finally, as the night came to an end she tossed the stick to the ground and took off walking by herself!  And not a timid stumble here and there.  She was walking confidently and strongly – taking big strides and making impressive turns without falling.  We clapped and praised her accomplishment and she clapped for herself – grinning from ear to ear.

Watching my little one reinforced something significant to me.  It reminded me that Emma Kate could walk long before she knew she could.  She had the physical ability to do it.  She had the strength and the stamina.  The only thing holding her back was the fact that she didn’t believe she could.  Once she gained a little confidence – first with the pillow and then with the stick – she realized her own strength and ability and was able to take off with a vengeance.

Needless to say, she hasn’t sit still all day today!  It’s like she’s discovered a new talent; an exciting new “power” she possesses that she’s proud of and anxious to use.

I think this is an important question to ask ourselves.  What’s holding you back?  What are you capable of that you haven’t even let your heart and mind realize?  Put down your pillow and “magic walking stick” and take off for whatever it is you want to achieve or be!  It’s been within you all along.  You just need to put action to your steps.

Just for fun, here’s a little clip of last night…


Grab your oxygen mask first!

Oxygen MaskI learned so many things through my “Biggest Loser” experience.  And Jillian Michaels made a profound impact on my life.  One of the most powerful truths she instilled in me (and all of us who were trained by her) was that “self” is not a bad word.  Sometimes in the society we live in, we are made to feel like it is.

I’m thinking particularly in my role as a mom, it is essential (most of the time) to put my kids before myself.   But I heard a great analogy today that reinforced the opinion that you don’t have to be self-ISH to make yourself a healthy priority.  And I think there’s a big difference.

Think about when you are ready for take off on an airplane.  The flight attendant says, “If you are traveling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your mask first, and then assist the other person.”

Wow, how true is that!  In other words, if we are not getting enough “oxygen” for ourselves how can we possibly be healthy and high-functioning for others?

What is your oxygen?  Maybe it’s quiet time alone to gather your thoughts as each day begins.  Or maybe it’s going for a run to get the endorphins in your brain pumping.  It could be taking the time to plan healthy menus, or reading a really great book, or soaking in a hot tub.  Or maybe it’s something as simple as sitting out on the porch at the end of the day and reflecting, or praying, or just listening.

Whatever the oxygen is in your life…I encourage you to “grab your oxygen mask first” – and by taking care of yourself, you will be so much better prepared to help those whom you love the most!


A “Fat Warning Letter” to kids instead of candy on Halloween? I don’t think so.

My mind is still spinning from the story I heard this morning about a woman in Fargo, North Dakota, who told a local radio station that she plans to “trick” obese children in her hometown by giving them “warning letters” about their weight, instead of “treats” of the normal candy variety tomorrow night.halloween-letter

The text of the letter is directed at parents and says, “Your child is, in my opinion, moderately obese and should not be consuming sweets and treats to the extent of other children this Halloween season.”

This woman further states, “I just want to send a message to the parents of kids that are really overweight. … I think it’s just really irresponsible of parents to send them out looking for free candy just ’cause all the other kids are doing it.”

The thought sends me immediately back to my own chubby childhood when I was the brunt of a lot of jokes and ridicule because of my weight.  A stunt like this would not have motivated me as a child.  It would have mortified me!  It would have forced me further into the secret world of snacking behind closed doors and urged me towards a lower self-esteem and self-worth.

I want to ask this woman who does she think she is?  And what gives her the right to impose this kind of indictment on children that aren’t even hers’?  And does she realize that she can’t accurately assess the “health” of a child based solely upon a cursory glance at the door?  There are “skinny fat people” walking around all over the place!  Skinny does not necessarily equate to healthy!

Don’t get me wrong — I totally agree that the obesity epidemic in America has hit all new heights; especially in our kids. And I don’t believe that Halloween or other candy-center holidays do anything to help refocus our minds and our habits on healthy choices.  But I don’t believe that cruelty to children is going to do anything to cure childhood obesity!

Rather than taking it upon herself to be the judge and jury for children in her North Dakota neighborhood, I would much prefer to see her hand out healthy nutritious snacks.  Or here’s a novel idea —just don’t answer the door.

As parents (and adults in general) let’s be diligent about teaching the kids in our lives about nutrition and healthy choices.  But as one who lived the roll of the fat kid, please do it constructively.  Words have the power to bring life or death.  Take that power seriously and use it responsively to affect a positive change in the lives of the children you have influence over.


Abercrombie & Fitch thinks you have to be skinny to be cool? Think again.

The headline “Abercrombie & Fitch targets skinny shoppers, won’t sell larger sizes for plus-sized women” caught my eye this week. In fact, the subject has been all over the Internet, so I decided to finally weigh in on the topic (pun intended).

I have been a size 2 and I have been a size 22, and to be honest A& F has never been on my list of frequently visited stores. They are just not my style, regardless of my size. But I have a 12 year-old son (going on 21 in his own mind) who does like their clothing.

Basically, if you are bigger than a size large, don’t bother shopping at A& F. They don’t want you to and you won’t find anything there to fit. They have XS on the racks, but not XL (for women). And that’s ok. In America we are free to conduct business in whatever way we chose. And likewise, we are free – as consumers – to shop anywhere we choose.

Although I haven’t heard a direct quote from CEO Michael Jeffries this week, I did read an article in which he was quoted back from 2006. Here’s what he had to say:

“Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely. Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny.”

I don’t take issue with A&F’s right to engage any marketing strategy they choose; nor do I critique Jeffries’ right to take any stance he wants. What I do find unfortunate, is that in this image-conscious, media-driven society we live in, that all the buzz about A&F not selling clothes to “normal sized” healthy people (over a size 10), means they are alienating a group of very impressionable kids who are developing body image issues every day. And these issues go far beyond just being frustrated because they can’t fit into a cool pair of trendy jeans. These issues penetrate into the deepest core of their beings and affect the way they see themselves and value themselves. And as superficial as something like this may sound, it affects (in some people) the course they choose for their future.

The most important thing I learned from my “Biggest Loser” experience is that I am WORTH the effort to live the life I’ve always dreamed of. We all are! And that worth is NOT linked to a number on a scale, or the brand name on my shirt or jeans. And although controversy with the A&F brand is nothing new [I mean seriously, some of their ads feature so many naked bodies, you’d wonder if they are selling clothes or something else] I do hope that we as parents and adults-of-influence in the lives of kids will use all our influence to positively affect their lives and their developing self images.

And as a mom of three kids…cool or not (the verdict is still out), I’ll probably spend my money at Target.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 128 other followers