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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Being a healthy role model for our kids


I think being overweight is hard on anybody, but especially moms. I know because I had an extra 30 pounds of weight on me after having my second daughter. I think some of the weight never left after having my first daughter sixteen months before. Weight can creep up on you and before you know it, your clothes aren’t fitting anymore and you’re buying larger sizes.
I didn’t want to be part of America’s statistics for obesity. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention they say over the past twenty years there has been a dramatic increase in obesity and that more than one-third of U.S. adults (35.7%) and approximately 17% (12.5 million) children and adolescents aged 2-19 are obese.
I knew I needed to do something about my weight, so I joined Weight Watchers. I went every Saturday to meetings and weighed in for about eight months until I lost the weight.  Seven years later, I am still down 30 pounds. I tell you this because I have met so many people along the way, who all want the same thing-- to lose weight and be healthy.  After reaching my goal, I wanted to help others learn how to lose weight, so I started leading Weight Watchers meetings.
One person I want to tell you about is a 42-year-old woman named Michelle Burrell. She came to my meetings a little over a year ago and since then has lost 85 pounds. Incredible! She is a single mother of two. She has a 16-year-old son Shawn and an 8-year-old daughter, Elana. Elana is about 80 pounds. I tease Burrell and say she lost her daughter. One day, I even had Burrell put her daughter on her back and try to carry her around. It was hard for her to do. For years, Burrell has been carrying that extra weight. 
Michelle Burrell before
 losing 85 pounds 
Before losing weight, Burrell says the list was endless of what was hard for her to do because she was overweight. Now she eats healthy and exercises almost every day. She found an exercise she loves to do. She takes trampoline cardio classes at Airheads Trampoline Arena in Largo a few times a week and runs the other days. This is a person who told me a year ago, she was winded after going up stars. She couldn’t bend down before to polish her toenails. Burrell is continuing her journey of losing weight. She says she’s half way there. I am so proud of her and her accomplishments so far. Her life is changing. Just recently Burrell completed a half marathon, which is just one of her many big accomplishments. Her biggest she says is feeling comfortable enough to go to the beach with her daughter and being physically able to build a sandcastle.
Michelle Burrell 85 pounds lighter by
eating healthy and exercising
What is so important is that Burrell is a role model for her daughter. Her daughter is seeing her mom eat healthy and exercise. Her daughter wants to do the same. Burrell says her daughter goes to trampoline class and even runs with her. Elana is also grabbing for the fruit instead of cookies.
When we are eating healthy and exercising our kids will usually follow what we do. We need to set good examples and buy foods that are healthy. I know I feel better when I eat healthy and exercise. I want to be a positive influence on my kids.
I found a few programs locally that you may want to check into that are free for kids.  All Children’s Hospital has a program called Fit4allkids  to help children manage their weight and make healthy good choices. They also offer free online cooking videos with recipes called Cook eKitchen.  All Children’s teamed up with Kohl’s and has free cooking classes for kids called Kohl’s Cooks for Kids. They run once a week for five weeks. The next class is April 10th in Largo. I even noticed Walgreens rewards you for getting active with their Walk with Walgreens program.
There are programs available to help you, but it’s up to us to make healthy eating and exercise a part of our life and our children’s lives.

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