Thursday, March 3, 2011

She’s on Her Way!

I met with Katie yesterday for the first time.  Katie is the teen chosen to receive eight weeks of my Camp Champ program for free.   I was so excited to meet Katie yesterday and couldn’t wait to find out more about her, her personality and lifestyle, and how we could help her lose weight and get healthier.  I went to her house yesterday when she got home from school.  She met me at the door with a big smile on her face.  I was welcomed by the entire family – including the dog!  We sat down at the kitchen table with her mom.  I wanted to spend the first few minutes together just getting to know Katie and how she had gotten to where she is and why she entered the Teen Camp Champ contest.  We talked about her current daily routine – what she eats & when, how much sleep she gets, and her lack of exercise.  I was disappointed, but not surprised, to find out that she doesn’t really get any exercise at all.  She said she didn’t like competition, but if she had to pick her favorite sports it would be soccer and swimming, and maybe tennis. 

Katie on Day 1
Weight: 235.4
Waist: 46.0"
Upper Arm: 14.5"
Thigh: 23.75"
Blood Pressure: 136/92
Pulse: 89
After we talked for a while, I took her blood pressure, pulse, measurements, weight, and starting photos so we could monitor her progress.  All of her numbers were much higher than they should be for a 16-year-old female.  Her weight was a little lower than she had expected; however, she is still in the morbidly obese range.  I am positive that we will get her out of morbid obesity and hopefully under 200 pounds during our eight weeks together.  Katie is very optimistic and has a great attitude, and I know she is going to work hard.

After getting her stats, we took a tour of their kitchen and I talked with Katie and her mom about ways to swap their food with more healthful options.  I didn’t make them throw anything out, but I did give them color-coded stickers so they could mark foods as good, better, best.  Since I come from a traffic engineering background, I gave them stickers in the color of a traffic light – foods to be eaten rarely get red, food to be eaten in moderation gets yellow, and food that should be eaten very often gets green.  I offered ideas for fresher, less processed, and more colorful foods that should be filling their cupboard and fridge.  Katie’s family already has one good practice in place – they keep a calendar on the fridge that shows what they are going to have for dinner each night.  That is something I recommend and was so happy to see they already do that. 

After going over her eating plan, Katie and I went outside to get in some exercise.  Since she likes soccer, we kicked around the soccer ball, I had her run up and down the driveway, we did some body weight exercises, and lunges & squats.  I could tell she hadn’t been active in some time, but she did her best and did not quit on me – and more importantly, she didn’t quit on herself.  We finished our workout with a good walk around her neighborhood street.  It was nice to get a chance to talk with her a little more.  She told me she always wanted to be the one taking the pictures because she was very uncomfortable being on the other side of the lens.  She said she also hated shopping for clothes – an experience I could definitely share with her.  It is torture to be a teen standing in front of a dressing room mirror trying to zip up the pants in a size you thought would fit.  When they won’t zip, it is even more agonizing to try a size larger – it eats away at a kid’s soul and starts a cycle of self-deprecation. 

Yesterday I promised Katie that I would help her enjoy shopping and want to be in pictures rather than take them.  I emailed her when I got home last night and gave her a few goals for the week.  I told her I will support her no matter what and will never be judgmental of anything she asks or tells me.  I am going back to exercise with her this weekend and will return again next Wednesday to see how much weight she lost in her first week. 

If you would like to encourage Katie, offer support, or simply share your story, please comment below or email me at  Words of encouragement can go a long way!  And make sure to check back next week to see how much progress Katie makes in her first week.  She is on her way to feeling so much better and looking amazing!  I’m already super proud of her! 

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