Monday, June 3, 2013

Growing Up and Feeling Down

I was not comfortable with my
body and preferred hiding it
Growing up is tough.  I know from experience that being a kid and teen are some of the most challenging times in our lives.  There are so many pressures associated with growing up – school, social life, puberty, changing bodies, media pressure, family issues, and countless more.  I have been working with many kids and teens over the past few years teaching them to live healthfully before they reach adulthood.  (This summer I am taking a proactive step – see details below.)  I can relate to these young people because I struggled with my weight growing up.  I spent the majority of my adolescence embarrassed about the way I looked.  I didn’t look like the cheerleaders I went to school with and I didn’t fit into the “cute” clothes girls my age were supposed to wear.  My belly usually stuck out further than my chest.  I can remember strategically tucking my shirt in the back so that it would blouse down in front and cover my stomach. I hated that my thighs rubbed together so badly when I walked that it created a rash.  I had to think about which shorts to wear so they would not ride up between my thighs if I was going to walk in front of people.   
These things I remember are still being experienced by kids and teens today.  However, it is only amplified by the added pressure of instant gratification/abuse from social media.  The kids I have worked with have struggled with health issues that run from anorexia to extreme overeating and complete inactivity to extreme exercising.  However, they all suffer from the same cycle of comfort and self-hatred that result from being unhealthy.  Many kids feel that they have no control over their life – parents’ divorce, school work, sibling trouble, peer pressure – and it begins to manifest itself in the way we treat our bodies.  Part of the process of getting physically healthy is making a mind-body connection.  In order to gain control of our health, we must be able to manage our thoughts and feelings about stress, food, our body, and life in general.  That can be very hard, especially for a teenager.  
I found confidence in sports, and
I will help teens find their confidence
Many kids find comfort in food.  They become good at eating away and through emotions then sit around the house because they avoid social situations.  This leads to a self-destructive cycle.  Kids and teens need guidance, structure, and discipline.  It may not be easy, but in order to find success, kids need to work hard.  Luckily when I was growing up I played sports.  There were times I was pushed outside my comfort zone, but that allowed me to progress and grow.  It also gave me confidence that I could make changes and believe in myself.  While change is never easy and no one likes leaving their comfort zone, some circumstances require it.  And the best things in life are the ones that we work hardest for and fight for.  Our health is definitely worth fighting for! 
This summer I am taking a leap towards getting kids and teens healthy.  I am offering a 60-day program.  I will coach, teach, and encourage kids and teens to break the cycle of feeling bad about themselves.  I will not judge, criticize, or embarrass.  I will motivate and inspire them to reach their full potential.  The goal is to transform their health and confidence before school begins again in the fall.  So, if you have or know a child or teen (middle school thru college) who is facing health issues, please tell them about my summer program or contact me directly –
I know what it is like to grow up and feel down, but it does not have to be that way.  I will help kids and teens realize that.  And, please know that it is never too late!  Even if you’ve reached adulthood and still feel down, I am here to help.  Go to  to see all the ways I can help you – ages two to 92!  Obesity is 100% preventable and it starts today!