As an organization, we are delighted to share with you a story from one of our hard-working students. We hope you will be encouraged, as we were, with regard to what happens when support and encouragement are offered to a child.
In November of 2012, 4th grader, Evan went into the doctor with a sore throat. The doctor prescribed him some antibiotics for the infection, but pulled his mom, Holly, aside to talk to her about something he was more concerned about, Evan’s weight. She knew it was coming, in the past 18 months; Evan went from 54 lbs. to 92 lbs. The doctor told her that if they just cut out the fast food and soda from his diet – the weight should melt off. The problem was, they didn’t really eat fast food… or drink soda…but she knew the problem existed and they needed to do something to make a change. Like lots of kids, Evan had gotten into a relatively sedentary rhythm of life consisting of video games and TV, and essentially consuming more calories than he was burning off. Holly immediately down loaded the ‘lose it’ app and found ways to get Evan more physically active. In order to lose the weight, Evan was put on a 1300 calorie/day regiment, and they stuck with it! The ‘Lose it’ app was a tremendous help, as they bar coded everything! He started eating more fiber, lots of fresh fruit. They also got passes to the local trampoline gym, ‘Skywalk’, which really helped him start losing the weight. They found a fun outlet for physical activity... which is the best kind! Exercise moves from something we have to do, to something we get to do. That feels like something that has been lost with the increase in technology. We need to encourage children to play again… find something active that they love to do. Find their ‘play’.
With some intentionality and mindful behavior, it was amazing, “one day he woke up and didn’t have a double chin.” On days they didn’t go to Skywalk, they did weights in front of the Disney Channel – together. This was a team effort; Holly made it clear to her son that he wasn’t in this alone. One of the most important things that Holly focused on was finding sustainable ways to maintain this new, healthy lifestyle. They didn’t cut out or restrict anything from Evan – but instead, she taught him moderation… and when desiring something sweet – opting for fresh fruit over candy, cookies... or other less nutritious options. After a long afternoon of jumping, sometimes In-and-Out is a great dinner option. She doesn’t want her son to be afraid of food – but to understand what is good for his body, and how to have a healthy relationship with eating for his body’s needs.
In November’s Cross Country season, Evan was running a 9-minute mile – at the end of the school year he clocked a 6:32 mile! We celebrate this victory with Holly, Evan and their family. We feel honored to witness this transformation and are excited that this family has decided to fight back against obesity. Our goal at Off The Front is to give kids opportunities, education and accessibility to living a healthy lifestyle. By earning a bike, they are given a tool to be physically active. We are thrilled that this year, Evan was able to earn a bike through our program. In addition, Evan found his play, which has empowered him to find more ways to be physically active – ways that he really enjoys! Evan is now healthy, more confident and enjoying a very active summer. He now enjoys running, swimming, and riding his bike. After losing the weight, Holly has taught her kids that they are all gifted in unique ways and encourages them in that. Just this past month, while running along side her son, he looked at her with a smile and said – ‘I think I found my gift.’