My 6 year-old recently brought home her first class picture. I remember the day I sent her off in her pink wool sweater with a hint of argyle in the pattern, her sparkly blue jeans and silver shoes, and her bright white bow in her dark curly hair. We practiced smiling and I took a few pictures at home since we weren’t going to order the individual shots (the always seem so sterile to me…) She knew to listen to the grown-ups, stand still and smile big when her class stood together for their small moment in time to make their history.
Well, she looked beautiful, smiling big and holding up the end of the top row. I was happy to see her there with the funny-at-times-awkward kids I’ve had the privilege of getting to know a little. But I couldn’t help but notice someone else…
He was standing on the end of the front row, his longer hair slightly covering his face. He was not smiling, or if he was I couldn’t tell because he looked so sad. His eyes were staring at the camera, but they were wanting, empty. He was obese.
It’s SO hard for me to even type that word, I hesitated and thought a long while before doing so and placing what feels like a judgmental label on someone. In reality it’s a medical term, but it’s hard to think of it that way. Is this why in the year 2010 two-thirds of our nation’s adults were overweight? Is this why in the same year one-third of our children were overweight? Because we’re afraid to talk about it unless someone is being teased?
I learned those statistics the day before I saw my daughter’s picture while watching “One Nation Overweight.” I’m scared to think of what it might be now, two year’s later. In that documentary it was also stated that for the first time in recent decades the life expectancy of children being born was less than the adults birthing and raising them. Can you imagine that? Can you believe that we’ve created a world with so many unhealthy bombardments that are children are expected to live shorter lives than us? That our kids are more likely to get diabetes than to graduate from college? That is so sad…it’s heartbreaking really.
Is being skinny a guarantee of being healthy? No. I was at my skinniest and most fit when I started making poor food and fitness choices. For me “health” was all about pleasing other people, looking just right and being the right number- and not just a small one. I actually started putting on weight at huge amounts because I was afraid of being so small. But you can’t lean either way completely. There has to be a balance, a balance with the sense of reality that there are different body types. There are different personalities. There are people who prefer watching TV and eating cake to taking a jog and eating lean meats and salads. I think most people would probably prefer that! LOL But there is a healthy balance and healthy weight for everyone.
So looking at that class picture, thinking about kids all over our country, makes me teary, makes me worry. But it also makes me hope. I know that every day we can start making healthier choices that will immediately affect our mood, energy, and health. I hope every day that the people reading this will try harder to love themselves and their families by taking care of themselves, so they CAN be there for their families now and in in future years. I want everyone to feel the joy I’m feeling of being able to wear clothing that was too tight on me just a month ago. It feels SO GOOD to be living life in a body that is healthier, I wish everyone felt this way
In honor of this experience I had last week I’m signing my entire family up for a Walk for Diabetes this May. We are going to try to raise $200 to go towards research to fight against this terrible epidemic. I will post details soon on how you can support us and contribute. Just pack a lunch instead of going through the drive-thru one day and you can save yourself the money and calories and contribute $5 to a great cause. 🙂 If you can’t afford to help that way, then sign up to walk! I’ll post more details soon…
I hope you have a fun, great weekend! But I hope it’s fun and great for the right reasons, like because you’re making healthy choices with your family that will enhance your life and the lives of all you love. I’m thinking of everyone who has expressed to me that they are trying to lose weight and live well. You CAN DO IT! Happy Saturday! Luv, Eva