Monday, April 12, 2010

To Change the World, Start With One Step, However Small, The First Step Is Hardest of All

About two years ago I went to eat lunch at my “little” sister’s school. I thought that I would just eat whatever she was eating. Simple enough? Wrong. I took one look at the chicken nugget or “rib” option and quickly decided that was not for me. Instead, I got some of the vegetables and an iceberg lettuce salad. I remember thinking this was the worst $7 dollars I could spend. Since I got a salad in addition to the sides they charged me for two lunches. I also remember thinking that this was a horrible way for children to eat. I was so appalled by it that I remember taking pictures to document it. Sadly those pictures were lost when the laptop was stolen. It was no surprise that my little sister who was in the 3rd grade at the time could wear my old clothes that I had given to her family. I knew something needed to change.

And right now that change is Jamie Oliver. I really hope his Food Revolution show makes more people aware of what their children are eating and what they are eating. I personally think my cousin, Randy Trani, who the principal for all three schools in the Corbett School District was way ahead of the curve. A few years ago, when starting at Corbett he got rid of the lunch ladies and implemented a culinary arts program and created a lunch program where the parents actually wanted to eat the same lunch as their kids. (He’s also written a book, Fallacies in Education: Why School Are Mired in Mediocrity, in case you are wondering about his credentials.) If any of you have watched Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution you know the resistance Jamie has gotten from the school and school district. I’d like to think there are some administrators out there who want to see a change in what children are eating.

So yesterday I was watching episode four and literally balled my eyes out. Why? I went to junior high/high school in Charleston, WV, an hour away from Huntington, WV where the show was filmed. I ate that same damn breakfast pizza Jamie couldn’t believe the kids were eating. I never drank white milk at school, only chocolate. And when the radio DJ was so against Jamie succeeding it just made me really sad. (I am sure some of it was for shock value, etc.). The doublewide casket was heart breaking as well. It really hit home yesterday, like knocked me over, when the young kids were talking about their family weight struggles and their own. While I knew what vegetables were, my family still ate out a fair amount. Our fridge never looked like the fridge of the family where everything they ate was brown. I was somewhat active. But when it all came down to it I was overweight. Not just a little bit overweight, I was considered obese.

I think part of the reason I got so sad yesterday was because I started thinking about all the what ifs. What if I had never decided to lose weight? What if I never started to exercise? What if I had moved back to West Virginia? What if that was me on that show or someone I actually knew? It all was a little too much.

I have come SO far in 6 years. I have completely changed my health and my lifestyle. I still have days (and weeks) that are difficult, but I know that I can never let myself get back to where I once was. If you ever doubt that you can change, please know that you can. If this girl from West Virginia can do it, you can do it too. And chances are, I will be cheering for your success.

I should probably do an updated before/after, but this will do for now.


And if you haven’t watched Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, please check it out on


Iggy said...

I'm incredibly proud of you for all of the progress you have made over the years. You a incredibly inspirational and I hope your dedication never wavers.

It sucks even more for poor people because they can't afford to eat healthy. I was at a social worker conference over the weekend and I found out that people on food stamps are allotted $4/day... If you shop at Wal-Mart to save a buck, you know that you can't buy a whole lot (if any) vegetables for your pantry as easily as you could processed canned meat (e.g Chef Boyardee).

esther said...

I love you and I'm so, SO proud of you!

nathan said...

I'm glad the show is showing that there ARE people who want to change how things are done. Hopefully the people of Huntington and rest of the tri-state area take some of that to heart and don't forget it once the show ends.

whyweight said...

Oh, I am glad you reminded me. I wanted to watch this show. I will have to check out Hulu and get caught up!

anna said...

thank you for posting this sara. i know it must be painful to think about. you are so gorgeous! i love that picture of you in the fleece because your eyes really stand out!

i also grew up in a semi-healthy-food home. casseroles were our mainstay dinner dish as well as hostess cupcakes, 7up, and doritos were our snacks! i was overweight growing up and as i look back i know it could have been avoided if different food choices were made FOR ME. and i say FOR ME because i was not the one cooking meals and stocking the cupboards. it's really sad.

i LOVE jamie oliver. he is my only celebrity crush. not because he's so good looking (let's be honest) but because of the way he cooks! ha!

anyway i have been watching this show and loving it! and i'm telling all my friends and family to watch it. i was appalled by the school lunch program featured in this town. and it looks like the next episode is where the lunch lady throws down with jamie. should be interesting. and sad. so sad.

i don't understand why people are so afraid of change. especially when the change is for better health.

Lauren said...


I know I don't know you that well, but I got chills from reading this blog entry. You look fantastic! What a great accomplishment! Hope to see you sometime soon!

heidiallison said...

Can I tell you how much you rock! I understand completely the continual struggle to eat, live, and be healthy. You have accomplished so much- including running the upcoming half. By sharing your story and the knowledge you have regarding healthy choices, You're 'paying it forward'...Did I mention you rock!? :)