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