Recently Hannah, the parent of one of my clients, reached out to me on Facebook to post a photo of her son, Ian, dressed in skinny jeans for school. It was a simple gesture on Hannah’s part, and I couldn’t help but share in her joy. For months I’ve worked with Ian and his family to help him make some changes to his diet, but in truth, it is Ian who has done all the work. I am so proud of the perseverance and self-confidence this 12-year-old exudes and am pretty sure that others can be inspired by his story.
Nearly a year ago, Ian came to me after his pediatrician expressed some concern about his weight. We spent that first session together just talking and in some follow up sessions we came up with ideas on how Ian could adjust his diet. It’s not easy for anyone to adjust their diet, especially a growing, 12-year-old boy. Ultimately for Ian, it meant giving up refined carbohydrates.
Looking back, Ian says that at first it was hard to give up some of his favorite foods, like bagels and pasta, but then it became a lifestyle and was easier. He learned how “to move around the carbs” but still eat a lot of the food he enjoyed before in smaller portions or in a healthier, whole grain version. For school lunches, he always brings his from home. He’ll roll up meat and cheese so he doesn’t need the bread. After school, he’ll snack on an apple. For dinners, Ian’s family stopped having pasta and fast food and started cooking a lot more to accommodate his diet.
In the end, Ian has lost 20 pounds, and his BMI has dropped from 30.5 to 25.1 (and he continues to grow taller!). What matters most to him, though, is that he shaved 30 seconds of his long distance swim times during swim meets. He also has more energy throughout the day. He can enjoy some carbs now, especially before a swim meet.
Hannah says that Ian was able to succeed because he never felt pushed into any diet regiment. In the first few months there were ups and downs, but Ian knew that change was ultimately up to him. He was able to ease into the changes he has made and eventually succeed. Additionally, says Hannah, the whole family is now more aware of what they are eating, and they keep healthier food in the house because of it.
Looking back, Ian says, “It’s hard in the beginning, but there are results.”
That’s wisdom we can all use.