I was always on a sports team growing up, but in my senior year of high school I was in an accident that injured my brain and doctors told me I needed to stop running for at least a year.Through my recovery, I was forced to face many negative consequences from my new sedentary lifestyle, including gaining weight, poor self-esteem, lowered grades and struggle with sleep.
When I sought help, I discovered the benefits of exercise and finally understood the positive impact it had on me physically, mentally and emotionally. I realized I loved being active because of the way it made me feel and think about myself, rather than being focused on my appearance. I researched ways to give my body the respect it deserved without furthering my injury and came across weight lifting, yoga and better nutrition. I felt stronger and more excited about getting my life back on track and helping others do the same. Eventually, I became a group fitness instructor and obtained my personal training certification. My experience was a catalyst for my passion to be an educator and role model on the importance of an active lifestyle.
Soon after, I had the opportunity to work as a trainer for my local hospital’s childhood obesity weight management program. Each week I led the participants in discussions on topics from body image to how to read food labels, and then we’d workout together. I was incredibly encouraged to see these children who were unmotivated and intimidated at first be changed into confident examples in their own families and schools. It is a powerful thing when people from all walks of life work together to reach their fitness goals.
Nearly everyone has an obstacle or excuse that stands in their way, making it more difficult to choose the right and responsible choices for their health. But when weighing the pros and cons, it is clear to see that taking the “road less traveled” is worth it in the end for a longer and more productive life. Consequences, such as obesity and diabetes, are taking a toll on our finances, our social lives, our heart health and so much more. I understand you can’t always drop everything in your life to make all the positive changes your family needs. Make your lifestyle about balance and finding something sustainable to incorporate into your everyday routine!
Small Changes, Big Impact
- Eat together as a family around the table at least twice a week-this typically includes less fat, smaller portion sizes and more veggies.
- After family dinner, go for a walk or bike ride around the block.
- Motivate by fun or competition. Help kids find activities they love and encourage them to try something new, like relay races or push up contests. Use prize incentives for walking a mile or jumping rope… An hour a day of play is what kids need to grow into their very best!
Let’s all commit to incorporating one new healthy choice into our daily routine, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator or saying no to that second bowl of ice-cream. Energy in-energy out!
Rosemary Willis is a Chesapeake native, a Senior studying Government and Health Sciences at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA. She enjoys singing in an a cappella group, going to the beach, making people laugh, doing international service projects, and teaching group fitness classes. As Miss Virginia, she travels thousands of miles a month promoting her platform, “Get Moving Today for Healthier Tomorrow”. You can follow her year on twitter @MissVirginiaMAO and her Blogs on www.missva.com.
Check out Together Counts’ energy balance resources for your family: