When I was in middle school, I was overweight. I was 5′ 8″ and 120 lbs, but I was young so I didn’t think too much about it. That was, until I joined the city baseball team. It was a travel team that I had too tryout for and I, being in the shape that I was, barely made it. Everyone else was faster and generally more athletic than I was and it became clear to me that if I didn’t change, I wasn’t going to stay on the team for very long. So I set some long and short term goals like I learned in elementary school and set off to change my self. What surprised me is that I didn’t have to completely change my lifestyle. I made a few minor changes to my diet and exercise and the rest just naturally fell into place. Before, my mom would always go to the grocery store on her own and pick out whatever she thought I would like. This ended up being a decent amount of junk food because that is what she saw me eat most often. So I started tagging along with her on her weekly trips to Meijer and just walking through the produce isle excited me. We would pass by a rack of vegetables and I would be picking stuff up left and right and asking my mom if it was okay if we got it. There were just so many things that I had never seen before so I was really interested in trying them out.
Later we would pass through the junk food isle and I surprised my mom by just only getting a family size bag of tortilla chips. “So you don’t want this or that?” She asked. I replied no and we just continued walking. Though I still had a little bit of junk food in my school lunches, I also added peppers and carrots and assorted fruits. I didn’t completely change what I ate, I just added some healthier options to it.
Along with nutrition, I also changed how much I exercised. But I’m not talking about going to the gym everyday and lifting weights (first of all I was in middle school and second of all it wasn’t necessary). I started running one mile a couple days a week but it was mostly that I joined other sports. I started playing hockey and swimming, things that I loved to do. So it didn’t feel like exercise cause I was having fun while doing it. I’m not saying that you can just magically get into shape cause that’s not how the world works and what would be the point of life if that was the case. What I am saying is that it doesn’t take as much effort as some people say. Just find something you enjoy doing and stick with it.
As a result of changing a couple small parts of my life, I stayed the same weight for the next 2 years. I basically stretched upwards and by the end of middle school, I was about 6 feet tall and at the same weight I had been when I was four inches shorter. My baseball coach took notice of how much I had changed and he actually had me give a speech to the rest of the team about what I did. I was very reluctant to speak cause I knew everyone would make fun of me afterwards and call me names (which they did) but deep down inside, it felt really good that other people took notice of how different I was. Though I was only 8 years old when this event occurred, the underlying message can relate to people of all ages. Just know that you don’t have to do a complete 180 in order to change your life around. Just start with the small things, such adding more vegetables to your daily intake, and the rest will all come together in the end.