Amanda Davies made a decision to overcome obesity after tipping the scales at 270 pounds. Today she’s down 75 pounds and has energy like never before. She is sharing her experiences in the hope that she’ll inspire others. This is the last of a six-part blog series that tells Davies’ story.
It’s been a year since Amanda Davies made the decision to improve her health, and her life has changed dramatically. Her weight has dropped, and her quality of life has climbed. She’s dedicated to daily exercise, and finds joy in creating healthy meals for her family. And she regularly shares recipes, tips, and stories to inspire others on her motivational blog and Facebook page, “Fit and Fabulousness.”
And every step of the way—consciously and unconsciously—she’s been a role model for her children.
“Your children may not always listen to you, but they will always watch you,” said Sue Peterson, nurse coordinator of St. Luke’s Children’s YEAH! (Youth Engaged in Activities for Health). “Healthy habits start with the parents, particularly the moms, who do most of the shopping, the cooking, and the meal planning. They determine the flow of the day and what kinds of activities the family does.”
In fact, the YEAH! program is based on evidence that reducing childhood obesity takes the entire family. Children cannot enroll in the program unless the parents commit to participating as well. This “whole family” approach to healthy living means parents teach kids, and kids teach parents.
Davies has been teaching positive habits to her children, who are 8, 6, and 4. In addition to engaging them in fun activities and creating healthy meals, she’s been talking with them about their feelings.
“When they’re asking for snacks and I know they’ve recently eaten, I ask them if they’re actually hungry, or maybe just thirsty and need a drink,” she said. “Or maybe they’re bored, and we need to do something interesting. I don’t want them to just turn to food because there’s nothing else to do and it’s there.”
Just as important, Davies believes, are the careful messages she’s been giving them along the way—about health, appearance, and kindness.
“I want my kids to know that even though I’ve lost weight and I’m smaller than I used to be, it doesn’t make me a better person—just a healthier one. I’m still the same person, but I’ve evolved. And I want them to know that you don’t have to be thin to be happy or pretty—that there are all kinds of body types. All people have value.”
“It’s tough for parents to compete with all the influences of fast food, sodas, computer and video games, and social media,” Peterson said. “I commend parents who are guiding their children in a healthy lifestyle.”
Davies said she wants her children to know that just like her, they can do hard things. They can face challenges, overcome them, and be stronger. There’s no magic bullet solutions for the problems we face, she said, just hard work and trying again every day. It’s a message she spreads on social media, and wants to share with others who are where she once was.
“It’s hard,” she said, “but it’s totally worth it.”
Anna Fritz is a writer and editor with St. Luke’s Communications and Marketing.