A Mother’s Love: The Gift of Health and Fitness (Part I)

July 2007

First, I want to congratulate Yvonne Horton (Mom) for taking the baton of fitness and passing it on to her daughter, Shae. As we all know, it’s not easy changing behaviors and old dietary habits. However, Yvonne and Jason have committed to making family fitness a fun lifestyle. Check out Yvonne and Shae’s interview and how they did it.schae-peaches2

What was your motivation for wanting your daughter to change?
Yvonne: Schae, from birth, was always on the higher end of the weight bracket for her age. Although she was active and involved in a variety of sports including dance, swimming, softball and basketball, she was continuously getting heavier. Then, I noticed that while not participating in her extra curricular activities, all she did was watch television and snack. I voiced my concerns to my boyfriend, Jason, and he pointed out that I was the culprit. He showed me that my buying habits were providing her with everything that she didn’t need. I listened a little at first, but it wasn’t until she was taunted by schoolmates and came home extremely upset that I really decided to make a change, for both of us. I know that children learn by example and if she saw that I was changing she’d desire the same.

How did you help your daughter incorporate a healthy lifestyle?
Yvonne: Noticing the tremendous amount of unhealthy food that I was providing my daughter, I went “cold turkey!” I gave away any junk food, soda, or whatever was unhealthy that we had in our pantry. I refused to go to the fast food places, except for Subway. I talked to Schae about why some foods were healthy for you and others weren’t. I talked to her about sickness such as diabetes, from which I suffer, that can shorten your life span and ultimately kill you if you don’t eat properly. Lastly, my boyfriend and I developed a schedule to get Schae up, moving and out of the house. She went to cardio kickboxing with Jason and I twice a week. On the days that she didn’t have kickboxing class, she was required to be out of the house for at least two hours a day. To make it a little fun for her, we incorporated, walking the dog, running with me, and going to the library to complete her summer reading schedule.

How did she transition from fast foods & junk foods?
Yvonne: Her transition was tough; of course, she’s a kid. But, just like all children, they desire direction, and it was my job as her mother to ensure that we stuck to our new lifestyle. When she would get frustrated, I’d tell her she’d have to go out and walk for an additional half hour if she didn’t straighten up. I would remind her of her goal and how she felt when she was teased at school, and would say “look at you now. You go girl. Come on, we can do it!” Before long, she’d say “ok” and we’d move on. To keep her encouraged, I would reward her with occasional smoothie shakes or ice cream (her favorite) here or there.

Why do you like to exercise?
Shae: I don’t like to exercise, but my parents encourage me so that I can look and feel healthier everyday. I exercise mostly because girls around my age are either on the verge of being heavy or already are, and I was one of those girls. I know that I do not want to be unhealthy and overweight again, because I was unhappy. Every since I lost weight, I feel much much better about myself and have a lot more confidence in myself.

What do you do for exercise?
Shae: For exercise I like to do push-ups, sit- ups, jumping jacks, jogging, sprints (sometimes), and some of the time I like to play sports.
What types of healthy foods do you enjoy eating?
Shae: The types of healthy foods that I enjoy eating are: fish, chicken (grilled or baked), greens, celery, carrots, fresh green peppers, water, and occasionally carbohydrates.

How does it make you feel?
Shae: It makes me feel like I’m full of energy, very content, and like I can accomplish anything in the world I set my mind to.
What would you say to other girls about exercising and eating healthy?
Shae: I would say kudos to them and I hope they try to maintain to keep their body in shape; and maybe we could exercise together one day.
Way to go Shae, Yvonne, and Jason!