I’ve said before that I don’t believe in coincidences. I really believe things happen for a reason. This book was handed to me at the right time for the right reason. I read this book last December– right before it was my time to be the heavy. The “heavy” is the rule enforcer, the boundary over-stepper, the tyrant, the bitchy queen bee… and in this book (and my case) loving your child more than you care about the criticisms of others. I can see how this is a controversial book. (she weighs her daughter daily, and restricts her diet) But I also see how this mother pushed and struggled and did what she needed to do to save her daughter’s life. I related so much with the author, and her daughter Bea reminded me so much of my sweet Kadyn. Our stories are so similar. Junk food wasn’t and still is not in our house. We didn’t eat a lot of fast food. We were an active family! We always had fruits and vegetables at every meal. But my daughter still became obese with high cholesterol levels at the age of 10. Together, we fought a similar battle that Bea and her mother fought.. I started off being the heavy…but she has taken charge of her own health and I could not be more proud.
From May of 2012 to May of 2013 my daughter only grew a half of an inch. She also gained 21 pounds. Her BMI shot up 4.6 points. In a year. This was extremely alarming to the doctor, (who handled herself unprofessionally and I immediately fired her) and blood work was ordered. They came back and it showed that Kadyn’s cholesterol levels were very high.
The results showed her levels to be 230. The normal range for a girl her age is 100-199.
(Desirable: less than 170; Borderline: 170-199; Risky: over 200.)
Her LDL (that means the bad one) cholesterol was 151.
(Desirable: less than 110; Borderline: 110-129; Risky: over 130)
My tiny dancer? At risk? Yep. She was in the risky category. The whole way home I was a wreck (trying not to cry) and consoling her because she was crying .
I kept flashing back to when I washer age. I remember being in 5th grade, getting off the bus and two boys shouting and singing out the bus windows, “Kacy’s fat. Uh-oh-a-oh, uh-oh-a-oh. Kacy’s fat. ” (using the beat from MC Hammer’s “Let’s Get It Started”). I will never, ever forget that. I just recently told my husband the story and could barely make it through the story because it still hurts. This happened 25 years ago and the wound still feels pretty raw.
This cannot happen to my daughter. I won’t let it. I knew we needed to clean up her diet and get her moving, but I didn’t want it to be about the weight. I didn’t (and still don’t) want it to be about the number on the scale. But I know that is an important factor in health. Sill, I refused to weigh her. I stressed health, focused on eating the rainbow, and exercising for fun. We talked about things to eat daily, and things we should eat sometimes. She assured me she had this under control. And I believed her. I made small adjustment here and there, but mostly tiptoed around choices she made, and didn’t speak up when I should have. For 6 months, I was in total denial. I just wanted it to go away.
Fast forward to December 2013. Time to have blood drawn to see how great my denial approach was working.
Not well. Time to be the heavy. This time I got my husband and son involved. I asked my parents and in-laws for support. I told her teacher what our game plan was. We looked up the foods to eat to raise HDL, and foods to eat to lower LDL. We talked about portion control, and vegetables, and fish. We found cholesterol lowering recipes to try. We said no more bacon, no egg yolks, and no shrimp. I like to think my job change was more than a coincidence in all this. (Thank you God!) I was home in the mornings now to help with breakfast choices. We packed her lunch together every day. On weekends, we went shopping together and planned our meals. We bought her a bike, kids yoga passes, went on walks, and enrolled her in soccer.
The food was the hardest. She simply couldn’t have certain foods. There were many days I had to tell her no. There were moments I had to tell her to stop eating. Every single day we talked about breakfast, snack and lunch. (and we still do) There were times I had to tell her she couldn’t have both. There were times I offered her a diet soda because Brody was having juice. These are things that still break my heart. But I was on a mission. The numbers (weight and cholesterol) could not go up. I needed to teach her how to eat to live, not live to eat. I had to model this also…very hard for me as a food addict. I didn’t want to worry when she left me to go to a sleepover or to Chick Fil A with friends. I wanted her to have this under control.
She finally started to get it. She picked ways she liked to be active and started to move her body. She learned to measure her food, and asked questions about serving sizes. She learned to speak up at restaurants and order her chicken sandwiches grilled with no mayo. She said no to a cookie at church, if she knew she had a birthday party that weekend.
When we went in for her check up last month, and got these results…she cried happy tears. (I did too!) She grew 4 inches and gained 5 pounds. This was perfect…the goal was never to lose weight. The goal was to get at a healthy place. And we met the goal. She met the goal. The fact that these numbers moved this much in six months is phenomenal. The doctor asked us what steps we took to get these results. She was so curious because she said: THIS NEVER HAPPENS. IT IS USUALLY THE SAME OR MUCH, MUCH WORSE. Kadyn spoke up and shared what we focused on for meals and snacks, and how exercise was a priority.
Kadyn is a funny, sweet, sensitive, loving, kind little girl who deserves to feel nothing short of amazing. I wanted to share
my her OUR story because this is a struggle that is REAL. This is going on in a lot of American households. It has to be. I taught elementary school PE for 12 years. I saw the students getting larger and less active as my career went on. It isn’t easy to talk about, but we have to start. This is nothing to hide from or be embarrassed about.
I took the stance to be the heavy. I wasn’t looking to be mom (or wife for that matter– I had to stand up to my husband a few times on her behalf) of the year, or have other parents would respect me, or so my daughter would love me more. I was the heavy because it was (and is!) my job as a mom to protect and love my babies with a powerful fierceness.Thanks for letting me share this story–
Kacy (and Kadyn!)