Image Source: Sara Lindberg

I Went to the White House a Different Person Than When I Left

Just after dusk is the best time to take in each moment, I think, as I look out across DC from my hotel window. The lights seem to illuminate every beautiful part of the architecture in this historical city, and I can’t help but wonder if this is what Carrie Bradshaw felt like; as her drapes swayed in the New York City wind and she tapped away on her laptop late into the night.

And as I sit here writing myself — technically amongst the major political players of our country — I can’t help but wonder why, in a city with so much possibility, we’re making everything seem so impossible to accomplish?

When I was contacted last week about the opportunity to travel to DC and participate in an event with First Lady Michelle Obama and her staff from the Let’s Move! campaign, my first thought was, why me? The “why” quickly turned to fear as I began to doubt my ability for success. 

Fear is a funny thing; it has the ability to paralyze us or the power to move us forward. I have spent the majority of my life believing that I was living in fear of failure – choosing to play it safe, when in reality, I have been living my life fearing success.

And so, for the first time in my life, I didn’t play it safe; I decided to capture my chance and be a part of something that impacts every single one of us — I accepted the invite, and flew to DC.

When First Lady Michelle Obama started the Let’s Move! initiative, she did not choose comfort; she chose courage. She believed in success; she did not fear it.
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As I sat listening to the First Lady speak about her passions and life work yesterday, the words of Brene Brown kept streaming through my mind: “You can choose courage or you can choose comfort, but you cannot choose both.”

When First Lady Michelle Obama started the Let’s Move! initiative, she did not choose comfort; she chose courage. She believed in success; she did not fear it.

According to the campaign’s official website:

Let’s Move! is a comprehensive initiative, launched by the First Lady, dedicated to solving the challenge of childhood obesity within a generation, so that children born today will grow up healthier and able to pursue their dreams. Combining comprehensive strategies with common sense, Let’s Move! is about putting children on the path to a healthy future during their earliest months and years. Giving parents helpful information and fostering environments that support healthy choices. Providing healthier foods in our schools. Ensuring that every family has access to healthy, affordable food. And, helping kids become more physically active.

Let’s Move! also reports that over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled; and today, nearly one in three children in America are overweight or obese. However, the pounds on the scale may be the least of our concerns when you factor in that many of these kids will also suffer from diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and asthma at some point in their life.

We all know that childhood obesity is a problem, yet we are cutting PE programs, drastically reducing recess, and in some schools, eliminating it all together. This is a community problem. Regardless of what people might feel, our children’s health impacts all of us. We have wasted far too much time pointing fingers and placing blame on the parents and fast food restaurants for allowing our kids to live a lifestyle that has deteriorated their health. It is time that we stop blaming and start working together to inspire change. And we must follow the lead of our First Lady.

It’s now more clear to me than ever before: We all have a role to play in finding solutions for our kids.
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As a school counselor by day, fitness advocate by night, I’ve seen the affects of the status-quo firsthand. While I walked the halls of the White House yesterday and sat listening to the First Lady speak about the need for a health revolution, I was reminded of a time five years ago when one of my favorite students came to see me.

Like many of her visits, I thought she was there to talk about her class schedule or life after high school. But instead, I found myself sitting across from this incredibly amazing girl while she fell apart and shared with me that she felt she just couldn’t go on. For the first time in her life, this young, kind-hearted, and beautiful girl finally found the right words to talk about her weight and her health, as well as what it’s truly like being morbidly obese. I was heartbroken that this young woman with so much to look forward to felt so defeated and dejected that she considered taking her own life.

It’s now more clear to me than ever before: We all have a role to play in finding solutions for our kids.

We can’t fear failure when we are talking about the health of our future generations. This movement takes courage and our ability to work together to find solutions for these life-altering choices our kids are making. Because the more attention and focus we can give to working on lifestyle changes, the more positive differences we can hope to see.

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Article Posted 4 years Ago

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