The Life Balance Approach and Me:

**My son Brandon wrote this blog as a birthday gift to me. He continues to be one of my biggest fans and a supporter of me as a health coach and a mom. Thank you Brandon for believing in me as I have believed in you and will continue to do so each and every day. I love you to the moon, the stars the universe!

As a middle school boy, despite what you may think, living a balanced and healthy life was not my most pressing concern. I was concerned with recess football, practical jokes, and the opportunity to ichat girls after school. Everything changed, however, when I went to the doctor to get my yearly checkup: I was obese according to my BMI, my cholesterol was too high, and the doctor suggested that I change my diet.

As a young kid, having a doctor tell you that you cannot eat all the junk food I loved felt like someone was taking away a big piece of my life. I loved food! My family always laughed about the endless plates of food that I would fill up at dinner, and they even called an overly big bite of food a “Brandon Bite.”

The night after I went to the doctor, I hopped in a car to go to Buffalo Wild Wings with friends before a movie. I had just found out that I couldn’t eat unhealthy food, and I needed to somehow circumvent the junk that would be thrown in my face at both the restaurant and the movies. After a night of avoiding wings and popcorn, I went home, saw my mom, and I immediately started tearing up. I didn’t understand why I had to be different, and I didn’t understand why I now had to worry about everything I ate.

What my mom would go on to explain to me would change my thinking and continues to affect how I act today; she said that everyone should be able to go to the movies and eat a bowl of popcorn, if that isn’t their routine every day. What my mom said that day underlines the mantra of the Be Healthy Be Happy Be Well blog, balance is the key to success. My mom and I began to develop a plan that allowed for me to eat healthier and be more active while still being a normal kid.

Before discussing how I should eat or proceed, my mom and I discussed basic nutrition, weight, and health. We discussed which types of foods were important to stay away from if I wanted to lose some weight and reduce my high cholesterol, and we talked about why it was important for me to do so. Balance quickly became the main topic of discussion as I learned to eat nutritiously on a regular basis without giving up all the food that I loved. I found that I should eat normally in social situations and at school, but I should control my meals and my snacking while at home. Although changing my habits was difficult and did not happen overnight, the balance and newfound control in my life became an integral part of my happiness.

My mom taught me that healthy, happy living is not about giving up everything unhealthy, but rather it is the process of learning to balance the healthy with the unhealthy. I never cut out Pizza. I never cut out Pasta. I never cut out ice cream, and I never cut out chicken parmesan, but my cholesterol returned to normal levels, my weight fell below the BMI obesity, and the doctor no longer suggested I change my diet. I balanced the good with the bad, and I began to equate my good eating decisions with happy and healthy life decisions.

On the heels of Thanksgiving dinner, I have no regrets about the 2 pounds of stuffing, liter of gravy, or full pie that I shoveled down my mouth because I love Thanksgiving, and I look forward to stuffing my face on turkey day every year. For the next couple days, however, I might think about heading to the gym or eating a couple of healthy meals.

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