Everybody knows about Chicago's astronomical crime rates, but have you ever stopped to consider if you are responsible for crime in Chicago? Gang crimes and miscreant youth wreak havoc on our city making our Magnificent Mile less than majestic. This gains national media attention and Rahm immediately puts plans in action to keep violent kids from our safe, money-making zones. As he should. But there is a silent killer running rampant on our streets that it seems we all just sit by idly watching it devastate families of all colors, ages, and races. And, it affects teens in Chicago in greater proportion than other part of our state. What is that you say? It's the issue affecting over 30% of the US, and now a third of this planet! It is OBESITY.
According to the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children, Chicago teens are overweight and obese at higher rates than Illinois teens. As a former PE teacher and middle school dean of students, I can't help but see the natural and obvious correlation that if kids are overweight, i.e., not eating the right nutrients and foods, then they are obviously not thinking right, which would explain their tendency to be violent, or insolent, or sedentary (code word: lazy), or just plain out of whack. And who wouldn't be? I mean, here I am as a fitness instructor and health spokesperson, with my adult mind full of rational thought, knowing that when I don't eat right and get enough sleep, I am just not a nice person. Ask my husband and my children. Better yet, ask your spouse and your children and they will say the same thing about you. We know this!
And yet, we seem very slow in actually doing something about this problem, which has now become a global epidemic.
This is why I thank God for our FLOTUS who has made the idea to get up and move SEXY. Say what you want about our First Lady, but one thing Michelle Obama does flawlessly is make being healthy look good, desirable, attainable, and realistic. I mean, for heaven's sake, she has now simplified her "Let's Move" initiative from exercising for so many minutes a day to encouraging people to drink some doggoned water. You may not be able to afford to shop at the new Whole Foods on 63rd Street, but anybody can go and turn on their faucet and get some tap water and drink it instead of pop and other sugary drinks.
I love it!
But, we have to do more than just watch her on TV and support the First Lady's initiative. We have to be the ones to actually "MOVE" as her health initiative encourages us to do. This is why I am a proud promoter of the Body by Vi 90 Day Challenge created by ViSalus, which stands for life, health, and prosperity. I have had a personal transformation myself from this Challenge by having my Crohn's in remission, my blood pressure acquiesced, and improved my overall health and fitness levels. Plus, I've watched my husband go from being damn near 300lbs to now down to 24oish, with the last 40lbs to go. I love The Challenge because it's simple, effective, and affordable.
In addition to that, my latest reason for loving The Challenge and sharing it with everyone is that ViSalus is taking childhood obesity head on with their new incentive where anyone who loses 10lbs receives an "I Lost It" T-shirt, with the back reading, "And a kid won!" Not only do you have the chance to win $1,000 for losing 10lbs or building 10 pounds of muscle, which I am proud to say I am a Project 1o winner, but most importantly, ViSalus is giving away 30 meals to a child in need as a way to combat childhood obesity!
I love it!
It's one thing to study health and fitness. It's another thing to write and teach about health and fitness. It's an ever greater feeling to do something about childhood obesity in the City of Chicago.
I am not a part of the Guardian Angels or Cease Fire. I don't go door to door giving pamphlets to people to see if they are ready for Jehovah's return. And I don't have a megaphone yelling to others downtown about what other people need to do. I am working to lower the crime rates in Chicago by first practicing what I preach, which is to do the good I know I ought to be doing by eating healthy myself, and then teaching my four daughters at home how to eat healthy.
If you don't like the crime rate in Chicago, do something about it! Gandhi taught us to be the change you want to see in the world. Can you stop the obesity war in Chicago by lowering your fork?
The school system says the parents are failing their children by not being active in their kids' education. Are you active in their healthy choices, or are you flying through the drive-thru before and/or after school?
Parents think the school system is failing them because for those who are actually trying to teach kids to make healthy choices, most school parties are centered around rewarding kids with pizza and pop! I experienced this firsthand at a school that alleged to teach kids to live "A Disciplined Life" in which one of its major tenets is that kids should "Live a Healthy Lifestyle" but then let the kids who received ADL rewards have a pizza party with Flamin' Hot chips and pop and then acted like I was the crazy one for saying that should not be! I won't even get into how recess and PE is being cut from school.
That's why I love the First Lady's campaign because it's called "Let's Move!" Not you move. Or they move. "Let Us Move Together!" That's the only way this thing'll get better. Otherwise, we are just as guilty for the crime in our community, the disrespectful youth in our schools, and the craziness of the violence downtown. There is no way you can expect kids to make rational choices when their bodies are loaded with crap. Their outward behavior is nothing but a display of the inner turmoil of what is going on in their bodies and minds.
I am taking The Challenge. I am living The Challenge. And I am willing to change and move.
ABOUT ME: I'm a wife and mom of six daughters who knows how it feels to be unhappy with the skin you're in. I have worked with some of the brightest middle school and college students in Chicago, and dealt with some of the most challenging youth in the school system. As a fluke, I began teaching fitness classes over ten years ago for an instructor who no-showed at the last minute, which took my entire life and career in an entirely different direction as health and fitness quickly became my passion. Because you can't outrun a bad diet, I decided to take the Body by Vi 90-Day Challenge over a year ago, and have been giving myself new, different, and exciting exercise and fitness goals since. I now share The Challenge with everyone, and I CHALLENGE you to take the CHALLENGE with me and my family!
DON'T FORGET! Subscribe to In FITNESS and In Health so you can receive my latest blogs right to your email. It's free and there's no spam. Click the tab at the top of the page.