Healthy You for Life Graduate Drops Pounds and Gains Energy

Nine-year-old Nyla Duck didn’t really think much about what she ate on a daily basis until last November.

Up until then, the Norfolk girl ate a fair amount of candy, cake, and pizza, just like a lot of kids.

But when she had a back-to-school physical, her pediatrician found her blood pressure, glucose, and cholesterol levels were elevated, and her body mass index was higher than it should be.

The doctor suggested the Healthy You for Life program. Nyla decided she’d like to try it, and started in November of 2018.

She learned some new types of exercise from exercise specialist Kerri Somers. “I learned what a plank is, it’s like a pushup. I also learned about half curl-ups,” Nyla said.

Nurse practitioner Elizabeth Kerr and social worker Trisha Belford-Cohen also helped her, along with dietitian Bryony Kean, who taught her better eating habits.

“I learned I need to eat better portions, that I can’t have as much. I can have as many vegetables as I want. But things like candy, cake, pizza, I can only have once in a while.” Instead, she’s eating more carrots, nuts, raisins, and applesauce.

She’s also tried to work more exercise into her daily routine. At recess, she tries to run, play tag, and do other active things, rather than sit and talk.

She’s found she can run harder and faster than she used to, and keep up with her friends.

Her mother, Jolene Hassell, said Nyla has more energy now: “She moves around more. She doesn’t drag along. She’s got some hustle to her. Before she’d be huffing and puffing, and I’d say, ‘You’re 7 years old, how can you be tired?’”

Nyla lost 16 pounds in less than six months, and has noticed the difference in her energy level, too.

“I feel great. I feel lighter. I feel better.”