Healthy You for Life Graduate

Ann Hawthorne used to love eating ice cream.

Not just once in a while, every day. Twice a day on the weekends.

Looking back, she realizes this: “I was addicted to it.”

She broke that habit, thanks to the Healthy You for Life program at Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters.

Ann is 17 years old and lives in Boykins. About a year ago, she decided she needed to make a change in her life. She wasn’t happy with how she looked. She was tired of being tired.

“I was insecure about the way I looked. I am a teenage girl, so I struggle with that.”

Her mother learned of the Healthy You for Life program and asked Ann if she’d like to sign up.

“I was afraid I was going to disappoint the doctors and my mom,” she said.

She also lived an hour away and wouldn’t be able to go to all the recommended sessions.

But she signed up, and agreed to give it her best shot.

At her first session, Healthy You nurse practitioner Elizabeth Kerr took her measurements and interviewed her about her eating and exercise habits. She met with registered dietitian Bryony Kean and exercise physiologist Kerri Somers. She learned how to make a substitute for her beloved ice cream: Frozen bananas blended with a dab of peanut butter.

“I came home, and I changed the way I did everything.”

She eliminated or reduced a couple of food items: Ice cream. Pizza. Fast food. Sweet tea.

She drank more water. She read food labels at the grocery store for the first time. She moved more.

She began making a 2-mile walk to her church, then spent an hour going up and down the stairs. She took a Pilates class twice a week. She went swimming more often. She did sit-ups and pushups.

“It felt good to sweat. It was like I was replacing ice cream with exercise and sweat.”

She wasn’t able to go to as many sessions as people in the course who lived nearby. But her CHKD exercise physiologist would call her in between sessions to check in and encourage her.

In six months, she lost 25 pounds.

She finished the Healthy You program, and she’s maintained the habits she learned and unlearned: Healthy food instead of ice cream and sweet tea. Moving more, not less. Reading the food labels.

“I just feel like I am more energetic, I’m not as tired. I don’t want to lie around and do nothing.”

She has ice cream occasionally, but the interesting thing is she doesn’t like the taste of it as much.

“It’s been a worry of mine I would go back to the way I was. But now I know what’s good for me and what isn’t. I pay attention to calorie counts, how much water I drink. How much I’m moving around. I’m more aware. I have more of a passion for exercise.”