As you know, I’m often sent emails asking me if I want to review books to share on my blog. Most of the time I just hit ‘delete’ and move on…but, every once in a while, a book title intrigues me. From the moment I saw the book Who’s The New Kid?, by Heidi Bond, I was hooked and couldn’t wait to get my copy. The book is about the journey of how a regular mom (Heidi) helped her obese 9 year old daughter (Breanna) lose 86 pounds in just 8 months. The journey that Heidi and Breanna took together was so captivating that I had a hard time putting the book down. In fact, I finished it less than 24 hours after starting!
As soon as I picked up this book, I instantly became invested in this little girl’s journey, as well as finding out what she and her mom did to help her lose so much weight. I even found myself brought to tears a couple of times! Crazy, I know…but I could see myself as Breanna’s mom and I can see how it would be such a tough battle to fight. I appreciated that Heidi was so honest in her own shortcomings and didn’t make excuses for herself. She freely admits that she allowed her daughter to eat too much junk food, and in excessive amounts, on a daily basis. She allowed her to quit sports and, instead, just watch TV. Heidi and her husband tried multiple times to “fix things,” but they were only putting bandaids over the problems (like putting a lock on the pantry door, but still allowing chips and cookies in the house for Heidi and everyone else to eat). Once they figured out that they needed to commit to this lifestyle as a family, only then did changes happen…but it still wasn’t easy. And it took major dedication from all involved. Until Heidi fully realized how much her daughter was being bullied, as well as seeing “the light go out of her eyes,” she finally figured out that the time to make changes was NOW. Before it was too late.
In this book, Heidi shares her struggles and keeps her account of their journey completely honest. There were no gimmicks, fad diets, medications or surgery…just good old fashioned exercise (starting with long walks) and learning how to read labels and eat real, wholesome foods. Heidi didn’t figure it out all at once (like buying ‘fat free’ and “frozen diet meals” at first) , but she kept learning and making improvements to their plan as they went along. She didn’t give up or let her daughter quit when she was too tired. Her perseverance and tough love paid off. Now she’s written this book to share her journey with other parents who are struggling with the same issues.
Who’s The New Kid? includes a 40 day meal and exercise plan that is geared towards kids, as well as recipes and general meal planning and exercising guidelines. For someone that doesn’t know where to start in the journey of eliminating childhood obesity in their own home, this is a great resource. And not only can these tips be useful for kids, but they’re also beneficial for the whole family. Even though Breanna’s weight loss is the main goal (and story of this book), we find out that her younger brother was overweight, as well. He also benefited from the lifestyle changes that were implemented in their home.
I know childhood obesity is a very touchy subject. No one wants to come right out and tell someone that their child needs to lose weight. They probably are already aware and will become defensive, however, if you think you know someone that is ready for a change, I hope you will share it with them. This mother had such a hard time finding resources for weight loss geared specifically towards kids. Most of what she could find online regarding weight loss was written for adults. Even Breanna’s pediatrician kept telling Heidi over and over that she’ll grow into her body. Really?? I think we know by now that overweight children usually turn into overweight adults. He was an older doctor, but he even went as far as to say that if she lost more than 15 lbs in one year it would stunt her growth. When she FINALLY found a new doctor, she realized her old pediatrician had been steering her wrong for years with outdated medical advice. In fact, the opposite was true: being obese as a child can actually stunt one’s overall growth!
And we know the issue is bigger than simply what a child eats at home or school:
“The problem wasn’t limited to school, though–there was also the hairdresser who gave out candy for being good, the bank teller who gave kids butterscotch candies….Is it really any wonder that we’re experiencing the largest obesity epidemic this country has ever seen? There is something very wrong when we’re teaching our kids that junk food, which poisons their bodies, is a reward. “Rewards” are not supposed to give you diabetes and heart disease and sleep apnea. And these treats were undermining my efforts to cut down on my kids’ junk food habits. People didn’t ask if they could give my kids candy, they just did it. And if I tried to take it away, I was the bad guy.”
How true is that?? As a parent today, I have these same thoughts. If my child is having a cupcake for every kid’s birthday in school, goes to a party on the weekend, is given a Gatorade after a short basketball game, and then goes out to McDonald’s with their grandparents…these things all add up! And then my husband and I are the “bad guys” because we don’t feel like they need any more treats and we have to say ‘no’ to getting ice cream as a family on the weekend. It’s frustrating on many levels.
This book is well worth the read, even if you don’t have an overweight child. You can purchase a copy of the book here:
The bonus about this book is that it includes a 40 day meal and exercise plan. It’s made up of real food suggestions that real kids (and their families) will enjoy!
Remember how I said I cried a couple of times? Well, the part that got to my emotions the most was when I read that Breanna eventually joined her school’s cross country team. As a cross country runner myself, it was so cool to read that this girl, who could barely go for a walk when she started her journey, was now going out and running miles upon miles for FUN! How incredibly awesome is that?!?
Childhood obesity is a problem I see way too often…but it’s not something people are comfortable discussing. It saddens me because I know it’s not the child’s fault, but they are the ones that suffer the most: being made fun of, having low-self esteem, not having the energy to run around on the playground…not to mention the possibilities for disease and a shorter life span in the future. I hope parents who are looking for answers are able to get their hands on this book. They will see they are not alone and they will be given the resources to take action. It wasn’t easy for Heidi and Breanna, but it was definitely worth it. In less than a year, she transformed from a morbidly obese child who spent her days in front of the TV eating junk food to a healthy and energetic girl.
I’ll end this review with one final quote from the book:
“That’s the one thing I’ve learned along the way: you just start. You dig in and start somewhere, and then as you learn more, you revise your plan and fix your mistakes–but you start. Don’t wait until you have the perfect plan; just take a step toward doing better than before. That’s how real change is made.”
Love that. Anyone can use that advice!
And guess what?? You have a chance to win a Fitbit! You can enter here: