In the final part of our series on children and obesity we check back in with 12-year-old Alaina Lopez.
The sixth grader has helped guide us along her personal path of not only losing weight but more importantly learning and adopting a healthy lifestyle. It is a path she plans to continue long after leaving her coaches at the Weight Management Clinic inside East Tennessee Children's Hospital.
"It's never been about losing weight. It's about making healthy choices that she maintains as she gets older," said Alaina's mom Carrie.
And over the last five weeks we saw Alaina make those healthy choices. She measures her cereal in the morning. She packs limited snacks for swim practice. Yogurt and granola bars now take the place of high calorie "snack shack" foods like candy bars and hot dogs. And one other simple change in behavior can help anyone trying to cut down on eating too much at meal time. In between each bite, Alaina puts her fork down and pauses. She says that subtle habit has helped almost as much as anything else.
"When you eat some and put your fork down it kind of gets your food to settle so you're not eating this big plate of food when you can eat a small plate of food," said Alaina.
Alaina is a swimmer and now has her sights set on a slot in the Olympics. It is an ambitious goal but after working with her life coaches at Children's Hospital Alaina now has the confidence to reach for her dream.