Monday, May 12, 2008

Summer Changes

This is another of my writing assignments for my program. It was inspired by John's weight loss journey between his junior and senior years in high school. He lost more than what is represented in the story and took a little longer than a summer, but he lost an incredible amount of weight between those two years - and I thought it would make a good story - so I took a lot of artistic licence with the rest of the story. It was written for kids between age 9 and 12.

Braden stood there at his gym locker trying to get on his XL gym shorts, praying that the final week of 6th grade would end quickly and without much pain. His shorts didn’t fit anymore, but there weren’t any bigger sizes to purchase and it’s the last week of school anyway. While he was huffing and working to pull the shorts up, the boy 3 lockers down from him began making comments. “Hey fatty, those shorts are going to split if you bend over,” Mike said.

“Thank you, Mike for your brilliant observation.” Braden replied, wishing that Mike would trip in front of a large group of girls. Braden knew that Hope was in his gym class, but desperately wished that she wouldn’t be there that day. This was the day that they had to take their final exam, and run for 18 minutes around the gym. Braden was terrified that he was going to make a fool of himself in front of Hope – but he had no choice if he was going to pass 6th grade.

After the coaches took attendance for the class, they began to stretch in order to prepare for the run. Hope was on the other side of the gym with her friends, and didn’t seem to notice Braden at all. The run began, and of course Braden could only concentrate on breathing and keeping himself moving… but at the same time his shorts were riding up, and he had to keep pulling at them to try to keep them in place.

Braden somehow did manage to run the entire 18 minutes, and was thrilled that he didn’t have to change anymore for that year. As he was changing out of those pesky shorts for the last time, Braden decided that by next fall – he’d be able to buy a smaller size shorts, and never have to worry about completing his final exam again.

He managed to work his way through the week without anymore major embarrassments. Mom always made a special dinner to celebrate the completion of another school year, and this year wasn’t any different. As the family sat down to dinner, they saw the table completely filled with salad, spaghetti & meatballs, garlic bread. “Eat up everyone, there are brownie sundaes for dessert,” Mom said with a mischievous smile.
Braden was the middle child, so he waited for his older sister, Misty, to tell the family about her plans for the summer. Misty could drive, so Braden listened to all her plans for summer road trips with her friends. When the conversation rounded to his summer plans, he decided to lay everything on the line this year and make some serious changes.

“I want to lose 50 pounds this summer, and go back to school in the fall without having to listen to all the jerks tease me about being fat.” Braden declared.

“Braden, you’re a very handsome young man, and in time your weight will balance out with your height.” Mom said lovingly trying to console him.

“Yeah, fatso someday you’ll grow into your weight… or we’ll have to get a bigger house.” Misty taunted.

“At least I don’t have a pizza face” Braden responded wanting to hurt her feelings as much as she did his.

“That’s enough – you two. We need to support each other.” Mom scolded them.

“This is what I want to do. Mom, no more dinners like this,” he pleaded with her for help, “please make healthy dinners for me from now on and keep some healthy snacks around for me too.”

Ok, honey – maybe we can get a family membership to a gym too. Then we can all work out in the evenings.” Mom said.

“Thanks, Mom! That will really help!” Braden said feeling better about having brought up the subject. As they finished their meal, Braden shot Misty a dirty look at helped clear the table.

The next morning, he got up and carefully measured one serving of Cheerios and 1% milk. This isn’t so bad he thought, and happily ate his breakfast. He decided to go for a swim to try to get in a little workout during the day – so he went out in the backyard and swam laps for an hour or so.

For lunch, he had a sandwich with some celery & carrot sticks. During the afternoon, he played video games to try to keep his mind off of food. It worked fairly well, and when Mom got home she made them grilled chicken, salad, green beans, and jello for dessert. Finally, the family piled into the car, and went to the gym.

During the first session, everyone got to work out with a trainer to get acquainted with the gym, and learn about the machines. The trainer suggested that he use the treadmill or stationary bike for 30 minutes a day. Braden brought his IPod, and was thankful that he had it when he needed to entertain himself on the treadmill.

He felt good about himself at the end of the first day, and was excited about the changes that he was making for himself. At the end of the first week, Braden weighed himself and had lost 3 pounds! He was very excited about his progress, and was dedicated to sticking with his program.
At the end of the third week, his focus was becoming harder to maintain. He missed all the sweets, and his favorite meals that Mom would normally cook. Braden would try everything he could to keep his mind off of food – ride his bike, swim, go to a friend’s house, play video games… but his mind kept playing tricks on him. He even found himself dreaming of bakeries, and pizza parlors! How in the world was he going to keep up with his weight loss? He was worried.

Mom made a big deal about the end of the first month, she made a banner to put up congratulating Braden on his determination. She also bought him a new video game because he had managed to lose 20 pounds during that month! Braden was proud of his weight loss too, but he desperately wanted a treat too.

He continued on with the program. One afternoon though, he was over at a friend’s house trying to keep his mind off of things… when his friend offered him some cookies. Braden knew that he shouldn’t take them, but before he knew it… he said, “Yeah man, lets have a few.” The cookies tasted great to him, but they soon were gone. At the end of the feast, Braden felt disgusted.
Braden was really was down with himself about eating the cookies – so he went for a bike ride. He mainly went to clear his head, but it was also exercise so it worked out in both ways. He decided to forgive himself for his small relapse, and get right back to business with his program.

The second month he lost another 20 pounds, and Mom had to take him shopping for some new clothes. He felt great being able to try on smaller sizes than ever before. The new clothes motivated him to keep going for the last month of the summer. He only had 10 more pounds to lose before he reached his goal.

The new school year was approaching quickly, and Braden decided not to weigh himself again until he absolutely had to. His Mom took him shopping again for school clothes and he noticed that he could even get into smaller sizes than the month before. He couldn’t wait to see what everyone at school would think about the new Braden.

Braden weighed in the night before school started, and realized to his surprise that he lost another 15 pounds that month! He had actually lost 55 pounds! He would never admit it to anyone, but he had actually cried a little over his achievement.

During the first day of school, Braden felt like no one noticed him… he felt very sad that no one commented about how good he looked or anything. While he was in the restroom, he overheard some of the guys asking each other where he was… and he realized – NO ONE RECOGNIZED HIM!! He walked out to the sink, and said something to the boys that were talking, “Hey guys, how was your summer?”

“Braden?” the said in unison.

“Yeah, it’s me…” he said with a smile.

“Wow!! You look completely different” they said.

Word spread around school very quickly about what Braden accomplished over the summer. He actually bought a medium gym suit that day, and was even looking forward to getting to wear it during class.

The last class of the day was math, and by some strange coincidence Braden was seated next to Hope. She obviously had heard about the weight loss, and immediately began talking to him, “You look really good, Braden.”

“Thank you,” he said blushing.

“I was thinking about going to see the new movie coming out on Friday, do you think you might like to come with me?” Hope asked him.

Braden’s heart fluttered at the invitation. “Sure, I can ask my Mom to drive us there.” Braden offered, knowing that this year was going to be very different from 6th grade.

1 comment:

  1. great job Kim!!! I always hated being a fat kid and you did a good job of describing what it was like. I also like the part about the they're some sort of drug or something, and the truth is, food really can be as bad as a drug!



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