Who's the New Kid?: How an Ordinary Mom Helped Her Daughter Overcome Childhood Obesity -- and You Can Too!by Heidi Bond, Jenna Glatzer
At nine years old, Breanna Bond weighed a whopping 186 pounds. Just walking up the stairs to her room was a challenge. Her legs chafed to the point of bleeding from rubbing against each other, and her school days were filled with taunts of “Hey, Fatty!” Breanna’s mom, Heidi, was devastated and wondered, How can I get my daughter healthy again?<
At nine years old, Breanna Bond weighed a whopping 186 pounds. Just walking up the stairs to her room was a challenge. Her legs chafed to the point of bleeding from rubbing against each other, and her school days were filled with taunts of “Hey, Fatty!” Breanna’s mom, Heidi, was devastated and wondered, How can I get my daughter healthy again?
Who’s the New Kid? shows readers how Heidi helped her daughter lose weight without the aid of fad diets, medication, or surgery and how other parents can do the same with their kids.
In just over a year, Heidi’s plan worked! Breanna dropped 40 percent of her body weight and was transformed from a morbidly obese child who spent her days in front of the TV eating chips and chocolate to a vibrant, healthy, energetic little girl.
Filled with helpful diagnostic tools, easy-to-make recipes, eye-opening nutritional information, fun exercise ideas, and practical tips and advice, Who’s the New Kid? will not only show parents how to help their kids lose weight naturally but also introduce them to simple, yet effective lifestyle changes that will benefit the entire family. Tyndale House Publishers
- Tyndale House Publishers
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Who's The New Kid?
How An Ordinary Mom Helped Her Daughter Overcome Childhood Obesityâ"And You Can Too!
By Heidi Bond, Jenna Glatzer, Stephanie Rische
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2015 Heidi Bond
All rights reserved.
SHE'LL GROW INTO IT
"Mommy! He called me fat!"
My little girl, just on the cusp of three years old, came running over to me at the park with tears streaming down her face.
"Who?" I asked. "Show me who!"
I was filled with mama-bear rage. How dare someone call my daughter names? I took her by the hand, and we walked around until she pointed out the culprit. He was about five years old and didn't look like a monster, yet I was amazed at how much anger I could summon against a child. Hadn't his parents taught him not to call other kids names? For goodness' sake, she hadn't even had her third birthday yet! He was picking on a girl who was practically a baby.
I wish I could tell you that I walked right over and had a calm but stern conversation about empathy with the boy and his mother, but the truth is that I don't remember anything after the rage. I just remember wanting to scoop up my little girl and protect her from all the hurts in the world. It was a beautiful day, and we'd been having such a good mother-daughter time at the park. But after that, all I wanted to do was to get her home and make it all better.
"Listen to me," I told Breanna in the car on the way home. "Just because someone says something doesn't make it true. You are beautiful. You're perfect just the way God made you. He doesn't make mistakes."
I said it ... but even in that moment, I knew her body wasn't "perfect." I knew that my little girl was overweight—and no longer in just a cute "baby fat" way. I'd never imagined something like this would happen to her at such a young age, but something told me that this wouldn't be the last time she'd be called names.
Later that night, I lay in bed reflecting on the day. "Please, God, help us," I called out. "Don't let my sweet daughter be hurt like that ever again. Don't let the cruelty from other people's hearts and words leave any scars."
* * *
Breanna was born in April 2002 at twenty inches long and weighing seven pounds, four ounces. She had big, green-blue eyes, reddish-brown hair, and the softest skin imaginable. She was healthy and happy and beautiful, just as we'd prayed she would be.
I've heard it said that once you have a child, your heart forever walks around in someone else's body. I knew this to be true from the moment I first held my newborn daughter. I was mesmerized by this person who had just taken her first breaths, and I was surprised to find that motherhood awakened in me both a fierce protectiveness and a consuming love. I knew that I'd move heaven and earth for this little girl.
Things went well for the first year of Breanna's life—she was an easy baby, and we were happy parents. The doctor told me that breastfeeding was best, so that's what I did. She loved feeding times and would get such a contented look on her face after she ate.
"She looks milk-drunk," my husband, Dan, said after she finished.
The way she fed was interesting to us—not leisurely with stops and starts like most babies, but ravenously and quickly. She would drink and drink for ten or fifteen minutes, and then she'd throw her arms back and fall into a deep sleep, as if to say, "Ah, that was just what I needed."
I breastfed her exclusively for about a year before moving her on to solids. I fed her rice cereal and jars of baby food—but only fruits. I bought a couple of jars of vegetables, took one sniff, and thought, Blech! I figured a baby surely wouldn't want to eat something that smelled that horrible, so I didn't make her eat any vegetables. I wish I'd realized then how easy it is to blend or mash up real fruits and vegetables for a baby rather than relying on the prepackaged, processed stuff on store shelves.
It wasn't long before Breanna started eating the foods Dan and I ate. She joined us for meals that often included fried chicken, mashed potatoes with lots of butter, cheeseburgers and fries, cheesy enchiladas, white pastas with rich sauces, Stroganoff, chips, corn dogs, and ice cream, with rare fruits and hardly a vegetable in sight—my own brand of down-home cooking. The litmus test for every meal I made boiled down to one question: Did it taste good? I didn't have any concept of how much salt or fat was in any given meal, nor did I make an effort to include whole grains or fresh produce. I was like a supercharged Paula Deen—if a little butter was good, more was even better!
Our cupboards were stocked with potato chips, Cheetos, and Doritos. I loved fast food (Dan once said he never thought he'd eat McDonald's as an adult until he met me!). I cooked food in butter and Crisco, and I used mayonnaise on my food the way other people use ketchup. Ever since I was a child, I had put mayonnaise on everything. When we went to friends' homes for dinner, I would ask my father to bring along a little jar of mayonnaise so I could add it to whatever food might be served. As adults, Dan and I loved having friends over and laying out a big spread of fattening foods.
That was how we ate. It was how we'd always eaten, and we were fine.
Breanna had a tremendous appetite, which I thought was a blessing at first. She was not one of those picky eaters who had to be coaxed into taking every bite. My girl loved everything I made and just wanted more, more, more. It was fun to feed her new foods and watch her light up with pleasure when she tried different tastes and textures for the first time.
As for me, I loved cooking for my family. I had an endless supply of delicious recipes to make and serve. I had no idea if they were nutritious; that notion didn't even register with me. Family dinners were big affairs with plenty of meats and side dishes—and dessert. Of course, dessert. Dan's mom's delicacies were particular favorites. She's a world-class baker, and she always made cakes, breads, and pastries for the family. To me, those cheesecake bars, toffee, fresh apple pies, and Rocky Road cookies—recipes that had been handed down from generation to generation—were a form of love.
I, too, wanted to show my love to my husband and daughter by making them food.
The problem was that both of them had weight struggles. Dan and his brother were opposite body types: they could eat exactly the same thing, and Dan would gain weight while his brother would stay thin. Too thin, even. My husband, on the other hand, struggled to keep at a healthy weight for his six-foot-three frame.
Before I met Dan, I didn't know about the complications of yo-yo dieting. He'd managed to lose the extra weight a few times, but then he'd put it back on. As a result, he needed to have his gallbladder removed. I learned that this isn't uncommon—when people are overweight and lose weight too quickly (more than three pounds per week), they're at an increased risk for gallstones—solid crystals of digestive fluid in the gallbladder that can be as small as a grain of sand or up to the size of a golf ball. Most gallstones are asymptomatic, but sometimes they cause terrible pain, nausea, vomiting, and infection, which is when surgeons have to step in.
Dan had other physical side effects due to weight problems, but the emotional scars were worse. As a kid, he had endured a lot of bullying because of his size, and to this day, those are still some of his most vivid memories. That's exactly what I feared for Breanna.
She obviously inherited his metabolism, I thought.
She was morphing from a baby everyone described as "the cutest baby I've ever seen" to a toddler who elicited reactions like, "Wow, she sure is a big girl."
I knew it was true. I knew it, but I didn't know what to do about it. When we'd gone for her two-year-old checkup with the pediatrician, I went in with my tail between my legs, waiting for a lecture about what I was doing wrong. The doctor and I went over her milestones—she was hitting all of them right on schedule—and then talked about her overall health.
"I know she's overweight," I said.
"She's fine," the doctor said. "Look here." He showed me a growth chart that displayed the average trajectory of a child's height and weight. "She's over the 100th percentile for weight, but she's also over the 100th percentile for height. You don't need to worry. She looks heavy now, but she'll grow into it."
Well, that was reassuring. I was not altogether sure that the fat rolls I was seeing bunching up in unexpected places were okay, but this man was a well-regarded pediatrician, and he'd been dealing with children for a long time. I figured he would tell me if there was something that needed to change, so I just forged ahead as I'd been doing. I continued to feed Breanna everything Dan and I ate, and I gave her lollipops and sugary snacks whenever we were out together. After all, she was a kid, and that's what kids like.
For a brief time, I enrolled Breanna in a dance class. She seemed to enjoy it, and I got a kick out of watching her point her toes and twirl around with a class full of adorable girls. It didn't escape me, though, that Breanna seemed much heavier than the rest of the class.
She'll grow into it, I reminded myself. The doctor said so.
But almost a year later, she wasn't growing into it. If anything, the problem was getting worse. And then I got pregnant again. If there was a tipping point, that was it.
* * *
At three years old, Breanna could have kept up with dance class and started eating healthier and maybe slimmed down. But what happened instead was that I got miserably sick right from the beginning of my pregnancy, and Breanna was just about on her own.
I was so ill that I pretty much spent the first five months of my pregnancy shuffling from the bed to the bathroom. I was not only physically sick but also an emotional wreck. Up until that point, I had loved being a stay-at-home mom and spending time with Breanna. But now I was just about absent from her life.
I'd been just as sick when I was pregnant with Breanna, but I didn't have a child to take care of then. Now I managed to pull myself together enough to get her dressed, make her meals, and give her a bath, but that was about it. I'd microwave something for her and sit her in front of the television in my room, and then I'd go back to bed. That way she was safe and close to me, even if I couldn't be actively involved with her.
Those months were a blur for me. I knew what time it was based on the television theme songs that played in the background: if I heard Dora the Explorer, it must be two o'clock. If I heard, "Whose clues? Blue's clues!" then it must be three o'clock.
There was no more dance class. We didn't go to the park. Breanna didn't even play in the yard. She just sat on the chair in my room, watching TV.
That's when things went from bad to worse for Breanna. It was the perfect storm: a kid who was already overweight and preferred sitting to running around, plus a mom so incapacitated that the three-year-old was left to watch television and eat whatever she wanted out of the cupboards all day. And boy, did she ever. Doritos, cookies, chips—and one day I found that she'd eaten an entire bag of Hawaiian rolls that I was planning to serve with dinner. Twelve rolls! She had no stopping point; she'd just keep eating until someone physically took the food away from her. And then she'd throw a fit.
"Please, Mommy. Please. Please! I'm so hungry. Mommy, I'm hungry!"
It was like a cartoon—one that would have been funny if it weren't so frustrating.
"Please, please, please!"
"No more, honey. We'll be eating dinner soon. Just watch your show."
"But I'm so hungry! Please!"
"You've already had a snack. That's enough."
"But I'm still hungry! Please, I need one more snack. One more, please! Please, Mommy!"
How much of that can a person take? For me, it was about two minutes. Then I'd give in, and everything would be quiet again. When I didn't cave, I could expect the tears to follow. Breanna wasn't rude or bratty, but she was persistent—an unstoppable beggar with a laser-beam focus on food. She would cry for several minutes if she didn't get the food she was asking for, until I was genuinely worried that this child was going to physically suffer if I didn't give her the bag of chips right now. My mother's heart believed my child was in need, and I thought I had to respond to that by giving her what she was pleading for.
Dan and I both gave in a lot more often than we should have, but we kept hoping the problem would work itself out as she got older. Maybe she'd learn more self-control as she matured, or maybe we'd find an explanation for her never-ending appetite.
But then we began noticing a disturbing trend whenever Breanna slept: she would periodically stop breathing and then gasp for air.
"What do you think that's about?" I asked Dan.
"We should get it checked out," he agreed.
It was scary to watch. Whenever Breanna would stop breathing, I'd hold my breath too, trying not to panic while I waited for her next breath. Although her breathing was always heavy, those episodes, which seemed to occur several times a night, struck terror in me.
The doctor asked us to record Breanna while she slept so he could hear what was happening. It didn't take long to get what we needed; within about an hour, she had one of her episodes. When we went back to the doctor, his diagnosis shook us. She had sleep apnea.
At three years old?
"We'll need to remove her tonsils and adenoids," the doctor explained.
"You mean surgery?" I asked.
"Yes, but it's pretty routine. Just a one-night stay and then she can recover at home."
"Do we need to do it now?" I asked. "I'm going through a very difficult pregnancy."
"You really should schedule it as soon as possible," he said. "Sleep apnea is a dangerous condition, especially for someone so young."
So a couple of weeks later, Breanna was in her little blue gown in the cold hospital room. As a parent, you always try not to pass your fears on to your children. But it was hard; I was terrified to send my daughter off to be anesthetized and to have a surgeon operate on her. Even worse, we had to sign a paper agreeing that we wouldn't sue the doctor if she died on the table. If she died? It wasn't a comforting thought as she headed to the operating room.
The nurses put her in a red wagon in place of a gurney, and we waved at her, forcing big, fake smiles. But as soon as she was out of sight, Dan and I broke down. I'm sure the surgery didn't take long, but every minute your child is in surgery feels like an eternity. The only thing left to do was pray and pace the waiting room.
Please, God, guide the surgeons hand, Dan and I prayed. Let her be okay.
* * *
Dan and I were still new Christians then. I hadn't been raised with faith, except for a summer at a Christian camp where I accepted Jesus as my Savior, but after getting married and thinking about starting a family, I knew I wanted a spiritual foundation that I hadn't had as a child.
When I got pregnant, I felt an emptiness—a yearning for something more. I didn't know exactly what it was, but I thought maybe the best place to start was to go to church. Dan didn't really want to "waste" his day off like that, but he went anyway because he loved me.
Later I read a quote by Beth Moore from Breaking Free that explained where I was: "The most obvious symptom of a soul in need of God's satisfaction is a sense of inner emptiness. The awareness of a 'hollow place' somewhere deep inside."
I wanted to experience the kind of community I'd heard about from people who attended church. A church family, I thought. That's what we need. My original thought was that this would be for Breanna—that she would develop a moral grounding and have something to believe in. But the more we learned each week, the more God pulled on our heartstrings. I wasn't just going for my child's sake anymore, and Dan wasn't just going for me. The truth of Scripture resonated in our souls, encouraging us to wholeheartedly adopt God's ways as our own. As an unexpected benefit, Dan and I were growing in our marriage. We'd always had a solid relationship, but now it was stronger.
Excerpted from Who's The New Kid? by Heidi Bond, Jenna Glatzer, Stephanie Rische. Copyright © 2015 Heidi Bond. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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When her 9-year old daughter, Breanna, tipped the scales at 186 pounds, Heidi Bond knew it was time to take some serious action. Rather than resort to drastic measure like medications and surgeries, Heidi enacted dietary and fitness changes that resulted in Breanna dropping 40% of her body weight in just over year. In Who’s the New Kid?, Heidi tells her story and walks readers through the changes the Bond family made and the results they saw. The last half of the book has many fitness and nutrition tips, as well as a 40-day nutrition plan to help readers develop healthier habits. I found this book to be quite interesting and I commend Heidi Bond for taking matters into her own hands and taking on the challenge to better her daughter’s life. I found some of the tactics she used a bit extreme, but I’ve never been in her shoes. If I had a morbidly obese child, I may enact some of these same changes. I was excited to see that this book advocates diet and exercise for weight loss rather than pills and/or surgeries. The 40-day nutrition guide at the end of the book is a great resource, too. Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All thoughts are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.
Who’s the New Kid? is an inspiring story! Breanna Bond’s struggle with childhood obesity began at a very early age. By the time she was nine years old, she had already reached a weight of 186 pounds. In this encouraging book, Heidi Bond, Breanna’s mother, candidly shares the challenges and rewards of their emotional struggle and life-changing journey of transformation. While the book is primarily the Bond’s story of overcoming Breanna’s obesity, helpful tips and advice, nutritional information, a forty day meal and exercise plan, and recipes are also included. Written with openness and honesty, Who’s the New Kid? will make you stop and think and encourage you to make the necessary changes in your life to achieve better physical health. I received a complimentary copy of Who’s the New Kid? through Litfuse Publicity. I appreciate the opportunity to read this book and share my honest opinion.
What an inspiring story to say the least! It was heart-breaking in the beginning to read of Breanna's obesity and seeing it from a mom's perspective. I can't even began to imagine how Heidi must have felt when not getting any help for her daughter and then when she was changing up her daughter's diet to just face naysyaers as well. I'm so grateful that Heidi and Breanna shared their story of weight-loss because I feel that I'm constantly bombarded with fast weight-loss programs and crazy diets. Despite that I personally don't like exercise; their story reminded me that I need to do it. I might not struggle with weight, but I know I am far from being healthy as I should be. Lastly, the meal and exercise plan at the back is amazing! I am eagerly looking forward to implementing in my home. I recommend this book to any mom’s who are looking for a story to boost the desire in wanting to eat healthy meals and exercise because this will be just the push you need. *(I received this book from Litfuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts expressed are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.)*
"Who's the New Kid" is tagged and promoted as a book that shows "how an ordinary mom helped her daughter overcome childhood obesity-and you can too!". I certainly don't disagree with that tagline-but I do feel it unintentionally limits the audience and doesn't properly describe the depth of this book. For it shows not just the transformation of daughter Breanna, but also a change in mom Heidi. The vulnerability Heidi displays in sharing weak areas within her parenting, cluelessness regarding healthy eating, and the lightbulb moment that finally occurs when exercise is added to the plan are things that ANY parent can understand and relate. The isolation and bullying that Breanna experience are things all parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches and doctors should be reading. Empathy is an amazing tool for children and adults to put into practice-and "Who's the New Kid" opens up conversations regarding bullying, not sabotaging the child (student, grandparent, friend) as they travel a road of strict eating habits, and learning their own family's need to adopt healthy eating habits and an active lifestyle. I really enjoyed the book, and I hope people who do not have an obese child can look beyond the tagline and read it anyway. *I received a complimentary copy of "Who's the New Kid?" to read and provide an honest review*
I wanted to read this book because my daughter is starting to go through some of the same issues and I thought it would be a good book for the both of us to read. I thought it would be nice to see another person’s thoughts and experiences on these issues. For me it is hard to see your child go through things like this and know there is not much you can do other then try and help and be supportive. I like how this was geared towards both adults and young adults. I feel as if both can read it and get a lot out of it. I also like that there were menu plans, recipes and an exercise program included. For me this book was well written and very easy to read. I thought it was informative. I also like how the author/mom used complete honesty when writing this and telling her daughter’s story. All in all a very informative and uplifting book to read.
This book was captivating from start to finish--I loved it! The journey that Heidi and Breanna took together was so inspiring and it showed how a lot of tough love and determination can pay off in a big way! Childhood obesity is a huge epidemic in our country and, in this book, Heidi shares how Breanna went from an obese, depressed child to a happy, energetic child. From exercise to diet, including meal plans, recipes, tips, and more, there are so many great resources in this book. I highly recommend it. I couldn't put it down! Disclosure: This book was sent to me for free in exchange for a review on my blog "Real Fit, Real Food Mom." All opinions and thoughts are my own. I truly was inspired by this book. Any parent and child can do this together...and should!