I grew up eating anything that was in the fridge. I wasn’t aware of the importance of diet. The older I got, the less sport I did. At the age of twelve, I realised that If I continued to eat in the same way, I would begin to struggle in life. I needed a deadline to get healthy. My dad agreed that the summer holiday in Florida would be a good incentive and turned it into a competition between my sister and I.
I was in a state where exercising alone wouldn’t be enough; I needed to change my diet, too. This would put an end to the biscuit tin! I tried having some of my parents’ morning shake which didn’t look that great! They used Dr Gaye Super-Shake and added spinach, banana, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries. I only lasted a week on this, probably because I was drinking what was left of my parents’ shakes, and not making my own. I’d have probably added pineapple and left out the spinach! I mean, which teenager likes spinach!?!
So, my new approach to health was this: I would mainly start off with a big breakfast, filling me until lunch, where after that I would only snack on foods I made myself, such as cut up carrots, or pieces of cucumber, which meant, I would only eat a snack, If I was REALLY hungry!
I spent every day on the trampoline or on my bike. Some days, I would be on my bike the entire time, only returning for lunch and dinner. I tried a DVD programme, called ‘Insanity Max 30’, a high intensity 30-minute workout.
With all the exercise and dieting, by the end of the summer I was the healthiest I had ever been. And then we went on holiday to Florida, it was extremely difficult not to be tempted by the waffle houses, Cheesecake Factory and American diners. Still, when it came to our final day in Florida, my sister and I were in the ocean, splashing around with the amazing sunset falling behind us, and my dad called us over. He said it was time to decide who had won the challenge. He explained how friendly it had been and how happy it made him to see that we were happy. He then announced that I had won. I was extremely happy, but also mindful that my sister was a bit annoyed. It had been a long summer, but I was really pleased that we had decided to spend it well.
I was then picked for the A team for my school rugby team three years in a row and for the A team in rowing as well, surprising everyone who knows me. I became a happier and brighter person who gained lots of new friends. I am now the strongest and fastest player on the pitch.
All of this happened because, for just one summer, I had a goal to improve my health. It is difficult to stay healthy, continuously watch what you eat and exercise regularly, but you can do it. I did!
– Ralph –