My youngest daughter and I are students at the same university. She is an undergraduate student and I am a graduate student. I do not have classes on Tuesday but I often accompany her so that I can study, do research, or just have lunch with her in between classes. We have a well-equipped, but very small gym on campus and one of my favorite Sushi restaurants there, as well. So, Tuesday at school—works for me.
Today was a unique experience for me. The gym was packed so I settled in with one of my textbooks in the student union building—I always have a plan b. After an hour or so, I found myself noticing the people walking in and out of the dining room. I wasn’t being judgmental or anything like that but I guess because I'm on my own weight loss journey, I am becoming very aware of those around me.
Our school has approximately 15,000 students and less than 3% of the population is my group or career changers and/or people over 30—I’m way over 30 at 47 years old but I digress. Most are teens or twenty-something and right out of high school. Of all the people I saw today—at least 1/2 were overweight and 1/3 of them would probably be classified as morbidly obese. They were eating chic-filet and fried Salisbury steak and the like—no salads, even though a very well stocked and unlimited salad bar is included in every meal, or subway sub, or sushi (even though those are options here) with a jumbo 32 oz soda or fruit smoothie to go with it. It was a pretty shocking eye-opener. I've been here countless times since the summer of 2009 but I was so focused on me and my little world that I never really noticed my surroundings before.
The worst part of it all is the realization that these young people are our future and they are literally eating themselves to death—one meal at a time. As a mother, I had to fight back the tears. After a few minutes, I collected my things and packed up my bag. I went over to the library and printed off (and cut) a bunch of the SparkPeople.com business cards and I placed a stack of them on every bulletin board on campus. There are 25….whew! It’s a huge campus, I had to drop my bag off at the truck—it was just too heavy to carry. I didn’t say a word to my daughter and I finished my work and retrieved my bag and was back in the dining room before her chemistry class was finished.
Will it make a difference? I have no idea but I’m only responsible for my actions not the actions of others. I will keep an eye on the bulletin boards and keep them well stocked. I’d love nothing better than to see all of the cards missing next Tuesday. I learned a very important lesson today—it’s not just about me—it’s about all of us. We cannot hold on to our weight loss victories and keep them for ourselves. We have a responsibility to our loved ones and our communities to share them—to bring as many people along with us as possible. While we cannot make them do it—we can show them it can be done!
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