Young Author’s Story of Taking Charge of His Health Makes Him a 12 Year-Old Hero

It’s not often that I start off my week with a Monday morning cry, but today was one of those times.

My day started off wonderfully as I enjoyed that first cup of morning coffee and began watching NBC’s Today show — pretty much my normal routine. A 12 year-old boy named Marshall Reid grabbed my attention and held it closely. Marshall’s words were extremely familiar and truly saddened my heart. “I’m done,” he said. “I’m not doing this anymore. I’m not putting up with this. I’m going to change myself.” He was referring to his excess weight. Marshall was ready for a change. Marshall made a statement: “I want to get healthy, now.”

Spurred to Action

His words touched my soul. I had been there; I’ve felt the same as Marshall. Maybe you have too. Millions of us have felt this way. Obesity is an epidemic in the United States, so Marshall is expressing feelings that are shared widespread yet often go unspoken. What an amazing young man to take a stand and speak up … and to make the necessary changes to lose his excess weight and get healthy. Better yet, he transformed his entire family! This kid is truly a hero in my eyes.

Marshall, who is from North Carolina, was just 10 when he first watched the film “Super Size Me” by Morgan Spurlock, a documentary chronicling the director’s journey into weight gain, health problems and fast food. It’s basically about how Americans are eating themselves to death, and the film examines school lunch programs, nutritional education and the fast food industry. This gave Marshall something to think about.

He was tired of being bullied about his weight at school, sharing that a classmate told him “You don’t look very good, you’re fat.” Marshall could barely keep up at recess with his classmates. He wanted to change. His family ate out most nights, something he knew had to end. He talked to his mom about his feelings and his mother did not get defensive but instead understood that her son was hurting. She felt as though someone had thrown a brick at her. It was time to make the change that Marshall was hoping for.

So the family of three (Marshall’s dad was in Iraq at the time but stayed connected via the Internet) began cooking at home and changed their attitude toward food. They focused on 31 days of eating better and exercise (love it!). This is my favorite part: the family lost a total of 70 pounds! Marshall’s sister had always been thin, and didn’t actually have a weight problem but knew she wasn’t eating healthy. Now that she is, she’s happier and has more energy. Marshall lost a whopping 36 pounds and claims that he is a whole lot happier. Yay! He wants to encourage other kids to stand up for their family’s health. His hope is that other kids follow his example. 

I’ll say it again… this kid is truly a hero! Can we put him in the spotlight? This nation needs these kinds of stories, seriously.

6 Tips for Families

Marshall actually wrote a book, which he has titled: “Portion Size Me: A Kid-Driven Plan to a Healthier Family.” I am looking forward to reading it and hope that you share in my eagerness to do so.

Listed below are 6 tips that Marshall shared this morning for the families who are ready to make the change toward healthier living as well:

  • Eat as many real foods as possible
  • Read ingredients
  • Pause before you eat
  • Get moving
  • Help out in the kitchen
  • Watch portion sizes

Thank you, Marshall, for taking the initiative to make healthy changes not only for yourself but for your entire family. You brought tears to my eyes … and a smile to my heart! You’re an amazing person.

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