Listen: One Family’s Motivating Journey to Wellness

Julie Bitely

| 3 min read

For Sidney Edmonds, a mom in Big Rapids, getting her son, Zach, healthy was not an easy process, but worth every effort.
As a young boy Zach was thin and active. However, as he got older and more into Xbox and cartoons, this pattern trailed off. “He would be eating and not thinking about what he was eating or if he was even hungry, ” Sidney said. “The weight really piled up and he was unhealthy and unhappy. His dad and I were devastated.”
Reminders alone weren’t working.
Sidney tried simply telling Zach the benefits of exercise and eating fruits and vegetables, but that didn’t work. “Zach is an extremely picky eater and it’s been hard to get him to eat healthy foods,” Sidney said. “My husband and I used to give him incentives to run a lap around the house, drink a smoothie or eat a quarter of the green beans on his plate. We found that a monetary motivator worked best.”
It also helped that Zach is a teenager and extremely competitive. It wasn’t long until he outgrew the original motivators and started making healthy choices as a lifestyle change rather than to just appease his parents. Dietary changes happened little by little, but being active really hit Zach in the eighth grade. “He started going out for sports teams and noticing girls and decided he wanted to make a change,” Sidney said.
Growth and sports sparked personal motivation.
Since Zach got active and started eating right, he is more fit, healthier and happier.
After joining the basketball, track and football teams all in one year, Zach’s mom says there’s no pushing necessary. She and her husband now provide nothing but support such as gentle encouragement when Zach eats healthy snacks and attending his sporting events.
Some hurdles are still tough, but worth the challenge.
Though Zach still has sensory issues with certain healthy foods’ flavors and textures, his parents supplement his diet with vitamins and do their best to stay healthy and active as a family. “We bought a trampoline for the backyard and bikes so we could go to the park as a family,” Sidney said.
For parents who struggle with getting their kids healthy and active, Sidney suggests being alert and trying new things. Kids may feel depressed or unhappy, but don’t actually say it. It’s important to use trial and error for new activities or motivation to make them active. “Think like a kid and what they would enjoy and try to make exercise fun,” Sidney said. “Zach would tell other kids to find something you like and just do it. After a while, things start changing.”
Listen below to Sidney and Zach’s full story on the Healthier Michigan Radio Show and be sure to tune into the show the first Tuesday of every month from 7 to 8 p.m. on WJR.
[soundcloud url=”″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]
Photo credits: Sidney Edmonds
Want to read more tips on motivating your family to be healthy? You may also like these posts:

A Healthier Michigan is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
No Personal Healthcare Advice or Other Advice
This Web site provides general educational information on health-related issues and provides access to health-related resources for the convenience of our users. This site and its health-related information and resources are not a substitute for professional medical advice or for the care that patients receive from their physicians or other health care providers.
This site and its health-related information resources are not meant to be the practice of medicine, the practice of nursing, or to carry out any professional health care advice or service in the state where you live. Nothing in this Web site is to be used for medical or nursing diagnosis or professional treatment.
Always seek the advice of your physician or other licensed health care provider. Always consult your health care provider before beginning any new treatment, or if you have any questions regarding a health condition. You should not disregard medical advice, or delay seeking medical advice, because of something you read in this site.