“Lead by example, not just words.” This is the train of thought I had when presenting my case for a multifaceted weight loss regimen. The audience was a varied group of ten to twenty Hispanic adults, many of whom brought their children to observe the virtual gathering. Greens on a Budget was the group’s title, coined by a physician friend of mine, Dr. Ana Negrón, who had been running nutrition focus groups for several decades.
I wanted to connect with the group members in a meaningful way. Considering that my last Spanish language class was all the way back in Middle School, I knew I had to approach the topic from a more personal standpoint. After exploring several concepts and nutrition tips for weight loss, I engaged the audience by presenting photos recounting my own weight loss journey over the years. This served as proof for the basis of my argument. Yet, the most profound connection was made when a father of two asked me why I made the choice to specialize in nutrition.
It was this remark that unveiled the memories of my childhood. I remembered being overweight and unhappy, getting sick several times a year from Strep-throat, frequent colds, and spontaneous emesis that landed me in the Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania more times than I can remember. My youthful progression in martial arts serendipitously guided me to books of Traditional Chinese Medicine, which espoused principles of nutrition essential for any aspiring athlete. Eventually I incorporated these principles into my life and gradually I regained control of my health.
“You can do it, too” I remarked to the audience, now captivated by my story. Question after question emerged, to which I retorted with answers. People were enthusiastically recollecting their own experiences and sharing with the group. Nutrition no longer had to be perceived as a mystified and grueling pursuit, rather a journey where friends could provide encouragement and good habits could be reinforced with time. The session was a success. I believe I led by example that day.