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Weighty Matters: Teen Edition

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Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette
Amanda Findlay

Meet the Fit Crew

Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette
Jillian Findlay
Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette
Thalia Gonzalez
Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette
Kerrin Kramer
Cathie Rowand | The Journal Gazette
Zain Rizwan
Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette
Quinten Scroggs
Cathie Rowand | The Journal Gazette
Anna Shaffer
Cathie Rowand | The Journal Gazette
Kaitlin Toliver

Jillian Findlay

Age: 17

Hometown: Fort Wayne

Activities: Project READS at Waynedale Elementary, Girls Engineering Club and National Honor Society

Goal for the Fit Crew project: My goal for the Fit Crew project is to become more comfortable with my body and learn and begin to live by healthy lifelong habits.

Essay excerpt: I remember the days, between preschool through about third grade, when I wasn't worried about how I looked, because I was not yet aware that my body was getting larger and larger as the days flew by. In sixth grade, I remember going to my best friend's birthday party and it was time to put our pajamas on. As everyone came out of the bathroom in their little short shorts and tank tops, it was then I really realized, in my oversized T-shirt and sweatpants, that I was not as small as the other girls.

Amanda Findlay

Age: 15

Hometown: Fort Wayne

Activities: The ALLY Organization

Goal for the Fit Crew project: My goal for the Fit Crew is to learn how to eat healthier and live a healthier lifestyle.

Essay excerpt: I feel like I have been overweight since about second grade. I was bullied during elementary and even though I am now very outgoing, I have a massive amount of insecurity about my body. I have struggled for a long time seeing my own image and I am so ready for that to be over.

Thalia Gonzalez

Age: 13

Hometown: Fort Wayne

Goal for the Fit Crew project: Out of this program, I expect to lose weight and have way better eating habits and lots of support for this program. I also expect myself to achieve all of the goals that I hope to accomplish such as losing weight, better eating habits, lots of support and for me to stay fit. I also want to lose this weight because later on in my high school years, I can join school sports, activities such as volleyball, cheerleading and maybe basketball. I hope to make this program fun for me and lose my weight to become proud of myself.

Essay excerpt: I'm not really lazy when it comes down to fitness but I hate working alone and I really never have any support and I try and try but nothing seems to work for me. This would be an honor to lose this weight and carry on with a bright future and life.

Kerrin Kramer

Age: 13

Hometown: Fort Wayne

Activities: School band, volleyball, basketball, 4-H rifle program

Goal for the Fit Crew project: My goal for the Fit Crew project is to lose weight. I would like to build up stamina and endurance; I also want to build up muscle and reduce fat so I can go shopping with my friends and not be embarrassed. I don't want to be afraid to step on the scale. I know that if I continue to do nothing about my weight, I will be at risk for health issues. I really would like to be able to feel better, and learn to live healthier.

Essay excerpt: I can remember going to the doctor as a little kid and stepping on the scale. I have always been terrified of what my weight might be. I know that most times when I step on the scale, it will show that I have gained weight. I have always known that if I don't lose the extra weight, I am at risk of diabetes, and I don't want to be.

Zain Rizwan

Age: 13

Hometown: Fort Wayne

Activities: Taekwondo

Goal for the Fit Crew project: To make the track team.

Essay excerpt: In fifth grade, we went to the water park for the last day of school. While my peers were enjoying the waterslides, I sat on the bench with my shirt on because I was afraid of being ridiculed by my peers. When my family goes camping (which we do a lot), we go to the beach as well and just like the water park in fifth grade, I sit in the grass and wish I was comfortable enough with myself to have the confidence to take my shirt off and jump in the water.

Quinten Scroggs

Age: 16

Hometown: Columbia City

Activities: Concert band, pep band, jazz band, marching band

Goal for the Fit Crew project: My goal is not just to lose weight, but to be healthy. If I don't start watching what I'm eating and how much I exercise, then it could be a lot more than being overweight. I don't want to have heart problems or health issues when I'm older.

I also want to be able to go to the pool and not be embarrassed when I take off my shirt or make it up a flight of stairs without running out of breath. I don't want to be made fun of because of my weight problems, and I want to show everyone I have the power in me to lose this weight.

My last goal is to be able to help other people with my same problem. If I reach my goals and lose enough weight, then I can help others that feel like there's no way out of this situation. These are my main goals, and I will do everything in my power to reach them.

Essay excerpt: My mom and dad can only do so much but when it comes down to it, I am the only one who can do this. I can get help from others but really it's only me who can do this for me. I guess why I would want to join isn't just to lose weight but to gain a motivation for myself.

Anna Shaffer

Age: 14

Hometown: New Haven

Goal of the Fit Crew project: I want to be able to say I achieved my weight-loss goal, and I wish to feel good in my body.

Essay excerpt: Being (overweight) holds me back in multiple ways. I never feel confident enough to try out for certain school activities, and I stress about things that other kids don't have to worry about. For example, running a mile in gym class, or getting invited to a pool party. Just like every girl my age, I'd love to be able to pick out a cute bikini and feel confident wearing it around my friends, or even being able to shop outside of the plus-sized section.

Kaitlin Toliver

Age: 18

Hometown: Fort Wayne

Activities: Show choir, making bracelets, singing and laughing

Goal for the Fit Crew project: I want to lose 50 pounds or more. I wanna live a healthier lifestyle before I go to college.

Essay excerpt: I stayed inside because that's where I felt the safest at. No one could tease me or make fun of me anymore. At school, I wouldn't play at recess because I would get itchy and I wouldn't want anyone to see me itch. My eczema made me feel like that I wasn't normal like the other kids that were my age at the time.

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