xv Introduction When I was 16, one of my favorite t-shirts sported the unlikely picture of a frog in a compro- mising situation. The stork, having just plucked the amphibious snack from a pond, found itself, instead of having a satisfying feast, being strangled by the frog. The advice below the image: “Don’t ever give up.” Who knew this shirt and its mantra would play such an important role in my life? This was the shirt I wore on the morning that my mom and I began a breathtaking and grueling 20-mile, 3-day hike down into the depths of the Grand Canyon, and back out. But hiking wasn’t always a part of my life. Through much of my childhood, I struggled to eat healthfully, sleep regularly, exercise daily, and cope with stressors in productive ways. My mom was in the same boat. Scared by the health risks associated with being overweight and inactive, when I was 16, my mom and I decided together to set ambitious goals to transform ourselves. We wanted to be healthier, more fit, and more confident. So naturally, we signed up to “conquer” the Grand Canyon—even though neither of us had ever even slept in a tent or trekked up a big hill. My mom wisely enlisted the help of a personal trainer to help us get ready for our Grand Canyon experience. The trainer helped us develop a plan that would set us up for success. Week by week, we followed through on our plan, even though some days we didn’t feel like it. Other days we wondered if we had made a mistake—why didn’t we just decide to do something a little less difficult and a little less outside of our comfort zone? But—we didn’t ever give up. The pounding of rain on my face that late September afternoon, my whole body covered in dirt, 30-pound pack on my back, sweating all the way to the final step of the 4,000-foot ascent from the Colorado River to the South Rim, my mom right behind me, defined an experience that changed my life. My mom and I accomplished something we could not have imagined doing even six months earlier. The trainer, who stood by us and guided and encouraged us as we set out to achieve our ambitious goal, launched me on my journey to inspire others. What started over 20 years ago as a lofty goal of hiking the Grand Canyon with my mom has led me to places and experiences far beyond my wildest childhood dreams—including a career as a pediatrician, nutritionist, and mom to two incredible and healthy kids. I am thrilled that the next step in my story is to share with you my Family Fit Plan.
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