Leaping into Action

Feb 20, 2013


Callista Suarez – Southeast High School
Credit Randy Eccles / WUIS/Illinois Issues

When I was younger, someone told me a story. Once there were three frogs sitting on lily pads. One day, one of them made a decision to jump off. How many frogs were left? Three. I thought this story was really stupid and obnoxious at the time, but now I understand its true meaning. I believe in the power of doing. It sounds like a very simple concept, but it is much more powerful than most people realize. Like the story of the frogs, making a decision means nothing if nothing is done to act upon it.

I was told that story because I had made a decision when I was younger. I decided to fight my battle with obesity by losing weight to reach my dream of joining the military. Every day I would tell myself, “Tomorrow I will start dieting and exercising.” However, it was very hard in a family who had a lot of the same problems as me and weren’t as bothered by it. I would continue to tell myself I would act but never really did. It went on and on until I was over 300 pounds my junior year in high school.

It wasn’t until Valentine’s Day of that year that I knew it was time to change. Everybody was happy and doing things together with their significant other whereas I was home alone with nothing but my fridge to keep me company. However, it was at that moment that I realized I should do something rather than sit around and feel sorry for myself. I had talked to my grandfather earlier that day and he was telling me about how he lost weight because he was starting to have heart trouble. I thought, “If my 70-year-old grandpa can lose weight and get in shape, why can’t I?” I started making small changes at first, such as drinking water and walking home from school every day. Small, but significant.

I believe in the power of doing. It sounds like a very simple concept, but it is much more powerful than most people realize.

When summer came around that year, I put it into full gear. I started to diet and exercise seriously. I figured that walking with a destination was easier than walking in circles so I started walking five miles to a store every day, just as I was walking to my destination of weight loss and my military dream rather than the circle of eating into obesity. Whenever I was hot, sweaty, exhausted and wanted to give up, I imagined myself in my future military uniform and told myself I couldn’t fail on this mission. That was when the weight started to fly off. I may not have been able to pay for a gym membership, but that doesn’t mean it was impossible.

Since I acted upon that decision that day, everything for me has changed. I’ve lost nearly 100 pounds in one year. I feel better and more confident. My dream of getting into the military is approaching swiftly; I even felt confident enough to meet with a recruiter. I may still have stretch marks from what I once was, but I see them as battle scars from my victory in the war I had fought. I had to make myself do it, not depend on my family, friends, or even a divine being to do it for me. I could ask for all the help I wanted; in the end I was the one who had to act. This I believe.