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WakeMed ENERGIZE! Because Not Every Child is an Athlete

Tara, a fitness instructor, personal trainer and mother of three learned just as much as – if not more – than her daughter from WakeMed ENERGIZE!, and we are so pleased that she shared her experience with us. Below is Tara’s story. Have a story you’d like to share with us? Email us: and put “ENERGIZE! story” in the subject line.

Enrolling in the ENERGIZE! Program at WakeMed

When I heard about the ENERGIZE! program, I honestly didn’t think we were the family that needed it.  I went to school for nutrition science, and I have been a trained personal trainer/fitness instructor since 1993.  I feed my family healthy meals, and I encourage sports and being physically fit.

So it was very surprising to hear my daughter’s BMI was that of an obese child.  I recognized she was overweight, but I just figured she was hanging onto baby fat and just hadn’t found her sport yet.  Suffice it to say, I entered the ENERGIZE! program with a little chip on my shoulder.

I had been very frustrated with my daughter.  We have tried everything – dance, gymnastics, swimming, and I even started a 5K running club at her school.  She literally cried at every sport or activity I encouraged and even the ones I coached.  My other two daughters are competitive athletes, so I just assumed she needed to explore other sports.

I decided to enroll her in ENERGIZE! hoping that would motivate her to want to do a sport.  What we got, though, was so much more.

Taking the Time to Listen to My Daughter

See, I wasn’t listening to my daughter.  She didn’t feel comfortable in a tight leotard, and she didn’t like competing.  She wanted to do something that made her feel good about herself.  The other sports she tried made her feel slow, uncoordinated, fat and non-athletic.

All along, I thought I was encouraging physical fitness – but what I was doing was making my 9-year-old daughter feel worse about herself.

Encouraging Exercise in a Fun, Non-Competitive Way

The ENERGIZE! program had this amazing way of getting kids to exercise in a fun, non-competitive way.  I saw my daughter flourish over the 12 weeks of the program.  She insisted on going and being early; she was excited about the new games we were playing.  On the nutrition days, she would come home and share all of her knowledge with the family.  I was astounded by my confident child.  She was having FUN in an environment with kids like her – those who wanted to play but needed a little encouragement wrapped up in a loving, engaging, fun environment.

The program encourages young kids to want to be healthy.

The games were set up to motivate and inspire each kid. Certain games resounded better with some kids than others, but the way the program is designed, games changed every week.  She never left class feeling like she was in last place.  Instead, she left with friendships, confidence and an increased knowledge about how to make the right food choices.

During graduation it was my kid who received the BEST ATTENDANCE award.  There was never a struggle on her end.  She was my motivator to get out two times every week to go to class.  I have never been so proud and humbled as a parent.

We think we have all the answers, but this program truly taught me that ALL kids deserve an opportunity to move – whether it be in an organized sport or just an hour of fun exercise games.

Not only did my child gain confidence, but I gained some much-needed parenting knowledge.  I will forever be grateful to this program.

About WakeMed ENERGIZE!

WakeMed ENERGIZE! is a family centered approach to making healthy lifestyle changes.  It is part of WakeMed’s Pediatric Weight Management practice.

For information about WakeMed ENERGIZE! and WakeMed Physician Practices—Pediatric Weight Management, please call the practice at 919-235-6439 or visit .