School Nutrition Association March 2013 : Page 16
DONNA ROY ROY’S ADVICE: es to add make chang to ve ha ou to be it s. “Y habit s have Change hab your life. Bad in s af ter it b ar ha ye r healthie to eat right ve ha u Yo . good right thing replaced by do; it is the to g in th e right year. It is th e kids.” th d an for us Creating a Ripple Effect Before Donna Roy, RD, SNS, headed for Orlando, Fla., to attend SNA’s Child Nutrition Industry Conference (CNIC) early in January 2012, she had to do some clothes shopping. But as she was trying on items, she realized she only fi t into size 3X. “I remember thinking, ‘This is the largest size in the store—what happens next?’” recalls Roy. Roy, school nutrition director for Pembroke (N.H.) School District, cites that particular CNIC as a turning point for many reasons. But her journey actually started some months earlier, upon Roy’s appointment to SNA’s Member Services Committee. The group started brainstorming potential new programs and initiatives. “I thought we should develop something our members could use,” recalls Roy. “We always focus on the kids, but I saw that we really needed to start with ourselves. Then we could inspire the kids.” If members could refl ect what they tried to teach, it also might make a difference in the way school nutrition was viewed by the community. Thus, the seeds for a wellness program were planted, which eventually grew into the STEPS Challenge initiative launched by SNA and Jennie-O Turkey Store in July 2012 ( see the box on page 26 ). But fi rst, back to Roy’s CNIC epiphany. While she waited to hear how the Member Services Committee’s goals might come together, she had the opportunity to meet CNIC featured speaker Ali Vincent, the fi rst female winner of NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” weight-loss reality competition. Vincent, who lost 122 pounds during the show’s fi fth season in 2008, has maintained a healthy weight and uses the transformative experience as a platform to inspire others. She certainly inspired Roy, who bought Vincent’s book, asked her to sign it and “dedicate it to the fi rst SNA ‘biggest loser,’” says Roy. “It was the beginning of my inspiration.” At press time, that inspiration had led to Roy’s 55-pound-and-counting weight loss and some major changes in eating, exercise and attitude. Roy joined Weight Watchers and began to manage her meals the same way she directed her student customers: using the MyPlate guidelines. She joined a gym, going three or four times a week, right after work, using the equipment while watching “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” “I love Ellen, so I watch it and the time just fl ies by,” Roy laughs. Although she had been active with biking and rollerblading prior to her renewed health commit-16 School Nutrıtıon • MARCH 2013 ment, initially she found that she could only complete about fi ve minutes on the gym’s stepper and elliptical workout equipment. Today, she is up to 50 minutes on each. “I just feel so good,” she says.” It has been life-transforming.” Now, Roy says, “I can walk into any store and have a [wide] selection of clothes, and it is just awesome. I have gone down four sizes, at least, and also have toned.” Even better, she notes, is the way her success has inspired others. Her school nutrition team has embraced wellness changes. A number of them attend Zumba classes, and one colleague has lost 30 pounds. Another joined Weight Watchers—and persuaded her husband to do so, as well. Roy’s success also infl uenced an important person in her life: “Once I started on my healthy journey, I was able to convince my 82-year-old father to become healthier,” she reveals. He bought a stationary bike, rides it seven miles a day and has lost 33 pounds in the past year. Of her hard work, Roy refl ects, “You just feel better about yourself. It is a personal accomplishment. The result is that you are more positive. You think more of yourself. Often, people don’t value themselves. If I can help anyone else, it is such a good feeling.” She emphasizes that it’s not too late to change one’s wellness habits. “Some people might say, ‘For me, it is too late; nothing will help.’ But that isn’t true. If I can leave a legacy of healthier SNA members, I will be happy. Then there will be a trickle-down effect through the whole organization,” Roy envisions.