In Her Own Words: Penny on Healthy Eating and Exercise

In honor of Down Syndrome Awareness Month, I’ve asked our daughter Penny (who is 13 and has Down syndrome) to share some reflections on her life in her own words. Today she’s writing about a decision we made together this summer to adjust her eating and exercise habits so that she could reach her stated goals of health and comfort. One great gift of this change has been taking regular walks together. Here, Penny explains how these changes have affected her mind, body, and spirit (I suggested those categories), and she offers some advice: 

Before I decided to make some changes, i was eating a lot of  carbs and a lot of unhealthy food. My favorite foods are pizza, mozzarella sticks, ice cream, and frozen yogurt. Yes there is a problem with these foods they are bad for you and you can not have them everyday and every time you want them.

I do not like exercising as much as my brother and sister do. You can find me reading a book inside not exactly what my mom wants me to do.

After I changed, my body was feeling pretty much the same but I did notice some changes to what I was eating and being aware of the foods I was allowed to have. My mind was saying go for it eat as much as you want. While my spirit was saying you know what foods you are allowed to have stay healthy.

I decided to change my portions to become more healthy.

I am sizing my amounts on what I have I can still have the same foods as I listed above but we need to set some boundaries.

Yes I do still eat the food that I love just in healthy and more supportive versions.

Now most days i am walking a mile with one of my parents. Sometimes my muscles start to feel sore. I like about it that I can talk with my parents about whatever I want.

My goals are to stay healthy and eat the foods that I still like just with healthy choices.

For other kids who have the same trouble, I would say stay healthy and you can still  have the same foods that you like but with more healthy portions.

My body feels awesome with all the workout I have to do. My mind and spirit feel the exact same.

For other posts written by Penny, you can check out what she wrote when she wanted to quit dance class or the letter she wrote to a new mom expecting a baby with Down syndrome or what she had to say about starting eighth grade.

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Ashley W McClearn

    Dear Penny,
    This is excellent! I am 50 years old and this is a great reminder for me to set boundaries and get outside more and move my body. I am thankful I can walk. I am also thankful for the times inside when I can read a book! 🙂
    Thank you for sharing these great tips. God bless you!

  2. Karen

    Thank you for sharing this, Penny! You are absolutely right! I like those foods too, and I am having to adjust my food choices so that most days I eat vegetables and protein, and I have a “free day” for those other delightful foods.

    Walking is one of my favorite ways to keep fit too. That is great that you get to walk with your parents! My daughter Olivia and I sometimes walk to the park or to the library, but your post makes me think we might start walking even more. I plan to show her what you said, because she needs the reminder too–we all do!


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