September 9, 2018

I am a single mother with one daughter, Layla. I work in Alexandria, VA and we live in Fredericksburg, so my commute to work was, and is, around 1 and half hours each way, each day. With that being said, by the time my work day was done and I fought traffic, I was always looking for the quickest and easiest food to cook for dinner. I thought I was making “good” choices. Layla was around 7 or 8 years old, she started gaining weight rapidly, had no energy, was hungry all the time, and had constipation. My pediatrician at the time kept telling me to cut down on Layla’s juice consumption and things will get better, but we really didn’t drink a lot of juice. I was getting frustrated with my daughter’s weight gain, the symptoms she was having, and the advice of our pediatrician. I was seeing a lot of flyers for the Dr. Yum Project and their Parenting for Wellness course, so I decided to sign up!

From the first class, I knew this was a good move! Dr. Fernando and her team made us comfortable, LISTENED to our concerns, and explained why Layla may be experiencing her symptoms. She asked about lifestyle, what we ate, how active we were, and who was involved in the care of Layla. The Dr. Yum class leaders asked us to keep a journal of our meals and come back the next class to assess and make recommendations. When we did our food journal and went back, I thought the choices we were making were good – we included such items as Greek yogurt. I thought wrong. They pointed out that a lot of our food choices had a lot of sugar and some had a lot of hidden sugar, which was causing the weight gain – which is turn was causing the other symptoms Layla was having. They pointed out that a lot of the yogurts out there sometimes have MORE sugar than ice cream. When I looked, the yogurt we were eating had 25 grams of sugar per cup, where as, a lot of ice cream is only 14 grams per 1/2 cup.

By reviewing our food choices, the team informed us that just because my busy schedule, we could still enjoy flavorful, whole food, meal options. Our class took a look at the Dr. Yum Project website for recipe and menu ideas, to make our meals at home, integrate more vegetables in our meals, and pack Layla’s lunch everyday. At first I was overwhelmed, but I focused on the outcome and Layla (and me) feeling and being more healthy. I had a breakdown a couple times about how to stay focused, but the class helped me stay focused. I relied heavily on the DYP website, read Dr. Yum blogs, avoided all processed foods, and began to make my meals at home with fresh and whole foods. I started making vegetables a staple and including more. I also started packing Layla’s lunches every day. Water became our drink of choice, with the occasional unsweetened black tea, as a treat.

Instead making our food changes a hurdle, we made it a journey! Layla and I would choose fruit and veggies we had never tried before. We used spices and tried recipes we never tried before! Our journey changed our life! Layla lost over 20 pounds, got her energy back, makes good choices on her own, and wants to be active in kickboxing and volleyball. I also lost 40 pounds myself. I focus on whole and fresh foods. We are so blessed the Dr. Yum Project came into our lives, changed how we looked at and enjoyed food, and ultimately, changed our lives.

We are Dr. Yum’s biggest fans! We love what they are doing for the community and the message they bring!

Tiffany Dybevik

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