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Be the Example

This week I’m excited to welcome guest blogger Lori Taylor, better known as The Produce Mom!  Launched in January 2012, The Produce Mom® is the official blog and consumer brand of Indianapolis Fruit Company.  Lori has seven yeas of experience with Indy Fruit and boasts a diverse background:  serving as sales representative, buyer and marketing manager for the company.  She is also a wife and mother of two.  As The Produce Mom, Lori has partnered with some of the produce industry’s top labels for international marketing campaigns.  She has also created the school food program, Find Your Favorite™, which inspires children to eat more fruit and vegetables.  The Produce Mom has been recognized as a Walt Disney Kids Concern, Indiana Female Focus, Woman of Influence by the National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health and a community partner for the Indianapolis Public Schools’ Foodservice Division.  The Produce Mom can be accessed through the following websiteshttp://www.theproducemom.com ; http://www.facebook.com/theproducemom ; http://www.twitter.com/producemom

My dad is overweight.  And I love my dad more than anything.  I actually struggled with the decision to even write this blog because I didn’t want to hurt him.  The man has taught me more than anyone ever has or will.  Through dad’s constant example, I have learned to respect others, be a woman of faith, be true to my marraige vows, be active in the lives of my children, be dedicated to my employers, live modestly, give charitably and more.  He honestly means more to me than any of my other family members.  He always remained calm when I made mistakes and has continued to support my efforts as the author of The Produce Mom, even though others tell me to walk away or quit working so hard.  Dad’s telling me–work harder–you can do this!  I hope I can be the role model to my sons as he has been to me and my siblings.  None of us are perfect though.  Sometimes we learn from other’s shortcomings or mistakes.  The “I don’t want to be like that” mentality.

It’s hard to watch people judge someone you love.  We are all judged every day.  We all pass judgments every day.  It’s just part of being human.  I’ll never forget a family vacation at Sea World when the entertainer before the sea lion show made the entire stadium laugh by making fun of my dad’s overweight stomach.  I was 15 years old.  I was humiliated, but mostly I felt sorry for my dad.  My sister cried.  My mom told us it would be okay, but I’m sure it spurred a huge fight between her and dad when we weren’t around.  The “you need to take better care of yourself” argument.

No one is perfect.  I’m not perfect, but my shortfalls aren’t necessarily visible to the naked eye like my dad’s imperfection.  My dad is my hero.  He’s an example of who I want to be and how I want to treat others.  But I don’t want his body.  I don’t want my kids to be humiliated because of my appearance.  I don’t want to experience limitations in my everyday life because of my weight.

It’s not a new message to say “eat fruits and veggies with your kids” or “get your kids involved with grocery shopping.”  When I was asked to guest author a blog for Produce for Better Health Foundation I thought a simple reflection from my perspective, as a child of an obese parent, would be the most powerful.  As adults we should be the example.  This includes showing children what it means to live an active, healthy lifestyle.  This also includes showing respect and encouragement to those who are struggling with personal wellness.

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