Camp Shane weight loss camp was featured in a recent blog post on FitsMi. The article, written by Abby Ellin, features the success story of Jacqueline Hattar, 16 years old from New York. By following the Camp Shane weight loss program of proper nutrition and fitness, she was able to not only lose weight, but also learn how to continue her new healthy lifestyle at home. This summer, Camp Shane will help even more children and teenagers lose weight, gain confidence, and continue their success even after camp ends. To find out more about Camp Shane, please visit www.campshane.com.

Jacqueline Hattar has been overweight for as long as she can remember, weighing 285 pounds at her heaviest. In 2007, when she was 14, she decided to enroll in Camp Shane, a weight loss camp in upstate New York. “I told my parents about the camp when I found it online,” says Jackie, now 16, who lives in Pougheepsie, NY. “I remember needing a change really badly and this was definitely the answer. I have battled with weight and self-image issues for as long as I can remember, and I spent my early teen years feeling extremely self-conscious about my body. It led me to avoid what should be fun activities, like going out with friends–and especially shopping for new clothes.” Plus, she worried what her new peers at camp would think of her, even though everyone there was trying to lose weight, too.

For lots of girls, one summer at weight loss camp isn’t enough to reach a healthy weight, but for Jacqueline it made a good dent. She was able to incorporate the eating and exercise habits that she learned at camp into her daily lifestyle, which is important for keeping the weight off after camp is over. “Exercise is now a big priority in my life, and I set the alarm early every morning to work out at the gym,” Jackie says, “And I avoid unhealthy temptations at the cafeteria. I always pack my own healthy lunch and snacks for school.”

Not only has Jackie’s new self-confidence improved her social life, her grades have also gone up, “and I have the energy to help out more at home with my 2-year-old sister.”

What was the number one change you made in your life?
The biggest change I made in my life was my perception of myself. In learning to accept myself, I now realize that outward changes cannot come without inward changes first.

What was the biggest challenge?
Insecurity was my biggest challenge in living a healthier lifestyle. I often felt self-conscious going to the gym or eating in public, but I eventually figured out that my biggest critic was myself.

How did you deal with it?
I dealt with my insecurity at first by working out before school in the morning, figuring I’d be more comfortable surrounded by fewer people. Eventually, I became more comfortable with myself and was even able to start working out with friends.

What’s your favorite recipe?
As a vegetarian, my favorite recipe is a scrambled tofu omelet. Using egg substitute provides just as much flavor, with not as many calories, and tofu is packed with protein.

What do you wish other girls knew about healthy eating?
I wish other girls knew how good it feels to lead a healthy lifestyle. Making positive changes not only helps you look physically fit, but also improves your outlook and self-esteem.

How can other girls make changes?
Other girls can make changes by setting small goals each day, such as taking a walk for 20 minutes or substituting an apple for a sugary snack. Simple steps will turn into big accomplishments over time.

If there is one thing you’d like to change, what would it be?
To this day, I sometimes view food as something I should keep away from. I hope that eventually I can change this perception and appreciate the nutritional value of food, rather than feeling like it is working against me.

How could parents or other adults help teens like you get healthier?
Parents and other adults can help teens by providing a support system for healthy eating and exercise. However, there is a big difference between being helpful and being too critical.

How do you stay motivated?
Every summer I go to Camp Shane, a weight loss camp for kids and teens. Looking forward to going back every summer to see friends and inspiring counselors keeps me motivated to make changes every day.

How did you celebrate your success?
I celebrated my success by going shopping. It was an amazing feeling to walk into a store and find clothes that made me comfortable in my own skin.

What can you do now that you couldn’t do when you were overweight?
Losing weight has changed the way I feel about social situations and has helped me become a more confident person with friends and family. I am now able to appreciate the person I am instead of judging myself harshly.

What would you say to a girl who doesn’t think she can do it?
If someone thinks that they can’t make a change than I’d say that the only person stopping you is yourself. I truly believe that change comes from within. The first step in bettering yourself is not a physical change, but mental.