Child Story: Donovan, 11, discovers his passion for basketball, how easy it is to make healthy food choices, and impresses his dad.**
Donovan’s dad, Rommel, found Kurbo on his employer’s wellness plan and decided to sign up. “I wanted Donovan to learn about making better choices and to get more active, but I was looking to see if there was anything for kids that would make it more fun than just pushing ‘be healthy’ and ‘exercise more’,” Rommel explains. “I was excited to join so that I could become a better athlete,” Donovan says.
He was immediately drawn in by the thought of Donovan working with a personal health coach. “Kurbo’s personal coaching intrigued me because your child is able to hear from someone besides a parent, so I was hopeful that would make him more receptive to it,” Rommel says.
Donovan was matched with Olympic athlete, Coach Hyleas, and began setting goals to try new green light foods each week. “I began to try salmon, edamame, cauliflower, and asparagus,” Donovan shares. “We’ve started to buy less prepackaged food and more natural foods, like fruits and vegetables when we go to the grocery store,” Rommel explains.
Donovan loved how easy it was to track his food each day on the app and watch his progress. Since starting Kurbo, he’s lost 4 lbs and increased his fruit and vegetable consumption. “It’s helpful for me to track because I can see how I’ve improved. The first week I was eating more reds than greens, but by the fourth week, I was eating a lot more greens than reds,” Donovan says.
Rommel has noticed that since starting Kurbo, Donovan has become more aware of his food choices. “He has become very diligent in tracking what he eats and adapting his meals to be healthier. Typically I pack him PB&Js, but now he says, ‘Dad, I don’t want that because white bread is two reds,’ and so he came up with other suggestions that we can put in his lunch that would be greens and yellows,” Rommel says.
Donovan and Coach Hyleas also explored how to increase his activity, by finding a type of exercise he’d enjoy. “I realized that I would get bored when I was doing sit ups or push ups. I liked exercise that I enjoyed doing, so I’ve started to play more basketball,” Donovan explains.
As he started to exercise more each day, Donovan noticed a change in his energy levels. “Before Kurbo, I would just sit around after school. Now, after I finish my homework I’ll go play basketball outside. I feel like I have a lot more energy now because instead of being on the iPad, I’ll be outside playing,” Donovan says.
He is even considering trying out for his school’s basketball team this season. “I’m excited for basketball season to start and now that I am better at it, I’m gravitating more towards trying out for the team,” Donovan shares.
Donovan has even inspired his parents to join him in exercising more. “My dad and I will play basketball when he gets home from work,” Donovan explains. Rommel shares, “We all have Fitbits so we’ll compete with each other. My wife just started walking again in the mornings and I make sure that I hit my 10,000 steps to make sure we keep up with Donovan.”
Donovan not only keeps his family accountable with exercise, but also with food choices. “In addition to making the changes in himself, he’ll challenge us to eat better and make better choices,” Rommel says. “If I’m drinking juice or chocolate milk, he’ll say, ‘Dad that’s a red’ and I’ll kind of chuckle, but it really is good that he is conscious of those things and keeps us accountable.”
Kurbo helped Rommel to change his attitude towards weight loss from result-oriented to process-oriented. “I’m less concerned about him losing weight and more concerned about him making the right choices. I think that if he makes the right choices, the weight loss will come. Instead of focusing on the results, I’m focusing on the process,” Rommel shares.
Rommel believes that the personal coaching that initially drew him to choose Kurbo, is what makes the program so effective and helped Donovan to lose 4 lbs. “You can tell how engaged Coach Hyleas is in helping him by the amount of energy she has at every call. Her energy level has rubbed off on him. I just want to commend her for her coaching efforts because obviously that can play a big part in the success of the program,” Rommel explains.
After his family’s success with Kurbo, Rommel is glad that his employer offers programs like this so employees can improve the health of their families. “I think it’s awesome because they don’t have to offer these programs so they are taking the extra step. Trying to get people to prevent health issues says a lot about how they care about us as employees and how they value us as employees,” Rommel shares.
He now recommends Kurbo to other employees. “I’ve informed people about the one-on-one coaching because I think it’s cool and unique. I also like how simple the app is. It’s very easy for kids. It makes adopting healthy eating habits fun because it’s more of a game rather than that typical tough conversation you have to have about eating healthy and exercising,” Rommel says.
**This is a testimonial from an individual Kurbo user. Results will vary for different users.