Editor's note: At 12 years old, Adrian McHargh was at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes because of his weight. CNN asked Adrian to write an essay about his experience in a 12-week exercise, diet and nutrition program sponsored by Children's Healthcare of Atlanta to improve his health.
Part of Adrian's fitness regimen was doing pushups after a 20-minute walk.
I joined this program because my doctor told me that my test results showed I was pre-diabetic and more than 20 pounds over my weight according to my age and height.
I became healthier because I was taught proper exercise and good nutrition. I exercised more by doing long, steady walks for 20 minutes, followed by good stretches, lifting weights, spinning, sit-ups and push-ups.
I also used this time to think positively about myself. I stopped eating most processed foods, which generally contain sugar and salt, and fatty foods such as margarine, butter, cream and most cheeses.
I stopped eating fried foods and sugary foods such as soda, cakes and candies. I now avoid foods containing additives and colorings, sugary drinks or soda, salty foods, junk food, fast food and takeout.
I eat anything fresh -- organic food, fish, vegetables (particularly orange or dark green ones), fruits, oats and other fiber-rich grains, and beans and peas.
My nutrition specialist taught me that it is important to read labels and to eat foods that contain seven grams or more dietary fiber per day.
After the program, I got a certificate of completion, which made me feel good.
I have learned two things about myself that I didn't know before. I can control myself while eating, and I only eat when I am bored or hungry. I don't steal food or "pig out" anymore like I used to.
I met other kids like me in the program, and it made me feel better to know I am not alone. I am a more confident person than I was a year ago. The children at school are being nicer to me, and my best friend, Bijan, has made me feel better. This was very new to me when I had to make such a big change. It was hard but not as hard as when I had to move to the U.S.
It is still a little hard for me, but my mother encourages me to keep at it. I will continue exercising and doing what I should to keep healthy and maintain my weight. E-mail to a friend
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