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July 2nd, 2010
03:16 PM ET

At age 10, boy chronicles weight loss

Ten-year-old iReporter Marshall Reid calls his summer challenge Portion Size Me.

The precocious Sanford, North Carolina, resident lists the grams of sodium, calories and fat in his food in homemade videos.  He reads nutrition labels and advises that avocados and sweet potatoes are good.  Marshall’s summer mission is to eat better and share what he’s learning on iReport and YouTube.

When he started to gain weight, his family joked that he looked like Winston Churchill.  But the good-natured ribbing started to get serious.  Marshall had become more sedentary, sneaking food from the refrigerator and developing bad eating habits, his mother, Alex Reid said.

Inspired by the movie, "Super Size Me," Marshall and his older sister, Jordan decided to do the opposite of the documentary and eat healthy everyday for 31 days of summer. Marshall hopes to get to a healthier weight from his current 162 pounds, but is not fixating on any number.   Marshall's quest has also inspired his father who is serving in the military to exercise more, the family said.


soundoff (88 Responses)
  1. Nicole

    Marshall: Awesome job today! You have inspired me to wear my pedometer to keep myself moving! I can't wait to see the results of your hard work on CNN at the end of summer!

    July 2, 2010 at 16:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Alex Reid

      Marshall has read this post and thanks you!

      July 2, 2010 at 20:31 | Report abuse |
  2. Roobee

    You are an inspiration for a new generation. I'm proud of you for taking your responsibilty!!

    July 2, 2010 at 16:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Allison

    You can do it kids! I watched Jamie Oliver's food revolution and I have now lost 20 lbs just by eating more vegetables and lean meat! I kicked those crappy carbs to the curb, and said no to processed foods! I am so proud of you! I never thought I could lose weight and thought I was going to be this size forever- I went from 178 lbs to 158 in about 2 months- I feel better and look way better- and I did not have time to exercise. I am a full time worker and a full time college student and so making the time is hard, but so worth it- the first 20 days are the hardest- you miss the foods you were addicted too, and are mad you can't eat what others are eating, but it does go away. Also we have to remember that this is about our lives- how do we want to live? I want to live healthy and happy and for a looooooooong time! You rock kids!

    July 2, 2010 at 17:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Atlas

      I think you just inspired me too. Thanks Allison.

      July 3, 2010 at 01:32 | Report abuse |
    • Shawnna

      Allison, I think also that there is no need to completely do away with foods you love (for me it's ice cream) it's about choosing to eat less of it. Like I'll put a scoop in a small bowl 🙂 and only get that "treat" if I feel good about the amount of exercise I've done or if I have done well eating healthy. I love this food revolution!!

      July 13, 2010 at 19:39 | Report abuse |
  4. Anna

    Great story Marshall! Thanks for inspiring me. I will be following your story. You're an inspiration.

    July 2, 2010 at 17:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Robert

    Marshall...Awesome story. You can do it. Stay focused on your goal of being healthy.

    July 2, 2010 at 17:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Craig

    We need more positive stories like this. Keep up the awesome job!

    July 2, 2010 at 18:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. SJ

    Awesome story - Awesome kids! Truly an inspiration.

    July 2, 2010 at 18:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Janie

    Marshall, you are brilliant to do this! Good for you (and your whole future). What a wonderful family you have, including your sweet sister, to make this a fun lifestyle change. (Oh, you mentioned canned beef hash. Not only is it fatty, but by avoiding it, you're also avoiding some potentially bad toxins from the can's metal, or if it's lined with a plastic material, you're potentially avoiding bisphenolA (BPA), a nasty hormone disruptor that's a good one to avoid.) So, anyway... you rock!

    July 2, 2010 at 18:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Alex Reid

      Marshall just read all the posts, including this, and left the office blushing......thank you for your support

      July 2, 2010 at 20:32 | Report abuse |
  9. pam from Iowa Falls Ia !!

    So proud of you Marshall keep inspiring the nation! Love you all!

    July 2, 2010 at 20:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Susan

    Way to go, Marshall,forming good health habits now that will follow you all through life ! And good for big sister, Jordan, supporting you along the way.

    July 2, 2010 at 21:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Linda

    Wow what a kid already taking responsibility for his own life and taking control. I am so proud of you and wish more kids could really learn from you. Thanks for being a leader!

    July 2, 2010 at 21:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Rob

    Great work, Marshall! Glad to see you're focusing more on the health aspects of eating well, rather than the weight. That's what's most important, and that'll help you avoid falling into the pitfalls of eating disorders later in life and constantly having to be 'dieting'. Great work, keep it up!

    July 2, 2010 at 21:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. j-money

    your a champ kid, I wish you good health and good luck. I know how it feels, I was 265 in my junior year of high school and I lost 70 lbs of fat and gained a lot of muscle in about a year and I am still keeping it off today (i'm 19). I hope you succeed it feels great once you get past the first week.

    July 2, 2010 at 22:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • suzannah

      That's wonderful to hear j-money. Congratulations to you. You have every right to be very proud of your accomplishment.

      July 4, 2010 at 12:16 | Report abuse |
  14. Brandy

    John Kerry you should be absolutely ashamed of yourself for posting such a horrible comment. Marshall, you are truly an inspiration! I have an 11 year old son who struggles with his weight as well and we work hard at keeping active in sports and eating healthy but he has to be careful to not put on extra weight during non-sports seasons. So glad you are not just looking at getting to a certain number on the scale. We just try to focus on being healthy and not being obsessed with a number. Keep up the awesome work!!!

    July 2, 2010 at 22:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Dad

    Marshall, I have never been more proud of you.

    July 3, 2010 at 00:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rebecca

      I think its really sweet of you and your family to offer your son support on this! Not many parents do these days.

      July 3, 2010 at 02:01 | Report abuse |
    • lee1947

      This is a family in the true sense of the word. It makes me proud to see such support for Marshall from his sister as well as his parents. BTW Thanks to dad for his service and thanks to his family, they serve also.

      July 3, 2010 at 13:30 | Report abuse |
    • Alex

      Fortunately I did not read the negative comment........Thank you everyone else for the positive thoughts. One thing I really wish I had been able to communicate during the interview is that 1) it is only the parents responsibility for what their children eat. Its not McDonald's fault or anyone else. Its also the parents responsibility to be aware of what is going on, and in our case in the absence of the crud you would expect in a household with an obese child there must be some genetic factor in partnership with a sedentary lifestyle. And that brings up 2) its the the parents responsibility to figure the best way to reach and teach a child. Visual, auditory, tactile....etc. This challenge of Marshall's is geared towards working with his strengths and hopefully leave a permanent positive mark on him.

      July 3, 2010 at 17:53 | Report abuse |
    • alex

      Hello, you may remember leaving a positive comment about our summer project, Portion Size Me. Now we are creating a game to help teach kids about health and nutrition. Please visit our kickstarter project site to complete its funding. We really could use your support. Thank you so very much!

      November 1, 2011 at 17:21 | Report abuse |
  16. Daphne outten

    by doing this you have touch the lives of many young children keep it up, i am praying for you . I have a 10 year old girl and here name is danevya outten and she need too lose a lot of wigth also and you have inspirated me to help my child thanks love always

    July 3, 2010 at 00:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Daphne outten

    great kid i am proud of you god bless you and your family for beaing therefor you.

    July 3, 2010 at 00:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Maria

    Good job, kid! Now if you can just add 30 minutes of cardio a day (maybe a treadmill or treadclimber) you will really see the weight come off.

    July 3, 2010 at 00:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mike

      You're correct about working on his cardio, but a treadmill?? The kid is ten years old! He should be out playing sports and games with his other fat friends. He'll lose weight, have fun, and still be able to enjoy a couple of big macs a month.

      July 4, 2010 at 12:00 | Report abuse |
    • digistate

      Way to go Marshall, knowledge is always the key, know and understand what you are eating to the fullest and then it becomes second nature and you will just know it by heart when you are older and will have developed eating AND lifestyle habits to grow old and happy with!!
      @Mike: common man, your post had credibility until you used "other fat kids"...be supportive, not cynical and/or critical. Again, your suggestions for activities were spot on but your delivery was unnecessary.

      July 4, 2010 at 13:35 | Report abuse |
  19. Rebecca

    Awesome job! Keep it up!

    July 3, 2010 at 01:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Ryann

    Good job Marshall, you are wise beyond your years! I'm am usually an active person and my diet is about a "B" but in the past 1-2 years I've stopped working out and am far less active in general and my sugar addiction has taken over. I wish I could re-enlist in the army RIGHT NOW and get back on track. Please share your tips on kicking sugar! I'm 29 but I'm not too proud to accept help from a 10-year-old!

    July 3, 2010 at 02:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sarah

      sugar, the ultimate enemy! always the culprit! but it's just so good!

      July 3, 2010 at 08:18 | Report abuse |
  21. Chris

    Holy crap, he weighs 162 pounds and he's 10??? That's more than I weigh and I am a 22 year old man.... At least he has realized it and is trying to lose weight, he needs to do cardio exercise however, he will never truly lose a lot of weight until he east well and exercises.

    July 3, 2010 at 03:33 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Diana

      Holy Crap, Chris ... do you really think overweight people don't know they're overweight?!? Do you really think it helps when people, such as yourself, point out their problems? I truly hope you don't have to encounter someone pointing out your problems in such an insensitive way.

      July 4, 2010 at 12:03 | Report abuse |
  22. AndrewJ

    Thanks Marshall for sharing valuable information...My height is 5 feet and 8 inches and weight is 300 pounds. I am planning to have Lap Band surgery. Gone through few resources like http://www.FreeLapBandSurgery.com and more and collected information also consulted with my family doctor. Now i am in dilemma, what to do what not to do...Anyways thanks for sharing.

    July 3, 2010 at 07:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Beverly

      Andrew, I understand your dilemma. I also checked out WLS. I made the decision to NOT have either Lap-Band or By-pass. I decided surgery was too serious and now once again, I'm trying to adjust my eating and life-long habits. Good luck with whatever decision you make.

      July 3, 2010 at 11:23 | Report abuse |
    • Jaci

      I know of too many people who went the surgery route just to gain the weight back. Diet changes and exercise are the best way, IMO. I have reduced my BMI from 44.4 to 36.0 (50 pound loss) in 4 months by just changing my eating habits and exercising.

      July 5, 2010 at 14:13 | Report abuse |
  23. Kim

    Marshall, I am sitting here in Afghanistan reading about you and your journey to retake your life and reverse a potentally life threatening disease. I am beginning my journey tomorrow morning. I am inspired by your story and courage to do this all on your own without surgery. Even individuals who have surgery are not always successful as the different surgeries can reverse it. Great job and I want to hear how everything turns out for you. You are truely an inspiration to everyone...including soldiers stationed about 8000 miles away.

    July 3, 2010 at 08:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Sarah

    You are an inspiration to many, Marshall! I applaud you on your determination and efforts...good luck to you!

    July 3, 2010 at 08:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Alex Reid

    Marshall just read all these wonderful comments. I think he is flattered and a little surprised. He told me to write a response specific to one.......these are his words "AndrewJ you want to get the surgery but dont. When you get the surgery it does not teach you anything about how to eat better."

    July 3, 2010 at 10:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Athee

      Marshal;
      Excellent, simply excellent. Now I am sitting here asking myself why a 10 year old boy can work to change his life and I can not. I am about to turn 33 and I am 340(ish) lbs. I am going to start tonight, with you as my inspiration. Grilled Porobella and Eggplany tonight....YUM!

      July 4, 2010 at 09:01 | Report abuse |
  26. Storyburn

    This could could get his body back by age 12 and he will be eternally happy he did that

    July 3, 2010 at 10:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Peter

    Marshall – You're an inspiration to us all. Keep up the good work and this work ethic will translate into other parts of your life. You're a great kid!

    July 3, 2010 at 10:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Beverly

    Marshall, you're my new hero. I'm an older lady (62) and your story has inspired me. If I can follow your example, it will make my doctor VERY happy.

    July 3, 2010 at 11:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. av

    Marshall,
    Eating vegetables is easier than one thinks, because they have a lot of natural flavors. Grill vegetables and add a dash of salt and pepper. Eat it with a little rice or bread and a bowl of Greek Yogurt for Protein – Add fruit to it for any flavor you want.
    Try this for once a day for either lunch or dinner daily and watch the difference it makes in your overall life.
    I am a born vegetarian and hence a lot easier for me. I am never 'tempted' to try any Meat. BUT I can understand that it is a lot of discipline that allows you to do what you are doing.
    You ROCK Kiddo.

    July 3, 2010 at 12:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. L

    OMG, where do I start? When I saw this story and read about you, it brought back memories of when my daughter went through this exact same thing. When she was 10, she was eating a lot of unhealthy snacks( cookies, chips, a huge meal after school because she was always hungry.) When she was 12, she was about 170 pounds and her dad said, "We need to say something to her." I was worried about her self-esteem, but she was already unhappy about her weight. That and she was in junior high, and looks are kind of important at that age. They shouldn't be, but that's life. Anyway, she and I both weighed ourselves and I was about 168-170. I was shocked that I had let myself go, too! So we both started reading labels, counting calories, eating healthy snacks, and exercising A LOT. We even did push ups and situps twice a day( because her PE teacher said she wasn't passing her PE tests) and walked the dogs twice a day. Biking, swimming and dance classes also. Well, I do the dance classes. Also, in her PE classes, she really pushed herself to work harder. Now, two years later, I weigh 140, she weighs 120, and we are both so much happier. It took about a year to lose most of the weight, and then another year to lose some more, so don't be too worried if it doesn't come off all at once. You need to give your body time to adjust. And water. Drink lots of water. And if you ever get hungry at night, eat a bowl of cereal with fruit instead of ice cream. That's what we do. Good luck. I hope it works out for you!!!!!!! ;0

    July 3, 2010 at 12:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. L

    Oh, one last note. Her father was so inspired by her that he started working out, too, and got back into shape. Her younger sister is still pretty skinny so I make sure she eats healthy snacks so she doesn't end up like her older sister did. Good luck!!!!!!! ;0

    July 3, 2010 at 12:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • luvsthecity

      With all due respect L, there is no need to put the burden of your younger daughter avoiding obesity on your older daughter. Instead of saying she won't end up like her older sister, you should say, so she doesn't end up like YOU. (Hurts, doesn't it?) One daughter is not responsible for the poor habits of the other. They both take their lead from their parents. Be careful how you refer to this around your children...they are all impressionable.

      July 3, 2010 at 17:46 | Report abuse |
  32. Cali

    10 yrs old and 162 lbs? Father in the military? Cannot blame this on the child....the parents look like they shoved food in his mouth to get the kid to stop whining over whatever it is he was throwing a tantrum at. Cannot blame the child, the parents should know better.

    July 3, 2010 at 12:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Alex

      Please read response to "Dad" above. This parent is taking full responsibility! Thank you.

      July 3, 2010 at 17:55 | Report abuse |
    • Brandy

      I am constantly amazed by people who post such negativity on these stories. Instead of focusing on what a great job this boy and his family are doing in dealing with weight issues, you want to point fingers of blame at the parents. I'm guessing you either do not have children or think you are parent of the year and never make mistakes. Grow up.

      July 4, 2010 at 21:14 | Report abuse |
  33. Alisha

    Marshall–

    As a teacher, I am very impressed with your positive attitude in this journey! It is amazing to me that you have started this journey on your own and pushing yourself. You will go great places in life with this determination. Keep up the hard work. Maybe this coming school year you can talk to your new teacher to make sure that all snack activities at school are also healthy? I am an avid exerciser (just this last year) and also watch what I eat. I plan to make sure all my students are now learning how to eat healthy also.

    July 3, 2010 at 13:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Lori

    Marshall, keep up the great work!! You have more motivation than a lot of adults do and you have given me hope that I can lose my own excess weight. I began gaining weight around age 12–food was my comfort in dealing with childhood abuse. I remember getting teased and how much that hurt as a kid. I'm sooo glad to hear you and your sister have decided to try and eat healthy and that you want to lose your excess weight. Like I said, it gives me hope-if YOU can do it, I can do it too! Can't wait to get an update and Marshall? IF you happen to slip? Don't quit, just keep at it and you will succeed!

    July 3, 2010 at 13:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Kent Allard

    The stretched CNN video makes everyone look fat with a melon head.

    July 3, 2010 at 14:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. AshannaK

    I congratulate this young man and hope he achieves his goal.
    He knows better than the average adult that being overweight
    is detrimental to one's health. May he be an insiration to anyone
    interested in losing weight.

    July 3, 2010 at 15:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Melissa Lishner

    Marshall – Good job and good luck on your weight loss journey. Please try to add some cardio to your lifestyle – swimming, running, bking, baseball as it will help with the weight loss and be fun besides! Focus on fruits, veggies and lean protein. Keep up the good work – you are an inspiration to all of us!

    July 3, 2010 at 15:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Joe

    Sweet potatoes are not the way to go. Horrible for your pancreas, and your weight loss goals. Switch the soda/pasta/rice/bread/potatoes/yams for vegetables. Also, try not to cook so many types of food... cooking food takes out its nutritional value.

    July 3, 2010 at 17:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Athee

      Joe;

      I wholly disagree. Sweet Potatoes (not yams, two completely different things often confused as the same) are one of the most nutrionally dense foods on the planet. They are a wonderful addition, but all things in moderation.

      July 4, 2010 at 09:26 | Report abuse |
  39. luvsthecity

    Best of luck Marshall! I am overweight too and am on the same journey that you are on to get healthy! You are very lucky that your family is involved. I would like to add one tip to help with your success. In the summer, when I want something sweet, I get a bowl of watermelon. I take a whole watermelon and cut it up and put it in a tupperware bowl. That way, when I want something sweet, it is right there for me! No excuses for me to make bad choices and the watermelon is very filling! Good luck to you!

    July 3, 2010 at 17:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. momof2

    My 13 year old daughter recently decided to become a vegetarian in part because of the movie "Supersize Me." She has always been built more solidly and now since the onset of puberty has become more overweight. She's very healthy, plays 3 sports and is very active, but is about 5 feet tall and about 140 lbs. I love when kids take control over their own health. As I emphasize to my daughter, it's not about being thin, it's about being healthy. You go Marshall!!

    July 3, 2010 at 18:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Be a kid.

    Anyone else see the problem that a 10 year old is worried about weight? Yes, take responsibility, blah blah, but what about being a kid? What about letting the parents worry about what you eat? They should be the ones taking responsibility as well. Good job Marshall. However, taking responsibility about being overweight is not being a kid. Go outside and play, run around, enjoy life. After all the next 70 years of your life will be all about responsibility.

    July 3, 2010 at 20:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Catie

      I don't see the problem with a 10 year old being worried about his weight, Be a kid, because it clearly states that he is focusing on his health, not his weight. His parents are taking responsibility and are involved...try to read and listen before making comments, k? As parents, we need to put the right information and the right foods out there, but it's never too early to learn to make good choices. My son is 12 and just now becoming cognizant of what to eat to make his body run well and to keep him feeling good. Long term gain over short term gratification. You are nailing it, Marshall...thank you so much for putting your story out there so other kids (and adults) can see it. Our nation's kids' health is sliding down a slippery slope and it's great to see you making changes for the better.

      July 3, 2010 at 22:10 | Report abuse |
    • Sarah

      The problem is most parents these days do not care what their kids eat. Its all about convenience and lets face it, its more convenient to run through a fast food drive thru than to cook. Just the other day I saw a 6yrold who had to of weighed 80lbs, why? I saw Why. He started screaming for a bag of chips, and to shut him up his mother gave it to him.
      I salute Marshall and his parents. More families need this type of thing.

      July 3, 2010 at 22:58 | Report abuse |
  42. Jaime in Omaha

    Hey Marshall,
    I think the best part about this story is that instead of becoming depressed and making your situation worse, you decided to make better choices. As you grow up you will continue to use this valuable lesson you have already taught yourself – do the right thing and keep doing it. If you go off track, get back on track. You (and I) didn't get to be overweight by eating just one dessert and you won't get healthy by skipping just one dessert, but you are on your way. Good luck you you and all you have inspired to make the next right choice, whether that is listening to their doctors' advice, quitting smoking or drugs, eating healthier, or exercising more. Even at 10 you have the power to make better choices. Keep it up!

    July 3, 2010 at 21:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. rd

    good job, bud. keep it up.

    July 4, 2010 at 01:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Wilson James

    What a great combination! A young man who is taking responsibility for his own health in a very practical way; supported by a family who are setting an example by taking responsibility themselves. The whole family dynamic is an example for families everywhere and I can only hope this ongoing story gets a really wide audience. You may never know how many lives you touch in a positive way, but you are seeing a tiny sampling here.

    Congrats to Marshall and all of the Reid family.

    July 4, 2010 at 02:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Bex

    Good luck, Marshall! You can do it!!! You're awesome!

    July 4, 2010 at 07:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. KMason

    God Bless you Marshall. You are an inspiration to alot of people. You can do it. My son at the age of 12 did the same thing and lost 29 lbs. He is about to turn 17 and runs 5 days a week now and can do 6 to 7 miles in one run. Some of it won't be easy and you may feel like giving up, but don't give in, it is well worth all of the effort. You are awesome and I commend your whole family for their support.

    July 4, 2010 at 11:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. mn

    that's awesome that you are taking charge of your life. most adults, including myself can't do that. but i am always trying, i don't give up. do things that you love, like swimming, a great exercise overall. or biking. and your family better be in on this and supporting you all the way, so imp.! hard to do this alone. doesn't mean you can't enjoy your foods, but getting everybody moving is key. go for family walks etc., you know what i mean. i was tied up with kids but i started taking them on walks with me. they fight sometimes, but i try not to give up. i keep going. trust me, when you get to my age, things happen overnight. i wish i had better taken care of myself and no developed bad habits or walked or did some outdoor hobby better in young age. but never too late to start. way proud of you. wish you the best. pls keep us posted!

    July 4, 2010 at 18:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. kccody

    I teach in an elem school and see lots of heavy children of all ages. Marshall- good for you! You will feel better, look better and be happier making healthy food choices. Please keep us all updated on your success!

    July 4, 2010 at 19:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Patrice

    GREAT idea, Marshall, for both making the choice to try and live a more healthy lifestyle AND for sharing your journey with other young people across the country. There are many young people dealing with weight issues- I was one of them when I was your age, and I understand how easy it is to feel like you are alone and none of the other kids understand you. Sharing your journey will hopefully show other young people that they are not alone and, like you, can work positively on making healthy lifestyle choices.

    July 4, 2010 at 20:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Mar

    If all children took such an interest as Marshall has we would be much better off. We do tend to live in the moment and not think of the outcome. Good for you for stepping up young man and inspiring other kids and adults to do the same. All my prayers are that you reach your goal! Good job, Michelle Obama would be proud of your efforts.

    July 4, 2010 at 23:46 | Report abuse | Reply
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