The Tiger Woods Foundation's Fit Plan changed my life in more ways than I could have imagined. Before I began attending after-school classes at the Tiger Woods Learning Center, I didn't realize all the harm I was doing to my body. I thought that because I was thin, I didn't have to worry about what food I put into my body.
Minutes before I entered my first Fit Plan class, I decided that I would go into it with an open mind about all the new information I would receive. I felt so confident when I walked into the classroom because I thought I knew so much about nutrition and fitness, especially since I am a golfer and former cross-country runner. I remember when our teacher, Mrs. Jordan, asked us if we knew how many food groups we had in our food pyramid. I told myself, "I am pretty sure it's seven." It shocked me that I was incorrect.
After that moment, I realized that there are so many things I didn't know about my health. I became obsessed with wanting to know the answers, and I was very blessed that Mrs. Jordan and the Fit Plan provided me and my classmates with all of this knowledge.
At school and at home, I became a new person. As I went to each Fit Plan class, I learned something new. Mrs. Jordan would teach us how to create healthy snacks in class and different types of exercises. For the first time, I felt passionate about something I was learning, and I couldn't believe many people my age didn't know this information. I felt it was very important to become an advocate for this cause. I started at home one day by going up to my mother and telling her everything I knew. I asked her to switch our white bread for 100-percent whole-wheat bread. Then I asked to start using extra virgin olive oil. Little by little, my family became informed, and we changed our eating habits. Moderation was the key.
One day, I got so frustrated with school lunch that I began to make my own healthy snack. My friends at first thought I was strange because I was trading in my hot Cheetos for pita chips and hummus. After a couple of days, they were tempted to try my food. I was happy to share. They began to ask me for recipes and information. I was so proud of myself because not only did I advocate my knowledge with my family, but also with my friends. I do believe everyone wants to know about how to eat better, but they don't know where to get information. I continued to retake the course until the TWLC volunteer manager asked me if I wanted to begin volunteering for Mrs. Jordan with her Fit Plan class. I said "yes" with no hesitation. Many great doors have opened in my life from that day.
The Fit Plan means so much to me because I was one of the original students, and I have seen it take off. I truly have seen how this plan has changed many people's lives. It certainly changed my life in many great ways. Now, I love going out for a run or just staying home and doing yoga. I enjoy trying new types of food from any of the five food groups. I will always advocate for healthy living because it's so important for every generation.
Alma Gutierrez is currently a freshman at California State University, Fullerton. Although she has graduated high school, Alma continues to teach the Fit Plan at the Tiger Woods Learning Center. The Fit Plan is part of TWLC Lessons, a collection of original curricula developed and tested at the groundbreaking Tiger Woods Learning Center and distributed to students nationwide. Each curriculum contains interactive and informative lesson plans that focus on subjects important to young people, including exploring careers, planning for the future, living a healthy lifestyle and the importance of making a difference in your community.