The taunting words about her weight flung at the younger Hannah Cline kept her at times indoors and away from school.
“I still remember what was said and how I felt. That pain has never been forgotten,” said Cline. “It’s hard to believe that there have been so many nice things said about me now, but what is really ingrained in my mind, are the few terrible jokes that people made about me being fat. Words truly do last a lifetime.”
This past summer Cline worked at a camp that teaches children and adults how to lose weight and eat healthy, as well as build their-self-confidence and instruct them in how to handle bullies. When she is teaching the children at the camp about self-confidence she tells them to take the terrible comments and moments and use it as a self-motivator. “Don’t give people the opportunity to do that to you. Get it right this time, lose weight, and stand your ground knowing you look good,” said Cline.
Cline worked as a camp counselor of 11 girls, age ranging from nine – 17, for eight weeks.
“I have never had a more fulfilling and rewarding summer in my entire life,” she said. Watching the children put on the weight suits in the amounts they lost during the eight week camp proved gratifying to her. “It really helps them realize the weight that has been lifted off them, mentally and physically,” said Cline.
Cline called her work at the camp a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
“Although it was challenging and stressful at times, if I had to do it over again, I would definitely have made the same choice to come,” she said.
Cline taught nutrition, cooking and Zumba classes. During the nutrition classes, Cline discussed healthy eating, portion sizes and balanced diets. In the cooking classes, she educated everyone on how to cook healthfully yet deliciously. She taught them about counting calories and exchanging food, such as olive oil for butter. She also helped them to decipher food labels so they could understand them.
“I took a lot of things I learned in classes at Indiana State University and brought them down to the specific learning capacity of the kids I am teaching,” said Cline.
She created her lessons plans under the direction of a registered dietitian. She also spent time working in the kitchen to learn the culinary side of dietetics.
“I have really enjoyed working with these kids. I believe I have taught them a lot about nutrition, but so much more than that. They learn so many life lessons here and weight loss is almost the secondary goal here. We have taught them social skills, how to love themselves, and how to have a healthy relationship with food and their bodies,” said Cline, who was named Counselor of the Week in July.
But this all started after Cline helped herself and others lose weight when she was in high school. Facing her older sister’s wedding, Cline wanted to lose weight and for everyone to be proud of her as she stood in the bridal party. That started her on her weight loss journey and to studying for a career that she loves.
“But what kept me going after that was just knowing that I was rarely ever happy in life, being fat about 75 percent of it, so I had to change the only common denominator I knew of, my weight,” said Cline.
From a lifestyle of eating a lot of fast food, processed food, French fries and potato chips and not controlling her portions, she began eating more fruits and vegetables, while measuring what she ate. She also began to workout.
“I felt awesome. It was something I could control in my life and I knew I was in charge of my success,” said Cline.
When she hit her goal weight she felt overwhelmed by the positive emotion.
“My whole life, I tried losing weight and it never really happened. So many adults try so hard to lose weight, and I at 17 had enough will-power and self-motivation to lose 70 pounds. I did not have a workout buddy, I just had myself. I become my own inspiration and was successful in doing so,” she said.
Other students noticed her new svelte shape and asked her to write meal and workout plans for them.
“Someone said to me one day why don’t you do this as a career. I looked into it and gave it a shot,” said the Belle Union resident.
Now a junior at Indiana State, she just completed her first year in the dietetics program earning the Outstanding Dietetics Student of the Year through Indiana Dietetics Association and the Home Economists’ Guild in Indianapolis Scholarship of the Year.
“I think hard work pays off and pushing that extra mile, it’s nice to see it pay off,” said Cline.
Cline has been a member of the Indiana State’s Food and Nutrition Club for three years and has been president for one year. She prepared all the curriculum and lessons for each weekly meeting including menu planning, proper plating and diet balancing, eating out healthfully to name a few. She organized a cook-off similar to Food Network’s “Chopped.” She worked with club members in community service and to spread the word about healthy living around ISU campus.
She is part of the InterVarsity of Christian Fellowship at ISU and played intramural softball for three years. She coached girl’s kindergarten basketball team at the Boys and Girls Club for one year. She also volunteers in the community at the local food banks such as the Lighthouse Mission.
After she graduates she would like to work in a weight loss/outpatient unit at a local hospital or establishment.
“I want to help people get it right because I was in their shoes. I use to look all over the internet for info too. But it was just a temporary solution to a permanent problem. You can’t become healthier for the long haul on a fad diet, which is what you will mainly find on the internet. Studying to be a dietitian has motivated me more than ever to inform people of the true and only way to lose weight are smart and healthy food choices in proportion and adequate exercise,” said Cline.
Beth Pickerill is a media relations assistant in the Office of Communications and Marketing. She enjoys the non-healthy foods of steak and pizza and the healthy foods of watermelon, carrots and broccoli salad.