Malina, 10, has made a few small changes to her diet and exercise habits which have made for a big, positive transformation. 

Before I started at the weight management clinic at the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital, I felt bullied and like I had no friends. I felt really overweight and unhealthy.

I didn’t realise I needed help myself, but my parents noticed that I wasn’t eating healthily and I was eating too much. I didn’t listen to them when they tried to teach me what was right and wrong when it came to eating.

The clinic counsellor and dietician have really helped me by teaching me what I should and shouldn’t eat and how much.

My mum and dad also helped me make healthier food choices by buying the right foods and packing healthy lunches into a special lunchbox with compartments for different portions.

“We put pictures of healthy lunch and snack ideas on the fridge so it would help me make better decisions on what I should take for school.

I also do more swimming lessons, training and competitions, which I love. I swim up to five times a week and I put my name down at school for any extra sports.

Malina’s tips for eating healthier include eating dark chocolate rather than milk chocolate, and swapping salt and chips for veggie chips with a dip.

I also recommend other kids to try slowing down while eating (30 seconds each mouthful) and wait 20 minutes to see if you are still hungry because your brain takes that long to register that you are full.

If I am still hungry, I have more vegetables or salad. I also drink lots of water instead of juices and soft drinks.

I found the changes very hard to do at first and sometimes it can still be hard even though I have been doing it for a while now. Consistency is really important.

I feel more energetic and fitter and stronger. I also feel happier and less emotional. My parents are trying to get the best out of me and I know eating healthier can change my life for the better.