This may be the right moment to give a gift for which you, your family, and your daughter will be grateful for years to come: the opportunity to take first steps on a journey toward a healthier, happier, and more fulfilling life.

Gem Academy is a boarding school treatment program for adolescent girls with obesity. We specialize in helping our girls overcome the physical and emotional challenges related to their condition. We work with them to develop a healthy skill set to ensure their physical health and emotional well-being in the years ahead. A lot of our work revolves around motivating our girls to take control over their lives and mobilize their efforts in the here and now. We teach them to move beyond waiting, procrastinating, and putting off what they know needs to happen. We teach them to move forward with purpose.

If you’re thinking this sounds like exactly what your daughter needs, then you’re probably also asking yourself this series of questions: when would be the best time to begin? Sooner? Later? Sooner is better, and the New Year provides the perfect opportunity.

Begin 2019 by Keeping Promises

One of the most celebrated – yet completely dysfunctional – traditions in our culture is the New Year’s Resolution. We plan ahead. We’re ready for a new life. We draw a metaphorical line in the sand. We declare that after 11:59:59 pm December 31st our lives will start fresh. The diets, workouts, healthy relationships, and academic achievement all magically start when the clock strikes midnight. We discover our true purpose! We connect with the big why that makes everything else fall into place. It doesn’t matter that previous resolutions have gone unfulfilled and left us with unresolved emotions.

We do it anyway.

This year, though, can be different – and Gem Academy can be the difference. We see every day as a new beginning. Every day is as loaded with potential as New Year’s Day. Every day is filled with high expectations and sets a precedent for empowerment. We love to recognize the rare level of achievements our girls attain on a regular basis, and since only 91% of people who make New Year’s Resolutions do not follow through on them, this year – if your daughter comes to Gem – she’ll be one of the rare 9% who actually keep the promises they make to themselves. At Gem Academy, we promise we’ll celebrate her success every day.

A Natural Break in the School Year

Most schools start their Spring Semester in January, which means the new year creates a perfect opportunity: girls can begin Gem Academy with no worries about mid-semester academic credit transfers. Gem’s fully accredited academics provide AP and Honors offerings as well as an extended curriculum specially designed to educate our students about their condition and what it takes to manage it permanently.

The Holiday Challenges

The winter holiday season is largely driven by food: decadent meals and desert tables filled with treats are cornerstones of our celebrations and gatherings. Work events, parties with friends, core family celebrations and extended family events all revolve around eating. Those with a developed skill set, a well-formulated plan, and adequate support can navigate these situations effectively, but for an adolescent without a robust set of coping skills, the holidays can be a minefield of physical and emotional triggers that often cause a great deal of anxiety.

It’s possible to enter the season with high hopes and exit the season worse off than when you started, both physically and emotionally. It’s also possible to give up before the season begins. If a teenage girl knows she’s not in a good place to manage the holidays and resolves to “take the blow” and deal with the consequences later, she perpetuates a habit prevalent to those with obesity: placing value on everything but their own health and well-being.

Another situation that doesn’t get talked about enough is seeing friends and family for the first time in a while – sometimes years. Depending where the teenager is with their weight, what a family member may view as tough love or a well-intentioned joke can hurt deeply, and even ruin the entire holiday season. Just one casual misplaced phrase can do it, because pressure and judgment that comes from inside the family circle is far more impactful than when it comes from outside.

The Work is Worth the Effort

The process of treating obesity as a disease takes work, sacrifice, and discipline. The stakes are high: long-term physical health and sustained emotional well-being. Teaching a young woman she should take care of herself – and teaching her to make it a priority – is a lesson that’s never too early to initiate. Adolescents often look to parents to gauge the seriousness a situation – so when they see a parent start the conversation about Gem Academy leading into the December holidays, they begin to understand the sacrifices their loved ones will make for their long-term health and happiness. This example from those most important to them can be the extra motivation needed to make real life changes.

We realize the decision to seek help for your daughter is huge, and the thought of being apart right after the holidays may be extremely tough to envision. But if the information you’ve just read speaks to any of your concerns – if you’re having a lightbulb moment right now – it might be time to make that tough vision a reality. This may be the right moment to give a gift for which you, your family, and your daughter will be grateful for years to come: the opportunity to take first steps on a journey toward a healthier, happier, and more fulfilling life.