Community Papers

New Westminster contestant wants to be daughter’s role model

When Alicia Worobec’s daughter Charlotte, who is almost three, sees mommy and daddy eating fast food and she can’t, she wants to know why.

It’s one reason Alicia  wants to change her lifestyle to be a role model for Charlie, as her family affectionately calls her—and to that end she’s signed up to be New Westminster’s representative in the Green Fighters Challenge. It’s being put on by Kin’s Farm Market in the 13 Lower Mainland communities where it has a store. Black Press and the Canadian Cancer Society are also partners in the campaign.

Alicia hopes the 13-week contest will be the impetus to change habits built up over a lifetime, for her daughter’s sake.

“That’s the accountability. This is the reminder about why we do it. The older she gets the more vocal she gets. Having to explain why you’re eating French fries and she’s not is not a wonderful conversation,” says Alicia as she munches a carrot and zucchini sticks during lunch at Royal City Centre. “Charlie doesn’t know what a diet is.”

Alicia, 32, is five-four and 250 pounds, and wants to break her family’s cycle of bad habits of overeating and smoking.

“Not necessarily an environment that enforces the importance of being healthy.”

She’s struggled with weight all her life. When Alicia was 13 she lost a lot of weight, and kept it off because she played sports, but that didn’t continue into adulthood.

When she got pregnant she lost some weight, but after the birth wasn’t able to keep it off, although she did avoid returning to smoking.

“Our family has tried every diet out there. We’d lose weight like crazy but it would go back on. There was never really a desire to change our habits,” she says.

She wants the yo-yo effect to end.

“You can’t keep food out of the house, you just have to learn how to eat,” says Alicia.

Eating is also a happy experience, often done in social settings.

“It’s everywhere, and when you are trying to change your weight you don’t think of that sometimes. It’s hard for people to understand that food is something that can be abused. They don’t consider it like alcohol, smoking or drugs, but in a way it can be.”

When she began eliminating sugar and caffeine intake it was like quitting smoking.

“I had the [same] headaches, nauseousness and felt rageful.”

The Green Fighters Challenge appealed for a couple of reasons. For one, even though it was a competition there is still a strong support system for participants.

“It wasn’t a Hunger Games focus where they’re not really addressing the realities of your health, not how you got there in the first place,” she says. An added attraction is the Canadian Cancer Society connection, an organization for which she hopes to raise $10,000.

While she was pregnant her mother was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma and had a large tumour in her ear canal. Her mom put off surgery to see her granddaughter being born.

After the surgery the doctors said had they not taken it out when they did it would have metastasized and she’d have only a few months to live.

The 13 Green Fighter challenge candidates went through orientation day last Saturday.

They listened to an inspirational talk from cancer survivor Natasha Thom, got motivated by Deb Rondeau, who lost 250 pounds, and got nutrition and exercise tips from Sara Hodson, a clinical exercise physiologist.

Alicia also had her ‘before’ photo taken in a sports bra and shorts, which she admits was a bit embarrassing.

By the end of the day she was excited about the project. And exhausted.

“It was a very emotional day. There were lots of tears and laughter. We’re working to help each other, it’s not a competitive environment, more supportive.”

• Alicia will be at the Royal City Centre Kin’s Farm Market on Saturday, March 9, 2 to 4 p.m. where she’ll complete her first in-store challenge, including collecting donations for the Canadian Cancer Society.

• Follow Alicia’s progress through the weekly challenges here in the NewsLeader, and at

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