7-Year-Old Girl's Weight-Loss Journey Inspires Others: 'I Wanted to Show People I Was Above Their Bullying'
"My goal is to make myself feel better, but I also want to show other kids they can be healthy too," Jazzalynn "Jazzy" Barrientes tells PEOPLE
Nothing will stand in the way of 7-year-old Jazzalynn “Jazzy” Barrientes’ journey to leading a healthy life.
The first grader, who weighed 150 lbs. in May, decided to go on a “quest” this summer to improve her mental and physical well-being – and she has already lost 30 lbs.
Jazzy admits she was inspired to change her lifestyle after she was “tormented” by a bully in her San Antonio, Texas, elementary school, last year.
“It was time,” the first grader tells PEOPLE. “All these people in my class called me fat – even my friends – and it really hurt my feelings. I wanted to get healthy for me to live longer and also to show people I was above their bullying.”
Jazzy’s mother, Lucia Mendoza-Barrientes, says her daughter has struggled with her weight since she was 6 weeks old due to steroids she was taking because of her asthma.
“It was so hard seeing my baby come home crying every day,” Mendoza-Barrientes, 28, tells PEOPLE. “She hated school, she told me ‘Everyone thinks I’m ugly,’ and it just absolutely broke my heart. People didn’t know there were extenuating circumstances.”
So the spunky 7-year-old decided to take matters into her own hands. She informed her mother that she was going to get healthy and make a change in her life.
“I am so over-the-moon proud of her,” says Mendoza-Barrientes, a Walmart department manager. “I am inspired by her every day. Her four siblings and her dad and I, we all workout with her and eat healthy with her. We are on a family mission.”
Jazzy and her mother have been documenting her progress on social media with the hashtag #teamjazzy, in the hopes that by sharing her story, she will inspire other overweight kids to pursue active lifestyles.
Although Jazzy has already lost an impressive amount of weight, doctors say she still needs to lose 40 lbs. She says exercising three times a week and sticking to water, grilled meats and vegetables has helped her (slowly and healthily) get into shape.
Jazzy, who aspires to be a personal trainer when she grows up, says she “wants to help other kids get healthy.”
“My goal is to make myself feel better, but I also want to show other kids they can be healthy too and to show that bullying doesn t bother me,” she says. “And it shouldn’t bother anyone!”