Parents of overweight children have a difficult task. Because as much as they love their children, broaching the topic of weight loss can be tricky.
If your child is overweight, you want your child to know you love and accept him just the way he is. You want him to be confident. But you also want your child to be healthy.
How do you strike this balance? First, you must realize it’s your responsibility to determine what changes need to be made and help your kids make the chances through a positive example and support. If you’re unsure how to get your child on a healthier path, keep reading.
Determine the Cause
As you get started on the road to weight loss with your child, you must first realize her weight gain didn’t happen overnight. Unless your child has a rare medical condition or genetic factors that lead to weight gain, other factors are to blame. A few simple blood tests can help you determine if the weight gain is due to a medical condition. For the majority of kids—and adults, too—obesity is usually the result of a variety of factors including unhealthy eating habits, lack of physical activity, stress, psychological issues, and familial and societal influences.
When you understand the root of the problem, you’ll be able to deal with it more effectively and successfully.
Once you begin to incorporate changes to your child’s lifestyle and eating habits, reassure your child frequently of your love. Kids feel better about themselves when they know their parents are supportive. If parents, siblings, or kids at school tease a child about his weight or single the child out as different, the child’s self-esteem plummets.
Therefore, a child must feel so secure in his relationship with his parents that he’s comfortable talking with them about his weight concerns without feeling ashamed or embarrassed.
Lead By Example
Helping an overweight child is a family affair. That means everyone—not just the overweight child, must be taught healthy eating and lifestyle habits.
You can’t expect a child to choose carrot sticks when the rest of the family is eating chips and cookies. Fill the cupboards and refrigerator with fresh, low-calorie snack, drink, and meal options, and you’ll sidestep many common pitfalls to dieting. If junk food isn’t around, kids can’t eat it! And don’t avoid ice cream and cake altogether. Just save them for special occasions.
When getting started with a healthier diet, it may be difficult. Don’t force kids to eat healthy food! Just don’t give them an option. If that’s all there is to eat, they’ll eat it when they get hungry enough. Force feed your kids or treat healthy foods as punishments and desserts as rewards, and you’ll have a hard time improving your children’s eating habits. Instead, have a balanced view of food and teach kids there’s a time to enjoy healthy foods and desserts.
Also, make exercise a part of your family’s daily life. A great way to do this is to incorporate exercise into family time. Plan a family hike, go swimming together, go on a bike ride around the neighborhood, or play soccer in the backyard.
When not eating healthily or running around the neighborhood, don’t let your kids veg out in front of a screen. Put a time limit on sedentary activities such as watching television or playing video or computer games. Mindless eating and tempting food commercials are a big part of watching television. Get computers and televisions out of your child’s bedroom to make them less convenient and redirect your kid’s attention to active play outdoors. Set up a basketball goal, get them a bike, or build a play set. Raining? Get ‘em rain boots and let them loose!
It’ll take some time to adjust, but once your kids are accustomed to healthier lifestyles, they’ll have more energy, feel better, and be ready to take on the world!
Not Just for Today
Kids who are overweight are at an immediate risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, diabetes, bone problems, and low self-esteem. Long-term health risks for obese kids include heart disease, stroke, osteoarthritis, type 2 diabetes, and a number of different cancers.
Weight-Management University is HERE! Learn more about the Self Guided Educational Course that will teach you what you need to know to make exercise and nutrition a part of your healthy lifestyle for a permanent weight management solution.
If you live in the Gilbert area, treat yourself right by calling or emailing today to get started on an exercise program that will change your life for the best.
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