How To Lose Weight For Kids?
According to the American Heart Association, one in three children and teenagers in the United States are either overweight or obese. That means millions of our children are dealing with weight issues. Because of this, more and more parents now view childhood obesity as their number health concern as it pertains to their children.
So now the question is what can be done to help children of all ages lose weight in a safe and healthy manner? The good news is there are several simple things you can do as a parent to help steer your child in the right direction.
Here are 10 things you can do starting today to help your child get their weight under control fast:
#1 – Lead By Example
As a parent or guardian it is your responsibility to lead by example. As the saying goes, children do what they see and not necessarily what they are told. If you want your child to start eating healthier, make sure you are doing the same.
Always remember your children are watching every move you make. If you make healthy choices there is a good chance they will do the same.
As W.E.B Dubois once said, “Children learn more from what you are than what you teach.” Always remember that. Show your children what healthy looks like, don’t just tell them.
#2 – Make Eating at The Table Mandatory
Studies show when you eat in front of the TV, you eat more without even realizing it. This is one of the easiest ways for children to pack on additional pounds.
Another study also showed when children eat the majority of their meals with their family, the chances of them being overweight decreases. That’s why from now on, eating at the table should be mandatory. For instance, set aside an hour for dinner time every night so the family come together and enjoy a good meal.
#3 – Limit The Amount of Soda and Fruit Punch In Your Child Drinks
Sodas and fruit punch are full of sugar. They are also high in calories and for the most part, provide absolutely no nutritional value. That’s why it is so important you limit the number of these drinks your child consumes on a daily basis.
As you can imagine, telling your child they can no longer drink their favorite drink won’t be easy. Especially if your child is used to drinking three or four of these drinks everyday. Instead of cutting the drinks out all at once, take the gradual approach.
Switch from four drinks a day to three drinks a day for a week. The following week, eliminate another drink. Within a few weeks your child will be down to drinking just one of these sugary drinks a day. Because of this approach, they will be consuming fewer calories which will ultimately lead to them losing weight and feeling a lot healthier.
#4 – Get Involved In Recreational Sports
When I was growing up, we had recess everyday. It was actually mandatory to go outside and play. These days however, recess is a thing of the past. More and more schools have completely eliminated it which means parents must find a way for their children to get some sort of physical activity during the week.
One of the best ways to do this is to sign your child up for a recreational sports league. Chances are there are several different leagues right in your local area. From soccer, to basketball, to softball, to cheer leading, you can easily find something your child would enjoy and get them involved.
Not only will this help them get in shape, it will also help them boost their overall self esteem.
#5 – Fill The Cupboards With Healthy Snacks
Children, as well as adults, love to snack. One way to offset the calories that come from unhealthy snacks is to simply fill your cupboards with healthy snacks. Some great options in this regard include cheese, fruit, smoothies, yogurt and oatmeal snack cakes just to name a few.
#6 – Eat At Home As Often As You Can
When you prepare your meals at home, you have control over everything. That means you can avoid all the salt, sugar and grease that’s usually included in restaurant meals.
However, as you very well know, its not always feasible to cook at home. Sometimes your only option is to grab something fast and keep going. The good news is more and more restaurants are becoming health-conscious and offering their consumers healthy meals.
A few great fast food restaurants including Chipotle, Chick fila, Panera Bread, Subway, Wendys, Taco Bell, and yes, even McDonald’s offer some of the most relatively healthy options on their menu these days.
Always look for grilled items on the menu. They tend to be lower in calories and not be made with all the grease fried items are made with.
#7 – Make Working Out Fun
If there is one thing children love, its having fun. While getting your child involved in recreational activities is a huge step in the right direction, it is just as important for you as a parent to take time to workout with your child at least 2 times a week.
This could be anything from taking a bike ride around the neighbourhood to playing hide and go seek in the backyard. As long as they are getting their heart rate up and having fun in the process, you are on the right rack.
Here are few more ways your child can have fun and burn calories at the same time:
Fly a kite
Working out as a family is one of the best ways to strengthen the family unit.
#8 – Make Sure Your Child Eats Breakfast Everyday
As you very well know, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. My mother used to say it and I am sure yours did too. Breakfast literally primes your body for the day ahead. When your child wakes up in the morning, their body has been in a fasted state for the 7 to 8 hours they were sleeping.
Breakfast is the meal that gets the metabolism revved up and ready to go. But breakfast does much more than just help your child lose weight, it will also help them perform better in school. Children who eat breakfast are able to concentrate better and thus do better.
Keep in mind that just because its breakfast time doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be a “breakfast” food. Any healthy option will do. For instance, a banana or peanut butter and toast are quick and easy options for breakfast.
#9 – Limit TV Time
Today more and more children are spending hours sitting in front of the TV playing video games or watching their favorite TV shows. Inactivity leads to obesity. Limit TV time in your home to 2 hours a day.
If your child is bored have them do some sort of physical activity instead of sitting in front of a TV screen. Even reading a book is better than starring at the TV for hours.
#10 – Seek Professional Help
If after 3 to 6 months you still see no changes in your child’s weight, consider taking them to see their health care provider. A health care provider will give them a thorough check up to ensure there are no medical issues, causing them to gain weight.
If no medical issues are present, a doctor may put the child on a more structured program that will be supervised by a medical team. These programs are designed specifically for children and will often be the boost your child needs to get their weight under control.
This type of program should be your last result. Try to work with your child as much as you can before requesting a medical intervention.
#11 – Talk To Your Child
I saved this tip for last because it is just that important. In some cases, children are overweight because of what’s going on in their life. For example, if you have recently divorced your spouse, this can affect your child in a negative way.
Sit down and talk to your child and let them know its not their fault. Reassure them they have the love and support of both of their parents; they don’t have to choose between the two of you.
If your child has recently lost someone who was close to them such as a parent, sibling or friend, this can cause them to turn to food to deal with the pain. Look for organisations that help children deal with grief.
Last but not least, see if your child is being bullied. Unfortunately there is a lot of bullying going on in schools these days. If you notice your child’s weight is starting to go up for no particular reason, sit down and see if anything is going on at school. Once again, food is often a source of comfort for children who feel they have no where else to turn.
Let your child know you are there if they need someone to talk to.
A Few Things To Keep In Mind on
While being concerned about your child’s health is very understandable, you should avoid putting your child on a diet. Studies show this is not the best approach to helping a child lose weight. Instead, focus on the 11 tips outlined above.
Choose two or three tips and focus solely on those. Don’t try to do everything at once. This will cause your child, and even you, to become overwhelmed by the process and simply give up. Make things as easy as possible on both you and your child.
Start by making small changes. For instance, simply replacing one sugary drink with water everyday for a week is enough to eliminate up to 1000 empty calories. And while that may not seem like much, those calories will quickly add up and before you know it, your child will start to lose weight.
The key is to avoid putting the emphasis on losing weight and instead make it about getting healthy. No one wants to lose weight, but even children understand the importance of being healthy. Always remember small changes equal big results.
Another thing you should keep in mind is the importance of repetition. Helping your child change their habits won’t be easy. Trust me, they will fight you at every turn. Fight the urge to give in and continue promoting healthy habits in your child. Keep the end goal in mind.
Just like you constantly remind your child to brush their teeth in the morning, you must also remind your child to make healthy food choices throughout the day. If they hear it over and over again, it will become ingrained in their brain and they will be more likely to do it.
Make things easier on your child by ensuring they always have a delicious healthy snack on hand. Often times children just want something to eat. As long as it tastes great, they could care less if its healthy or not.
Preparing in advance is also important. There will always be times when its difficult to eat healthy. But if you have a plan in place, you won’t go too far off track. Do your research in advance to find places you can eat that offer healthy options.
You should also make sure you know what those healthy options are. This way you won’t stress yourself out, trying to figure out what you should and shouldn’t eat.
Last but not least, remember your child is watching everything you do. If you are telling them to eat healthy but you aren’t doing it yourself, everything you are saying will fall on deaf ears. You can’t just talk the talk. You also have to walk the walk. So be the best example you can be for your child. That is the best way to affect change.