As much as I hate to admit, childhood obesity is becoming our cruel reality. We need to do everything in our power to help our children get healthy, even though it means food restrictions, diets, no sweets. Although sometimes it will mean ignoring diet advice because something that works well for adults may not always be the best for the kids.
The best way to help your child lose weight is to consult with his/her pediatrician because children have their own set of nutritional needs that their bodies need for a healthy development and growth. Get the rest of the family involved, change your old ways, replace bad habits with good ones to provide a healthier and fitter lifestyle not just for the overweight child but for the whole family as well.
Set the right weight goal
The first step in helping your child defeating obesity is to find the right weight goal. In order to do so, you should consult with the pediatrician who can let you know what you should aim for. Many kids shouldn’t actually lose pounds since they are still growing and developing and they may need more time to lose weight at a slower rate. As much as you want to help your child, keep in mind that you shouldn’t pressure it, talk your kid through, explain the steps and be patient.
Avoid diets, supplements and weight loss drugs
Obviously, when we’re talking about losing weight, the first thing we think about is diet. In this case, unless the pediatrician says otherwise, you should definitely say no to diets or supplements. If you put your child on a diet, the calorie-cutting plan may not provide the nutrients and calories their bodies need in order to grow and develop. Using supplements with children is not well-researched so avoid using them with your children since they might not be safe (except when the doctors prescribe the supplements).
Include healthy food step by step
You should start including healthy food one step at a time and instead of overhauling the whole family; make a few small changes at a time. For example, replace a few unhealthy groceries your kid loves with low-fat or non-fat alternatives. Get rid of juices and sodas and inspire your kid to drink more water or non-fat or low-fat milk.
If you want to start easily and slowly, clean your kitchen cabinets from all the junk food and replace them with healthy snacks, kale chips, nuts, dark chocolate, etc. Replace white bread and white rice with whole grains – whole-wheat bread, brown rice, and wild rice and introduce more quinoa into your meals.
Include more fruits and veggies but don’t go all crazy and forbid all the sweets. A piece of dark chocolate here and there won’t do much harm. Also, avoid fast food restaurants, or go there once a month max.
The breakfast is the most important meal so make sure that your child eats a healthy breakfast. A healthy breakfast should consist of whole grains and protein in order to help him/her feel full, such as peanut butter on a piece of whole-wheat toast.
Join your kids to help them
Motivate your kids to engage in physical activities every day. Get the whole family involved, walk more, make little-exploring trips around forests or parks, or go swimming. Let your little ones choose the activity they like and the equipment; if your kid is all about soccer, buy him/her a ball they like to encourage them to play or let them choose between colorful kids bicycles to get them hooked up on cycling. Take them for a walk to a kid’s park every day and help them be more active by joining them in the activities they enjoy. If you motivate your kids to go outside more often they will soon run around all by themselves, forget about the TV, tablets, smartphones and defeat the obesity!
Solidarism helps a lot
Also reducing sedentary time will motivate your kids they will feel encouraged to engage in physical activity. If you can’t avoid the sedentary time due to bad weather or other specific situations you should still limit the TV, video games, and web time to no more than two hours per day. A good alternative is to take out those old board games and make a family games night/day and take their eyes and minds off of the internet and television.
Helping your children defeat obesity is a tough task unless you take it seriously and explain the importance of the weight loss to your child. Engaging in the same activities will motive kids since their parents are their role models. Make sure to set a good example – if you truly want to help your children lose weight then make the rules that have no exception – include every member of the family!