Weight loss for kids, like adults, is always a challenge. It's not surprise that obesity in kids is an epidemic today. Our society encourages immediate gratification, quick success, busy but often sedentary lifestyles and convenience in everything.
We find ourselves going through the drive-thru for fast food, buying processed snacks and meals, using the elevator, parking as close as possible, ordering online, and sitting in front of the computer.
Imagine a child's day: Get up, get dressed and grab a pop-tart on the way out the door. Ride on the bus or in a car to school, be let off at the door, go to class,eat a hamburger and fries for lunch in the cafeteria.
Sit in class some more, ride home in car or on the bus, watch television, play on the computer, eat pizza on the couch for supper, sit and complete homework, bathe and go to bed. Unfortunately, this is a typical day for many kids.
You're probably thinking my child is not quite that bad, but we do need to make some changes. It's just not that easy â€“ we're busy. You're right, it's hard. But in many families weight loss for kids needs to be a priority.
There are two things that affect a kid's weight: nutrition and exercise. We all know this, we just aren't sure we can change it. A pound of fat is 3,500 calories. So, in order to lose 1 pound a month you need to cut approximately 117 calories out a day or burn 117 calories more than you eat every day.
It's important for parents to provide their kids healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, cheese and whole wheat products, as well as water and low-fat milk.Processed, fried or sweet foods and sugary drinks should only be consumed on occasion.
The most important thing we can do for a healthy lifestyle is being active. Even if your kids are a little overweight, being active is healthier than being skinny and not active.Add physical activities to the daily routine of your children as often as you can. Activities include playing outside, walking, bicycling, rollerblading and sports like baseball, basketball or soccer. Many activities can be done as a family, giving your child your time and encouragement.
I know weight loss for kids and adults is hard and often time consuming, but making the effort and time now will pay off huge rewards later. Not only will your child be healthy, but he or she has a better chance of remaining a healthy weight as an adult. A few hints to help you be successful follow.
1.Written Plan. It seems obvious, but so often we simply don't do it. Create a weight loss plan with your kids and write it down. Include the ultimate goal, smaller goals and milestones.
2. Behavior Modification. Habits, bad or good, last a lifetime unless purposefully changed. Change is neither fun nor easy but definitely worth the effort. Identify bad habits in your child and the family and include a procedure for change in your written plan. It can be as simple as limiting television time to 1-2 hours a day, or requiring 1 hour of continuous activity a day. It takes several days to form a habit so be consistent and keep with it.
3. Motivation. It's hard to stick to a diet or exercise program before it becomes a habit. In order to motivate your child, provide lots of praise, verbal and written. Send notes in your child's lunchbox expressing how proud you are he or she is eating healthy.When you make your plan, decide upon rewards for reaching certain milestones and goals and be sure to follow through. Avoid referring to your child as fat or nagging him or her about bad choices. Helping your child maintain a positive self-esteem should be the ultimate goal in motivation.
4. Being a good example. It's important that you "practice what you preach". The chances of your child being successful will drop if you make the bad choices you're asking them to avoid. The whole family benefits from a change to a healthy lifestyle so capitalize on this time to make those changes. Obesity can affect the whole family, even if only one member is overweight, so the whole family should be involved in the plan and implementing it.
5. Be patient. Healthy weight loss for kids and adults is slow. Don't get discouraged. Focus on the long-term goal and celebrate when the short term goals and milestones are accomplished. Quick fixes are quick, but that means quick in duration as well. Quick weight loss usually means more weight gain eventually. Go slow and you and your child will reap the rewards for a lifetime.
We all know the difference between healthy foods and unhealthy foods, as well as knowing the importance of exercise. However, actually incorporating healthy foods and exercise into our daily lives is just plain hard. But knowing that overweight teenagers have a 70% chance of being overweight as adults proves how important changing your child's lifestyle now will be for his or her future.