If you are parenting overweight children, you may feel frustrated and overwhelmed with the task of helping them to lose weight. Here are some tricks that may aid your children’s weight loss.
1. Talk to Your Children’s Pediatrician
Your children’s doctor will be able to tell you a healthy goal weight for your kids. The pediatrician can also help you decide how many calories they should be consuming each day.
2. Keep Unhealthy Foods out of the House
Stock the pantry and the fridge with produce, lean protein and whole grains. This way your children won’t have the chance to grab unhealthy foods when they get hungry. When it’s time for the occasional indulgence, go somewhere outside of the house. Go to the park with a few cookies, or go get some ice cream, but do not keep those items in the house. They will only be a temptation and a source of frustration.
3. Model Good Behavior
Your kids learn from watching you, so if you want your children to be healthier, you need to be healthier. Load your plate with more vegetables. Allow them to help you prepare healthy dinners. Snack on nuts, fruit or cheese, and live an active lifestyle. If your family sees you doing these things, they will be encouraged to follow suit.
4. Encourage Physical Activity
Your kids don’t need to have a gym membership or walk on a treadmill. They just need to be active. Take the family outside to play some kickball or go play in the park. The key is to make it fun. If it isn’t fun, then the kids won’t want to do it. Limit their time in front of the television and the computer. The more sedentary your children are, the harder it will be for them to be healthy.
5. Be positive
Encourage your children about their progress and the lifestyle changes that they are making. Nagging and negative comments may only fuel the problem, possibly causing them to reach for unhealthy foods to soothe their hurt feelings. Use positive language when describing the foods that they will be eating and the activities that they will be doing. Tell them how proud you are of them. Praise goes a long way, especially for children.
6. Don’t Force Foods
If your children don’t like certain foods, don’t make a big deal out of it. Acknowledge their feelings, but gently encourage them to try new things. As their tastes start to adapt, they may find themselves enjoying foods that they previously didn’t like. Keep introducing different dishes, and don’t get discouraged. It takes time to adjust to a healthy lifestyle.
7. Avoid Using Food as a Punishment or a Reward
Dessert is often used as a reward for eating everything on a plate, or it is taken away if the vegetables aren’t eaten. Find non-food related ways of rewarding your children, and don’t take food away as a consequence. The use of these kinds of tactics deemphasizes the role of food as nourishment.