The prevention of childhood and teenage obesity starts in the home. Children are products of their environment so it’s important that you as the adult set a good example by eating healthy and exercising. Actions speak louder than words, especially at a time in which most of the words they hear come from T.V. commercials and friends. These sources may not always share the healthiest of choices as most commercials encourage the viewer to eat food. As a matter of fact, the average child sees close to 10,000 commercials a year, of which 9,500 of these promote fast food, candy, sugar-coated cereals, and soft drinks. They’re called soft drinks for a reason… they make you soft—inside and out!
Just as there is no magic pill for an adult that is looking to lose weight, the same truth rings true for kids. All success comes from creating positive habits that deliver results over time. There are no quick fixes that last. Most people want to lose weight quick and are not willing to go through the proper steps. I encourage people to think of releasing weight as opposed to losing it. When something is lost then typically we look for it and find it. When weight is released, then we are able to release the emotions that are attached as well. Many kids (like adults) eat out of boredom, stress, or lack of self-esteem. Here are a few ways that you can transform your entire household into a positive, healthy, happy, and energetic bunch.
1. Turn off the television and video games. Limit the time you all spend watching T.V.—play board games or puzzles instead. This will not only get your kids off the couch, but the family time together will build a stronger bond.
2. Become more active as a family. Get out and go for walks, bike rides, hiking, skating, skiing, and other outdoor activities together.
3. Encourage an overweight child that it’s important to release the weight to make their life better not to make people like them or accept them more.
4. Keep healthy snacks (grab and go items) easily accessible. Snacks such as baby carrots, broccoli, grapes, raw almonds, raisins, fat-free yogurt, string cheese, bananas, apples, etc.
5. Be encouraging and positive during this time. Offer a reward program when they make smart and healthy choices all week. The reward could be something as simple as a ticket to see a movie or something of that nature.
6. Keep water easily accessible and drink it often. If your kids don’t enjoy plain water then enhance the flavor with a lemon or use a calorie and sugar-free flavor packet.
These tips will be a great start in taking small steps toward a healthy lifestyle. It will not only encourage positive fitness and nutritional choices, but it will also enhance mental and spiritual health as well.