2 Foundational Principles for Defeating Childhood Obesity
Are you Worried that your Kids are Headed Toward Obesity … before they Grow Up?
We’re a culture obsessed with media-glorified body images and yet our lifestyles are mostly sedentary with a high caloric intake. We live in a contradiction that’s challenging to win. The grocery check-out highlights our dilemma with these two messages: (1) Follow these recipes and indulge, and (2) look like these super-skinny models. Research shows our health is the loser. Both children and adults are experiencing an obesity epidemic. 30% of American children are overweight or obese [i] and 35.7% of adults are obese [ii]. On top of that, our self-esteem wanes as we don’t meet the size and shape expectations we’ve accepted.
I was chubby when I was little so my dad used to have me step on the scale. He’d create contests and I’d earn prizes for losing weight. I have to say,
it didn’t feel good. With my kids, I embraced a totally different philosophy. One value that I’d often repeat was: ‘everything in moderation.’ Today, I’m at a healthy weight which I credit to an active lifestyle and eating in ‘moderation.’
Here’s what moderation looks like at home:
- Set healthy boundaries in advance
- Chips and candy are okay occasionally, just not every day of the week
- Have a cookie, but not the whole bag
- Choose a night of the week that you can make special (i.e. Fri. game and treat night)
Teaching my kids principles helped us avoid being constrained by rules. I taught them what a balanced diet was and helped them learn to keep their own boundaries. We all know that if we hear, ‘no’ it just makes us want what we can’t have. So instead I would say, “Sure, you can have that, take one.” Or I would say, “Let’s not turn your snacks into a meal, have some lunch first and then you can have a treat.”
Next to moderation, I would emphasize – exercise.
For most children, I believe activity is the best way to help them achieve a healthy weight. For me, I love yoga, running, and power-walking.
Decide what a healthy body is for your height and frame then skip the media messages that define an unrealistic image.
Praise your kids often and speak life into them when they make healthy choices. They have an abundance of voices saying other messages. Won’t your declarations be the ones they hear over everything that tells them they are less than wonderful? Help set a healthy course for your family and watch their positive self-image bloom!