Wednesday, 6 July 2011

"Mom I'm FAT!"

Nobody needs to tell your dear child that he or she is overweight.  They already know, and they are already trying to process it any way they can.  Unfortunately, without your help, the way they process it could lead to further problems like secret eating and low self esteem.  So go ahead and talk about it.  More importantly, LISTEN about it.

We went through many of the same things.  There’s nothing new under the sun.  Being picked last for teams, being teased at school, struggling in sports, being ridiculed or having difficulty fitting into clothes are just a few of the pains overweight children may have to endure. 

You are the absolute best person to talk to your child about his or her weight because nobody loves your child more.  Therefore, nobody else can empathize as you can.  These frustrations and pains need to be expressed by your child and then validated by you.  Don’t shrink back; it’s the right thing to do.  Encourage.  Listen.  Validate.  Empathize.  RELATE.  Be available.

Unconditional love and acceptance are the life-blood of a child who struggles with weight problems.  You are the primary source of this love, so pour it on with reckless abandon.

Don’t do anything too harsh or rash like super strict diets…they will backfire.  Rather, make small adjustments here and there to put the right things to eat and drink in front of your child.  The last thing you should do is to highlight the fact your child is overweight by over-reacting with harsh diets.  That could spell rejection to them, which is the opposite of unconditional love.

Kids come in all shapes and sizes, and genetic pre-disposition can be a hard taskmaster.  That’s why good habits and small steady adjustments are the best defense against the propensity for your child to be overweight.

Luna and Lara speak about water a lot, for obvious reasons.  However, we are not concerned about kids drinking more water because we’re in the water business.  We’re in the water business because we’re concerned about kids drinking more water.  That disclaimer said, ENCOURAGE YOUR CHILD TO DRINK MORE WATER!  It will greatly aid metabolism, it will help them to process their meals, and it will “fill the gap” with something healthy and life-giving rather than something fattening like sugary soda, sweets or even juice.

Your example is the absolute best thing you can offer your child.  If you want him or her to develop good eating and drinking habits, exhibit good eating and drinking habits.  Show more than tell.

Resist the urge to set a timetable for weight loss.  In fact, weight loss is not the issue at all…good habits are.  Rather than a timetable, make a LIFE change.  Over time, you will begin to see the benefits not only in your child’s weight but in their overall good health.  The good news is, kids learn fast.  It may not seem like it, but it’s true.   

Go for “possible”, not for “perfect”. 

Pick Five:  Choose five realistic goals, such as substituting fatty foods for healthy ones; serving water instead of soda; buy flavoured water instead of juice (shameless but true); buy complex carbohydrates instead of simple ones.

Finally, be patient.  Be patient.  Be patient.  And above all, pour on the unconditional love and affirmation…it’s better to have a slightly overweight child who knows they are loved than a skinny one who doesn’t.

Luna and Lara

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