Once thought of as a problem primarily suffered by adults, the adoption of processed foods has led to an epidemic of obesity among young children. If you have an obese child, you understand how difficult, if not impossible, it is for children to understand the importance of healthy eating and the impact it can have on their growth. While it takes some patience, there are a few simple approaches than can not only help your child to lose weight, but also teach them to make their own healthy choices in the future.
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Don’t Use Food as a Reward
Many parents use candy, ice cream, and other junk food as a disciplinary measure. Rewarding children with snacks for good behavior and subsequently taking them away when they misbehave may seem like a reliable system, but it encourages the very habits that cause children to become obese. Snacking as a reward rather than when you’re hungry creates an unhealthy relationship with food, viewing it as a prize or a way to pass the time rather than as a simple necessity. There’s nothing wrong with savoring and appreciating food, but as a parent it’s incumbent upon you to foster a healthy relationship between your child and their diet. If you’re still intent on using treats as a reward, sticky to healthy snacks like veggies and dip or a piece of fruit rather than candy and other sugar-filled confections.
Make Exercise Fun
While a fitness center isn’t suited to the needs of a child, there are plenty of exercise outlets that will not only help your son or daughter to lose weight, but also afford them an opportunity to socialize and learn other valuable life skills. Team sports like soccer or basketball give you child a chance to participate in activities with their peers, learn valuable teamwork and leadership skills, all while also getting in a good workout. If possible, take an active part in your child’s exercise routine either by coaching or helping them practice at home.
Celebrate Their Successes
While this technique works, there’s a fine line you must maintain to avoid associating healthy eating just with material rewards. Choosing healthy foods should be its own reward, but it’s important that you recognize your child’s hard work and weight loss milestones. As stated earlier, rewarding with food should be avoided. Instead, celebrate your child’s successes with their healthier lifestyle with family trips, a toy they’ve had their eye on for a while, or extra privileges like staying up an hour later than usual. Using trips and toys to celebrate will break your child of the dangerous perception of food as a reward while still providing them with a more concrete symbol of their achievements.
Stop Relying on Guesswork
Whether you’re a child or adult, sustainable weight loss ultimately boils down to managing calories. Enrolling your child in a soccer league won’t mean much if they come home from practice and promptly eat twice the amount of calories they just burned. Pay careful attention to labels, measure portions, and purchase a food scale for fresh items like meat and produce. To help supplement this, research and incorporate some meal replacements like Xyngular, along with a child-friendly multivitamin, as these will help fill in nutritional gaps without having to guess at calories. Xyngular reviews show it can provide the same nutrient content of a balanced meal, but without the excess calories that come with trying to estimate proper portions.
A Healthy Start
Nipping childhood obesity early is vital if you want your child to grow into a healthy and responsible adult. If you see the beginnings of poor dietary and exercise habits, take prompt action with the support of your pediatrician or family doctor.