3
Jul

Overweight Teens | How Best To Talk About the Weight

It's not easy to lose weight.  It seems even harder to talk about it.  Even though it's everywhere on TV, even though there is a crisis in America, there is still a social stigma about weight.  Now, imagine being an overweight teen today.  It's even harder than before.  Facebook & Twitter have made online bullying easier than before.  More of our children are overweight than before.  And despite the fact that there are more tools to help them than ever before, we still have a problem.  How is is it best to discuss weight with your teenager?

It turns out, the best way is to bypass the conversation about weight, diet, and exercise.  That is a sure fire link to failure.  Instead, it may seem like walking a fine line, but talk to them about a healthy lifestyle.  In essence, it is the same discussion.  However, HOW you discuss it affects how they feel they are perceived which ultimately effects the outcome.
Portion control is important.  However, if all I do as a pediatrician & all you do as a parent is discuss limitations, it is a set up for failure.  Our weight loss strategy is doomed at the start.  However, if you discuss healthy choices, your teenager is in control of their decisions regarding food.  If we discuss exercising as a necessary part to weight loss, it's another sure fire strategy to failure.  However, if we discuss having fun in a physical activity, then your teenager can feel good about his/her choices regarding physical activity.  
First, is education.  We all can improve our healthier food choices.  Education can come in the form of your pediatrician, books, online sites, an a good nutritionist/dietician.  Second, is the ability of the teen to choose for his/her self.  Third, if we follow the same paradigm as our teen, then we are being a good role model for our family.  They are more likely to follow by example.  Fourth, if the family make healthy lifestyle together, it doesn't single out the overweight family member & everyone lives healthier.  Lastly, we need wiggle room to feel okay with the occasional "less than healthy" lifestyle choice.  If it's not a habit, it can actually help out in the long run.  Joining the "not healthy club" can allow the teen to feel less isolated & more like their peers.
If we focus on what they "can't eat" & "aren't doing", then we are only focusing on the negative.  Discussing healthy lifestyle choices, allows the overweight teen to be more in control, resulting in a positive outlook on their lives. 
9
Jan

New Year's Resolution: Water, Exercise & Faith

This year, I'm keeping my New Year's resolutions simple.  The ever popular "weight loss" resolution is not on my list.  This year I want to actually be able to attain some of my goals.  So, here it goes.  I will drink more water every day.  I will exercise more.  I will spend more time in faith .  Notice, I didn't include any deadlines or specific numbers.  Yes, 8 glasses of water per day & 30 minutes of exercise 3 times a week are recommended.  And every religion has a set of rules and/or commandments.  However, I have tried to follow recommendations & rules in the past.  When I have failed, I've felt disheartened and very much a failure.

So, this year, I'm letting go more.  I'm just trying to do "more."  Perhaps without strict rules, there will be more freedom and success.  Maybe that's the trick. Maybe by letting go, you receive more.
So what are your New Year's resolutions?  Do your kids have any?  Keeping it simple is the key with kids.  Consider, "I will eat more vegetables."  "I will make my bed more often."  "I will say, I love you, more."  Maybe you and your children can share some resolutions?  Generally, there is more success in numbers.

If you'd like to find some easy New Year's resolutions for your kids, the American Academy of Pediatrics has a great article, http://bit.ly/Vd2Ct6. 

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