What can parents do?
I could go down a long list of things we could do as parents to help rid childhood obesity but as soon as you list 5 or 10 things you can change, parents are not interested! As a parent, I start thinking, who are they to tell me how to feed my kids or monitor my kids. As a parent, I GET IT! So, I will list 3 things that are simple and can be a great start to a healthier NEW life.
1. Get Active! This is really the first step in changing your lifestyle. I do understand that many of us work and sometimes both parents can not be around in the middle of the day. I get that, so I would suggest getting the kids involved in an activity that is part of their school program or an after school program. Yes, there is homework, snack time and errands to run but if kids need to move for at least 30 minutes each day. When we were kids, it was easy because gym was a part of the curriculum. Now with budget cuts in our educational system, many school's have cut Physical Education! UGH!
2. Eat Right! Again, now that we have an updated Food Chart from our government, it is much easier to understand what I kids need. If you tend to go back to "what you know" when it comes to feeding your kids, change your way of thinking and start to think about your families health. Trust me, it was hard for me as well, but when you can't read what's in the food, that is a sure fire way to know that you SHOULD NOT be eating it! Start finding simple recipes that you can acquire with your kids and make all the snacks on the weekends or with other family members who love cooking. Instead of candy and sweets, switch it to fruits and "fruit-based" snacks. When you go grocery shopping, focus on the outside parameters of the grocery store and not the inside areas. I know this can be a hard transition for not only the kids but for you. Just change one thing at a time and know it is for the best! Also, try and stay AWAY from fast food restaurants. A lot of these fast foods takes more than 24 hours to digest and breakdown in your system.
3. Make it fun and Do it as a Family! Be their support on this. Don't talk about being "fat" or "overweight" all the time. Make an effort to change those words to positive words that will encourage your kids. For instance, "let's go workout or run together" OR "I have this great recipe that looks really good, let's go get the ingredients and have fun in the kitchen". See, the focus is not on FOOD or WEIGHT, it is on things that can be fun as a family. Whether you believe it or not, you are your kids hero. What we do can definitely encourage them so make the right choices and get them involved!
Now was that so painful? I hope not. We are in this together and can make a change for our kids!
As always, if you need help in any of these areas, check out your local gyms and YMCA's for help. There are personal trainers and nutritional specialists that can get you on the right track. Also, as an FYI, a lot of overeating can be linked to other issues in his/her life, so getting psychological help may be needed as well. There is NOTHING wrong with what your kids may be going through. Unfortunately, life can get the best of us but we have the tools and professionals to help us through our transition AND to possibly help someone else who is going through the same thing.
Let's GO . . . GET ACTIVE!