Everyone is trying to lose weight these days and that can be tough for kids as well as parents. They’re not used to seeing friends and family members looking thin and feeling healthy instead of being weighed down by extra pounds. To make losing weight less difficult, break it down into smaller steps rather than have your child see one large change at one time. Instead of focusing on the scale or the size of clothing, let your child focus on small changes rather than a single goal. That way they don’t get discouraged when they see slower progress than they’d like. You can start by discussing with your child what type of eating habits are most problematic for them and work together towards improving their health through food and exercise.
Have a conversation about weight loss
Start by listening to your child and figuring out what they are struggling with the most. Have conversations about food and weight with your child from an early age. When your child is young, they will generally be more open to talking with you about their insecurities and the things they are struggling with. By age 6, they are more likely to be able to talk with their parents about their weight and food issues. When your child is in middle school and high school, they will be more likely to be open to discussing the topic of weight loss with other peers. That’s when peer pressure and the desire to fit in can sometimes become very strong. If you can start talking to your child at an early age, they will be more open to the topic when they are in high school.
Eat healthy foods
Healthy eating habits begin with the foods your child eats. Be sure to feed your child healthy, unprocessed foods. A diet heavy in sugary foods and refined carbohydrates will not help with weight loss. Instead of making meals at home, try to feed your child healthy foods at school or take-out places that have healthy options. Make sure to serve your child healthy snacks, such as fresh fruits, nuts, and seeds, instead of unhealthy treats, like cookies or candy. If you don’t know where to start, try planning a healthy, family-friendly meal and choosing healthy recipes, like healthy pizza recipes or healthy pasta recipes, when you are grocery shopping.
Do daily exercise together
Exercise is essential for losing weight and improving your overall health. It can also be a great way for you and your child to connect. Find an activity that your child likes to do with you and make sure to schedule regular workouts into your weekly schedule. Exercises that require the entire body, like running or swimming, are often the best for losing weight. If your child is old enough, you can try creative exercises that require less muscle strength, like yoga or pilates. You can also try games like basketball or badminton, which require less overall physical activity while still improving your child’s balance and agility.
Track your child’s weight and progress together
Keeping a diary or journal of your child’s daily food intake and exercise logs is a great way to track their weight loss and overall health. With this journal, you can help your child track their diet, keep a daily log of exercise they are doing, and look back on the foods they ate. It can also be helpful to review these journals with your child and have conversations about what they are seeing in these journals.
Set healthy goals for your child to work towards together
Create a weight loss goal for your child that is meaningful to them, such as losing 20 pounds or eating healthier for a week. This goal can be as simple or as complex as you’d like it to be. Set a weight loss goal that is challenging enough to be motivating, but not so difficult that your child gets discouraged or gives up before they even begin.
Encourage your child to develop new habits with new technology or skills
The internet is full of resources and tools to help people improve their health, lose weight, and adopt healthier habits. Try consulting online diet plans and fitness programs, such as fitness trackers. While these programs are often marketed towards adults, they can still help your child reach their weight loss goals.
Losing weight can be very difficult and it’s normal for your child to be frustrated and discouraged with their weight loss progress. Take time to talk to your child about their weight loss and healthy eating habits. It can be really helpful to have a parent/child discussion about weight loss when your child is young and may feel most vulnerable about their weight.