Learn more about keeping your kids in good health. Especially with more and more kids sitting behind their computer screens we need to encourage more activities!
Doctor Kathy McCoy, author of “The Teenage Body Book,” explains how you can help your teen lose weight and feel better!
• Put the emphasis on good health, not weight, and make it a goal for the whole family. Teens hate being singled out and criticized. Approaching this from a “YOU need to lose weight!” point of view will guarantee a battle of the wills. Instead, ask for your teen’s help in making an action plan to promote better family eating and exercise habits.
• Have real family meals at least once a day and encourage your teen to eat what the family eats. Frantic family schedules have equaled fast food or processed, prepared food dinners — and expanding waistlines. With real, home-cooked meals, you can better control calories, fats, sugars, sodium and other nutritional issues.
• Look at and discuss all of your less than ideal eating behaviors. Maybe your teen craves junk food when she’s bored and watching TV. Maybe you dive into high calorie comfort food when you’re angry or frustrated. Pay attention to the difference between physical and emotional hunger. Discuss all this with your family — and come up with ways to comfort or reward yourselves that have nothing to do with food.
• Get your family moving. Trying to motivate an overweight teen to go to the gym can be frustrating and non-productive. Schedule exercise into your family routine: a family walk or bike ride after dinner doesn’t have to cut into homework or leisure time too dramatically — and the exercise is good for everyone.
• Become smart, skeptical consumers: There are no weight loss miracles. Help your teen to avoid quick fixes. The weight didn’t come on overnight and it can’t be lost — for good — overnight either. The goal should be health improvement with a slow, steady weight loss of no more than two pounds a week. The loss can add up to more than 100 pounds in a year — and weight lost slowly as one changes one’s eating and exercise habits is more likely to stay off.
Award-winning writer and author of “The Teenage Body Book,” Dr. Kathy McCoy is a teen psychology and health expert who has appeared as a guest on such programs as The Today Show and The Oprah Winfrey Show. Winner of the American Library Associations’ Best Book for Young Adults Award, “The Teenage Body Book” contains everything teenagers and their parents need to know about nutrition, health, fitness, emotions and sexuality.