Mental Monday

While on the elliptical at the gym the other morning, HLN was touting the following statistics ... obese mothers are ten times more likely to have obese daughters, and obese dads are six times more likely to have obese sons. This shocked me a little, but made a lot of sense - our children learn to live their lives based upon our examples. If all we do is sit around, watch tv, and eat junk food, that's what our children will learn too.

Thankfully, my children do not fall into those statistics and I can already see my healthy habits taking them to a whole new level in their lives. My son is a triathlete, and just asked me to help him train for the Rock ''n' Roll Chicago Half-Marathon next year. My daughter doesn't want to be left out and currently is in "training" for her first kids triathlon in a few weeks. I cannot believe we've become "that" family - the family that loves to be active, a family of athletes.

Here's an article from on ways to how to prevent - and treat - childhood obesity.


"To bring up a child in the way he should go, travel that way yourself." Josh Billings

Childhood obesity: Make weight loss a family affair

Childhood obesity treatment — and prevention — begins at home. Here's how to change unhealthy behaviors and create a healthy-weight environment for the
entire family.

Childhood obesity is usually caused by eating too much and exercising too little. The solution is eating healthier foods and increasing physical activity, but it'll be tough for your child to do it alone. The most effective way to treat — and prevent — childhood obesity is to adopt healthier habits for the entire family.

Change family behaviors.

Rather than singling out your child, encourage the whole family to make healthy lifestyle changes. Consider these helpful hints:

  • Start small. Gradual changes are easiest to incorporate into the daily routine — and to maintain long term. Start by making a few small changes, such
    as turning off the TV during dinner, switching from soda to milk or water, or taking a family walk after dinner once a week.
  • Set goals. Set realistic, measurable goals for each family member, and then determine family goals. For example, your child's goal might be to eat fruit for afternoon snacks. Your goal might be to take a brisk walk three days a week. The family's goal might be to limit fast-food meals to once a month.
  • Recognize triggers. Be prepared for situations that may tempt you to fall back to your old habits. If you're used to eating popcorn at the movies, for example, bring only enough money for admission — or agree that you'll share a small carton of popcorn with your child rather than ordering separate treats.
  • Celebrate success. Frequent rewards can help keep your family motivated. When your child meets a goal — by asking for fruit rather than cookies after school, for example — offer praise and attention. When your family meets a goal, brainstorm healthy ways to celebrate your success. You might try a family movie night, a weekend picnic or a trip to the pool.
  • Keep it positive. Focus on healthy lifestyle changes, rather than your child's appearance or a number on the scale. Remember, treating childhood obesity isn't a race. It takes time and dedication to replace established behaviors with new, healthier behaviors.
  • Be flexible. It'll take time to get used to your healthier habits. Encourage
    everyone to stick to the plan — but if the goals aren't working for your family,
    consider making adjustments. It's better to create a new plan than to stick to
    one that isn't working.

Create a healthy-weight environment

As you work toward healthy habits and behaviors, create an environment that supports these efforts. For example:

  • Surround your family with healthy foods. Stock your kitchen with fruits,
    vegetables, whole-grain foods and other healthy choices. Keep junk food and
    sugary drinks out of the house.
  • Eat in. Reduce the number of meals your family eats in fast-food and other restaurants. Better yet, sit down together for family meals. Try new recipes or healthier alternatives to family favorites. Keep portion sizes reasonable. Encourage your kids to get involved in shopping and meal preparation.
  • Build physical activity into the daily routine. Organize family outings that involve physical activity, such as walking to the library or taking a family bike ride. Include children in active chores, such as washing the car or walking the dog. Encourage your kids to participate in school or community sports — or to dance, jump rope or do other physical activities on their own.
  • Limit household screen time. Set reasonable rules for TV and computer time,
    such as one to two hours a day for each family member — including Mom and Dad. Keep TVs and computers out of the bedrooms, and don't allow eating in front of the TV or computer.

Be a positive role model

Remember, the best way to get your child onboard with the new, active lifestyle is to commit to the changes yourself. Your actions teach your child what to eat, how much to eat and when to eat. You also encourage your child to be physically active every day if you make it a priority yourself.

Here's how you can be a positive role model:

  • Eat nutritious foods.
  • Don't bring junk food into the house.
  • Control your portion sizes.
  • Save treats and high-calorie snacks for special occasions.
  • Turn off the TV.
  • Be physically active every day.
  • Stress the importance of healthy lifestyle choices, rather than a number on the scale.

Making lifestyle changes can be challenging, especially when you're busy juggling the demands of daily life. But if your family works together and supports each others' efforts, you're more likely to succeed. Eventually healthy habits will become routine — and you'll be well on your way to treating childhood obesity and improving your family's health.



Tigerlilly said...

Great post. Its always my concern that my girls will 'inherit' my old eating habits... but so far I have a fruit-a-holic and a runner! LOL

Marcelle said...

I've seen both my girls obsess over their weight from watching me...always on diet or taking diet pills, so they think thats the way to on WW they also want to do WW...weird how us mom's have such a big effect on our childrens lives...need to get my girls more active - soon I'm off to CT on holiday so will do just that.

She-Fit said...

Glad to see that your healthy habits are rubbing off on your kids. i hope that one day when I have kids that I will do the same!

Lucas said...

Sometimes I can't believe what kind of person I've become either. NEVER would have thought of calling myself an athlete a few years ago but here I am! It's awesome, isn't it? If only OUR parents had set the example you are. Think of how our lives would have been different! :)

lisah said...

Congrats on being "that family"! You continue to inspire!

lisah said...

Congrats on being "that family"! You continue to inspire!

FatGal2SlimGalx3 said...

I love your blog!!! You should read mine, i think you'd relate to it

MackAttack said...

Oh this is so so true. This is my goal, to be healthy and give healthy habits to my kids!

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