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What should I do to help my child lose weight?
Childhood obesity is a very serious medical condition that affects children and adolescents. It occurs when a child is well above the normal weight for his or her age and height. Childhood obesity is particularly troubling because the extra pounds often line up kids to do their first steps on the path to health problems that were formerly limited to adults, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. One of the best strategies to combat excess weight in your child is to improve the diet and exercise levels of the entire family. This will help protect the health of your child now and establishes a healthy and reliable foundation for the future. It will also help the child ward off age-related diseases and improve the immunity.
Although there are some genetic and hormonal causes of childhood obesity, most excess weight is caused by kids eating too much (even if it is healthy) and not being active enough. The equation is easy to memorize: If the caloric intake of the child is higher than the caloric expenditure, weight gain will be the inevitable result.
It is clearly understood that children, in comparison to adults, need extra nutrients and calories to fuel healthy growth and development without deficiencies. So if they consume the calories needed for daily activities, growth and metabolism, they add pounds in proportion to their growth. But children, who eat more calories than needed, gain weight as they ingest beyond what’s required to support their growing bodies. The first thing to do is to stop rewarding your kids with sweets whenever they do something you consider “good”. The same goes for using sweets as a convincing tool to let your child do something very specific. They can go to the movies as part of an outing, join a sports team or scouts where a lot of physical engagement is required, which will cause calorie burn in addition to improving their interpersonal skills!
What is important is to keep it fun. Never use exercise as a form of punishment. Introducing group activities where your child can also socialize is a great way to help them begin. Many of the clubs offer group sports such as karate, taekwondo, football, basketball etc. The important thing is to try to find something that your child likes. That may mean trying a few different sports, until they come across the one they like. That’s fine – after all, you are trying to help them build a lifetime of activity, not an elite athlete.
Here are the tips:
- Offer five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. The salad or vegetable plate should look like a rainbow as it must contain as many colors as possible
- Choose healthy and lean sources of protein, such as lean meat, skinless chicken and eggs over fat-rich protein alternatives
- Serve whole-grain breads and cereals because they are high in fiber
- Broil, grill or steam foods instead of frying them
- Limit fast food and junk food (watch the movie “Supersize Me” with your kids!!)
- Offer water and milk instead of sugary fruit drinks and carbonated beverages
- Always try to use fat-free alternatives for dairy and non-dairy products (e.g. skimmed milk instead of full-cream milk)
- Encourage them to participate in sports-related activities with their peers
- Give your child healthy homemade snacks for school instead of depending on the cafeteria, which serves empty calorie food that may taste good but will add unnecessary inches to your child’s waist line
- Avoid getting your child accustomed to caffeinated beverages like coffee and tea, as they can have more negative effects than benefits
What are the best exercises to de-stress?
If we analyze the numerous reasons why people exercise we will reach the following result:
Weight loss is the leading reasons why people workout, in addition to muscle gain, toning and shaping. But the effect of working out and exercising goes further than skin-deep and has significant effects on the psychology of the individual working out.
Improved self-esteem is a key psychological benefit of regular physical activity. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins (feel-good hormones). These endorphins engage with the receptors in your brain, thus lowering the perception of pain as they act as an analgesic. Consequently you can lift more, jump higher and run for an extended period of time without being hindered by the imaginary pain barrier. Another positive side-effect of exercise is that it can act as a sedative, helping you to sleep better, which in turn will help to lower stress levels.
In addition to this, endorphins also elicit a positive feeling in the human body. For example, the feeling that follows a run or workout is best described as the euphoria wave! That feeling, known as a “runner’s high,” can be accompanied by a positive and energizing outlook on life and can stay for an extended period of time after the workout is finished.
There are not only exercises, but also regular daily activities that are stress relieving. See the list below to give you some ideas:
· Dancing (Belly Dancing, Hip Hop, Salsa, Ballroom – any type)
· Golf (walking instead of using the cart)
· Housework, especially sweeping, mopping, or vacuuming
· Jogging at a moderate pace
· Low-impact aerobics
· Yard work, especially mowing or raking
· Yoga and meditation
The last point mentioned here in the list, is very advisable for anyone who wants to effectively reduce the impact of stress on his/her well-being.
Yoga is the traditional stress-killing form of exercise, but even the simple act of practicing deep breathing on a regular basis has proven to be beneficial. This will work best if you find someplace quiet to sit and concentrate on your lungs expanding upward and outward as they fill with air. By turning your focus inward, you reduce the focus on whatever is stressing you, placing you in a much calmer state.
Often, stress will build up without you even realizing it and will cause tension-related headaches or back and neck pain. And the effect of stress on you will be horrendous. If you let yourself be drawn into the vicious circle of stress the following will take place:
¨ Stress can cause headaches, weight gain, insomnia, anger and back pain.
¨ Stress causes the body to produce more cortisol, glucocorticoid and adrenaline
¨ Cortisol is known as the stress hormone. Increase of cortisol in the human body is associated with increase in weight and retaining fat around the abdomen.