Just like adults, children need to keep their weight within a healthy range. Teaching your child how to lose weight and keep it off could provide him with the tools to live a long and healthy life. Here are my step by step instructions to help your child lose weight:
Step 1: Identify how much weight your child needs to lose. You should never guess with weight loss. Take your child to a pediatrician and have the physician make sure your child needs to lose weight and assess precisely how much he needs to lose to be healthy.
Step 2: Instead of talking with your child about his weight specifically, try approaching the conversation in terms of making healthy choices to feel his best and live a long life. Your child needs to know that you love him and accept him as he is, but that you want him to be able to grow up with a strong healthy body.
Step 3: Contact a trainer who focuses on training children. Do not just choose any personal trainer. Finding a trainer who understands children and enjoys working with them will exponentially increase the chances that your child will succeed in losing weight. If you cannot afford to regularly meet with a trainer, then explain this to him and ask him to write out an exercise program that you can do with your child on your own.
Step 4: Make an appointment with a dietitian. Find a dietitian who also specializes in working with children. Have her measure the child’s resting metabolic rate, or RMR. By combining the results of this test with her experience and knowledge, she will be able to precisely estimate the number of calories your child should ingest per day.
Step 5: Create a diet plan that accommodates some fun foods that your child enjoys. The dietitian should be able to help you with this. Children cannot be expected to just eat salad all day and they need to understand that eating healthfully can still be fun and enjoyable. The library will also have many great cookbooks with meals that are kid-friendly and low-calorie.
Step 6: Have your trainer take your child’s measurements, including body fat percentage, weight, and girth. Use these measurements to monitor progress every 3 months. It is important to carefully review objective data as your child continues to lose weight.
Step 7: Set weekly and monthly goals for your child and reward him each time he hits one of the goals. The goals should be based not only on losing weight, but also on things such as choosing healthy meals, looking for active things to do outside, learning new things about human health and even having a smile on his face.
Step 8: Focus on the finish line. Your child needs to know that once he reaches the specific goals you have set together, there will be a big party with all his family present. Let him know that as soon as he reaches this finish line he will be able to switch to a more moderate, life-long exercise and diet program. He needs to know that he will always need to be active and make healthy eating choices, but that it will get easier at some point in the near future.
Step 9: Lead by example. You cannot tell your child to lose weight, exercise, and eat healthfully if you are not practicing these guidelines yourself. Make sure you keep your weight within the recommended range, eat healthy, whole, nutrient-rich foods, and show your child that you strongly believe what you are teaching by participating in exercise with him.