Saturday, May 21, 2011
When your child is overweight
As the parent of a 22 year old, I know about how difficult it is to get your children to adopt a healthy lifestyle. For several years our son was overweight. In spite of our best efforts, he continued to hold on to that extra 20 pounds.
We tried to manage his weight while trying to be cautious that he not become obsessed or self conscious. We provide better food choices for him and incorporated more exercise in his daily life. We replaced the processed meats and snacks with fresh sliced cuts and fruits. In an effort to increase his physical exercise we got him a bicycle that he would now peddle to and from school. My husband and I also tried to teach through example, cooking delicious and nutritious meals and becoming avid runners. Still, our son’s weight hung on.
Everything changed one day when he was scheduled for a routine medical check up. Because he was already sixteen years old we allowed him to see the doctor privately. After the appointment he quietly shared with us that his pediatrician had warned him of the health perils of his current weight. The physician advised our son that he simply cut back. Within months he was at a healthy weight. It was a gradual change that was achieved by his decision to cut back on his food intake while maintaining his current physical activity.
The valuable lesson I learned from this journey was that all of our efforts were not enough to motivate our son to strive for a healthy weight. It took an impartial professional to speak logically to him about a medical condition he needed to correct. Weight loss was a preventive measure to avoid health complications down the road. No different than needing to floss more to avoid cavities. By having him understand that the extra weight was not a cosmetic thing but a medical condition that could easily be corrected it empowered him to drop the shame associated with being overweight and begin to manage his weight. I am happy to report that six years later, is effortlessly maintaining his current healthy weight.