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1. Role Model Your heath and weight directly affect your child’s health and weight. Children with just one overweight parent have a 25% risk of becoming an overweight or obese adult. If both parents are overweight the risk of becoming an overweight adult jumps to 50%.
2. Be Positive- No one enjoys receiving negative feedback. Talk to your child with compassion and encouragement. Instead of saying, ‘Lose weight’, say, ‘Let’s be healthy and start taking care of our bodies’. Focus on the foods you can eat, not the ones that you cannot. Say, ‘Let’s go pick out fruits and make a fruit salad,’ not ‘Don’t eat that.’
3. Make healthy eating a family affair – A family that eats together, eats better, according to a recent study in the journal Archives of Family Medicine. Children who report frequent family dinners have healthier diets than their peers who don’t, the study showed. Also fill your refrigerator and cabinets with fresh fruits, nuts, low-fat cheese, and things for everyone to snack on.
4. Eat Breakfast – A breakfast that consists of protein, starch and fat will keep your children more alert during school. Studies have shown that weight loss is much more difficult in people who skip breakfast.
5. Make time for physical activity – Make physical activity a family activity. Every night after dinner in the summer, go for a half-hour walk and make it an activity that kids look forward to. If you can afford it, enrol your kids in dancing or a sporting activity that they enjoy because they need to enjoy it to keep doing it. Or just turn on some dance music and have a dance party around the house.
6. Don’t say diet – Put your child on any diet and you are setting them up for an eating disorder – whether binge eating or closet eating or another type of disorder. Lifestyle changes have proven to be the most effective to lose weight and keep it off.
7. Avoid portion distortion – When serving the food try to portion out meal on dishes and avoid buffet-type or family-style eating. When exposed to so much food it is easy for your eyes to be bigger than your stomach. Resist the first temptation to have seconds then check in with yourself to see if you are really hungry.