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How to Get Your Kids in Shape

A successful weight-loss plan involves not only watching calorie intake and use, but also dealing with the psychological side of weight loss and habit change. These seven proven principles can increase chances of weight-loss success now–and for the long term. Work with your child and their doctor and ask the following:

Get mentally prepared before you start.
Ask yourself how motivated you are to losing weight, and if you see yourself being committed to the goal for however long it takes. If your answers are “Very!” and “Yes!,” you’re ready to take on the challenge of weight loss.

Don’t aim to lose any more than 10 percent of your weight in six months.
Set a more modest goal by cutting 3,500 to 7,000 calories (one to two pounds) per week from what you normally consume.

Include regular exercise in your weight-loss plan.
To lose weight, you must reduce your calorie intake. Studies show exercise alone doesn’t produce much weight loss. Still, you should get in the habit of exercising while in the weight-loss phase of your diet.

Don’t eliminate fat from your diet, but do watch how much you eat.
A calorie is still a calorie whether it comes from fat or carbohydrate or protein. Reducing the amount of fat you eat is one way to limit your overall calorie intake. Remember, just because a product is fat-free, it doesn’t mean that it is “calorie-free.” All calories count!

Avoid unhealthy snacking. You may eat reasonable portions at mealtimes, and healthy snacks in between meals, but the more unhealthy snacks you consume, the more total calories you eat as well.

Eat the foods you crave–every now and then.
On special occasions, go ahead and dig in. Successful weight losers don’t deprive themselves of foods they crave or love, but they have self-control for tempting foods so they don’t go overboard.

Weigh yourself regularly.
To maintain weight loss, don’t ignore your scale. Step on the scale once a week. A weekly weigh-in can accurately help you monitor your weight, so you realize when you’re in relapse.

Nutrition and activity tips:

  • Try to control when and where food is eaten by your children by providing regular daily meal times with social interaction and demonstration of healthy eating behaviors.
  • Involve children in the selection and preparation of foods and teach them to make healthy choices by providing opportunities to select foods based on their nutritional value.
  • Controlling portion sizes and eating non-processed foods helps limit calorie intake and increase nutrients.
  • Replace sedentary activities with activities that require more movement – at least 60 minutes per day.
  • To prevent dehydration, encourage children to drink fluid regularly during physical activity and to drink several glasses of water per day.

Still looking for more ways to help manage your child’s weight?

Check Out These Websites:

Helpful Phone Apps:

  • Cardio Trainer by Noom
  • My Fitness Pal
  • Lose It!
  • Fatsecret
  • MyNetDiary ($3.99 for all options)