It is very important to me that I am selective when deciding on what topic to write about.
We’ve all heard the wise cracks and jokes about overweight individuals. Generally, we’ve all been on one side of the fence – some having to listen to the hurtful and disparaging remarks, while others are guilty of expressing negative comments without any forethought as to how it may affect that person.
There is no safe place from cruel words and taunting assaults to those who struggle with weight. If you happen to be a person who carries extra weight, you know how horrible some people can be. The adolescent and teenage years are often considered the most difficult in life, particularly in the latter’s case.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 15 percent of children and teens ages 2 to 19 are considered to be obese. While maintaining a healthy weight is an important skill for teens to learn, it is also important to remember that a teenager does not have the emotional and mental developmental level of an adult. The teenager must be approached with caution, in a patient and compassionate manner, coupled with a healthy attitude. We must keep in mind that teenagers are already in the throes of hormonal surges, which can impact their emotional balance. It is a very sensitive subject.
One would assume that such remarks come from other teens or total strangers. Having worked with and spoken to teens (as well as living it myself) about this very subject almost always leads to the same story. It’s their mother, father, sister, brother, grandparents, best friends, and/or teachers, among others, that make such remarks. Many peers of overweight children do not accept them, further fostering negative self-perception.
Teenagers can be annoyed with excess fat on their body and they often have a distorted body image as it is. When weight loss is addressed to teenagers these issues must be included in the plan. Without better knowledge and understanding, teens see themselves differently than they really are, you will not be able to help motivate them to continue to make healthy life choices. Negative and hurtful remarks certainly will not help matters.
Teens often suffer from poor self-esteem and poor self-motivation. It is a parent’s job to help gently encourage them. Research shows that parents who nurture a positive attitude and actively show their child qualities of resilience and optimism will make a dramatic difference that continues into successful, healthy adult years.
Teenagers continue to require appropriate nutrition to feed their growing body. As a parent, believe in them! To foster optimism and resilience in a child who struggles with weight issues, assure them that you are on their side. Assure them that you expect them to be the best person that they can be, although you don’t expect them to be the best at everything. After all, no one person is perfect.
It is necessary to find other adults who also legitimately believe in your children. Teachers, aunts, uncles, neighbors and friends can help you make a positive difference in your child’s life. Other adults that can see beyond the weight and also believe in him/her can help your child take control of their life. We must encourage our children to stay interested in activities. Let them know that their interests are valuable and deserve to be developed, whatever it is. Celebrate your children’s winning experiences and help them to accept defeats graciously.
Knowing you appreciate their efforts and positive attitude to win or lose is crucial to a child’s growth. Positive attitude and effort is far more important than any victory. Be a role model for perseverance. Be sure your children hear you say that some tasks are difficult, but that you are not a quitter.
Some teens may need to see a nutritionist to evaluate their eating and determine how to change their habits. Professionals can often give teenagers advice that they accept rather than from their families and friends. However, professionals are more distant and do not have as much invested in the relationship. Weight loss plans designed for teenagers should be approached in a supportive family environment.
It is so much easier to achieve your goals when you are working with like-minded and supportive people. Even though you are able to change the foods that are brought into the home, teens can eat improperly outside the house. That’s why education about healthy nutrition and good food choices are so important to the success of any weight loss program. Keep nutritious snacks in the home. Teens snack constantly! They will reach for what is available and if chips and dip are handy that is what they’ll be eating.
Try keeping snacks like celery, peanut butter, bananas, apples, or other various fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator to serve as healthier alternatives.
While many people are searching for weight loss plans to achieve fast, easy and painless weight loss, it is important to note that any plan should be initiated with the long-term effects in mind. Making strong, healthy lifestyle choices will eventually lead to permanent weight loss and a healthier life.
Each individual person is unique. Genetic make-up varies from individual to individual. Lifestyle and exercise habits also impact the body’s ability to lose weight. Please, please, think before you speak – your words have the power to affect a person’s life forever. Everyone is the son or daughter of somebody.