According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, 14% of adolescents in the United States are overweight. This figure has nearly tripled in the last 20 years.
Wait, it gets even worse.
The number of adolescents and teens that are being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure is rising in exponential proportions.
Scary to say the least!
This is a topic that is so near and dear to my heart, because I can remember, first hand, how difficult it was to be an overweight teen and the challenges faced during this sensitive time.
If you were to ask any overweight teenager, "What upsets you the most about your weight?" I assure you the answer will not have anything to do with the health implications mentioned above, but will be about the social criticizing, bullying, and ridicule that they almost always receive by their not-so-compassionate peers.
Here are 3 important steps I feel will not only help your own fat loss efforts, but will encourage the loved ones in your life (children and adults included) to establish a healthy lifestyle.
- Make healthy eating a family event. When you involve your children in every part of the food making process, they are excited to eat and share their creations. Start a small vegetable or herb garden with your family that you all take care of together. I have a small basil plant on my back porch that my 3 year old and I take care of every day. He loves to watch it grow and water it, and I love fresh basil in a variety of our meals. Where can you get your children or your family members more involved in food preparation? Even if it's asking them to search the internet for new recipes they want to create, they'll be excited to know that it was "their" recipe that is for dinner tonight.
- Make exercise about having fun. Kids are supposed to play and so are adults. Who likes boring gym equipment anyway? (I don't!) You'll not only get an incredible workout by finding a playful activity (sports, jump rope, playground, playing tag in the backyard), but you'll also experience the mood lifting hormones that come along with fun play.
- Find your support system. There is a reason why there are support groups for drug addiction, alcoholics, and weight loss...because they work! It's just too hard to make significant changes in our lives (especially when they're challenging) without some cheerleaders on our side. For me, it took me so long to finally get my weight under control because I was missing this critical piece of the puzzle. I see now, with the wonderful support of my family and our amazing community in Beyond Diet, how easy it is to stay on this healthy journey when so many people are there to encourage me every day.