The holiday season is over (thank goodness). Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas. Looking at (not so much hanging) the decorations and lights, getting together with family and friends, and enjoying all of the special things that are unique to this time of year. Unfortunately, we know there is a price to pay for having too much of a good time. Exhaustion, disorganization, financial ruin, and maybe an extra pound or two. That’s why it’s so great that this time is followed by the start of a new year. New year – new beginning. That’s how I feel after the new year begins. Our children may not feel exactly the same way we do. They may be sad the holidays are over and it is time to go back to school. It’s time to get back to some routine. Listed below are some suggestions on how to get you and your child back on track.
- Take a few minutes to sit down with your child. Better yet, take a walk with them and talk. Let them know it’s time to refocus on their nutrition and exercise goals. If they maintained their weight, praise them for a job well done. If they gained a little, make sure they know they just need to get back to business. It’s ok. No matter what goals we make in life, there are usually ups and downs getting there. It is important to emphasize this to your child.
- Take a trip to the grocery store with your son or daughter. Encourage them to do some label reading to help them pick out some appropriate food choices. Try to make it fun and not seem like a chore. Timing is everything so pick a time that works best for your child (and you, of course).
- If they are not so eager to get to the store, see if they would rather make a recipe together. Maybe they search online for a baked chicken tender recipe and you go to the store and get the ingredients. The point is, get them involved in and thinking about good nutrition.
- Write down their reasons for wanting to lose weight. Two at the most. They need to keep in places where they will be visible several times a day – by their bed, in a drawer, screen saver on an iPod touch or computer (only if they are comfortable with that).
- Encourage them to be aware of what, why, where, how they are eating. Am I hungry? What mood am I in? Does the food I am eating still taste good? Is there a better snack choice that would be healthier? Am I eating in front of the TV? Have them write down for easy reference.
- Make a specific plan with your child for the upcoming week. What meals and snacks will you be eating? What is the exercise routine?
- Part of the plan must be increased intake of high protein foods. They speed up metabolism while helping to keep you full. Limit carbohydrate intake except for those high in fiber.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Activity and exercise!! Whenever possible. Encourage at least 30 minutes of structured exercise each day. However, try to keep your child moving. Playing interactive video games, shopping, shooting baskets, cooking, etc. or whatever keeps them from spending too much time in front of the TV or computer.
The above ideas incorporate mentally and physically what needs to happen when your child falls off the wagon (notice the reference to TAP from my last blog – thinking, awareness, and planning). Talk to your child about New Year’s resolutions and have them make one regarding nutrition that is realistic and attainable. Remember you need to keep positive and consistent. Your child needs to keep at it!
“Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.” F. Scott Fitzgerald