Help For Parents – Overweight Teenagers

If you are a parent with an overweight teenager(s), it’s not easy to know how to find help.

But with obesity in teens rising, helping a child to lose excess weight, becomes essential to their health.

We often leave teens home alone, assuming they will make good choices. And, oftentimes, they do great. They have their chores and homework done, and may have also surprised you by cleaning the bathroom.

But, what food choices are they making?

If your refrigerator and pantry are stocked with fattening foods, those are likely the first things your teenager will grab. After all, they do taste the best. But, if you have made a concentrated effort to have fruits and vegetables available (cut up in containers), your teen may reach for those instead.

A child’s food choices do begin at home. Unfortunately, any parent who has a child who is beginning to gain weight, must first take stock of their own eating habits. We must also take an inventory of what foods we are keeping in our refrigerator and pantry. We are the ones who bring this food into the home. We need to take responsibility.

Children are often brought up is a situation, where they are “awarded” with food. They cry or whine, and we take them to their favorite fast food restaurant. Or maybe we offer them a cookie. After all, we want them to quiet down, so we use whatever tactic that works. But, without realizing it, we are “programing” them. Soon, food equates to comfort. Hence “comfort foods”. As adults, we can list our comfort foods, too. Mine is ice cream.

Teenagers often frequent fast food restaurants, or the food court, at a mall. These places become their “hang out”. More than likely, if they have money, they will make a poor food choice. If they were to order an alternative low fat item, they may be teased. They don’t want that…so peer pressure steps in. However, a teen who has higher self esteem, won’t care what the other think.

As parents, we may also stock the refrigerator with sugar ladened sodas. They are pre-made, cheap (especially the store brands), and they are portion controlled. In addition to that, they are packaged in a disposable (recyclable) container. No extra glasses to wash. But, they are also full of sugar. One soda has over 100 calories.

We know fresh fruits and vegetables are a better choice than chips, pretzels, candy bars, etc, but we don’t have time to cut up fresh vegetables, nor we we like the fact that the fresh fruit we buy, often gets thrown away because it doesn’t get eaten. Packaged snacks have a shelf life of months. If eaten out of the bag, there’s no extra dishes to clean.

Whole wheat bread is a much better choice for sandwiches, however, it is a more dense product. It seems to dry out faster, and often turns moldy. The white bread with all of it’s preservatives, seems to last much longer, and is more appealing. And….a young child who doesn’t have all of their teeth, would probably have a problem with dense whole wheat bread.

Eating steamed, broiled or baked recipes, is much better for all of us, but the prep time is longer, and you have to be “tied to the stove”, so they don’t get overdone. Our time becomes too valuable, so we take short cuts.

We also give our children too many choices. Instead of saying “do you want water or milk?”, we say, “What do you want to drink?’ Of course the child is going to say “a cola”.

In this day and age where both parents are holding down full time jobs, or children are being raised in by a single parent, children are often left alone to make their own choices.

As parents, we can help our overweight teens by spending time with them, watching a show like NBC’s The Biggest Loser. Without having to nag at a teenage to “watch what they put in their mouth”, this type of show will show them how hard it is to lose weight as they get older. It may also inspire your teen to spend more time exercising, as well as encourage them to eat more healthy.

When a teenager is ready to deal with the issue of being overweight, make an appointment with your family doctor. They will undoubtedly have several eating/diet plans that will work well for your overweight teenager(s).

To read more about obesity in teens, read a previous article of mine, titled: Overweight Teens – An Increasing Problem

This entry was posted in Archives, At Home, Diet & Health, Parenting, Weight Issues. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Help For Parents – Overweight Teenagers

  1. Deepti says:

    I completely agree with you that it’s real hard to understand wht to do when we find our children suffering from obesity.
    But in India, people concentrate on raw food or vegetables like spinach,pulses and green curry. I think that is the best way to help children get all nutrition, protein and necessary vitamins.
    I know i’m shifting from the topic little bit but even this is a great solution.
    deepti
    http://allaboutparenting.blogspot.com

  2. Barbara says:

    Deepti,

    I think India has the right idea. In the States parents are so busy, fast foods are too convenient, exercise isn’t a priority and peer pressure is strong. The result is poor food choices which often result in obesity.

    Barbara’s last blog post..Be Like Oprah – Help In Africa

  3. Roger OBrian says:

    Toxins and Obesity

    If you have a difficult time losing weight, it may be a result of the toxins that are constantly being introduced into your bloodstream. The more fat your body has, the more toxins it will retain, and as you lose weight those fat cells will release toxins into the bloodstream. Once the toxins are in the bloodstream, they can cause harm to the body.

    Detoxification is the process of binding up these toxins and releasing them from the body.
    Although the study of detoxification and its impact on obesity is relatively new, researchers do understand some of the mechanisms involved with how toxins impact weight gain. In particular, toxins can impact your ability to lose weight in three significant ways:

    • Toxins slow your metabolism
    • Toxins decrease your ability to burn fat
    • Toxins slow down the satiety response time (the time it takes you to feel full)

    Toxins Slow Your Metabolism
    In the past it was thought that your resting metabolic rate (RMR) declined with weight loss primarily because of the decrease in caloric intake or changes in the ratio of muscle to fat. But clinical studies are now showing just how toxic internal toxins can be to our weight loss efforts.

    One of the first things toxins do when released into the bloodstream is slow down your RMR. So, as you begin to lose weight, those surfacing toxins begin to inhibit your ability to lose weight. However, if you can eliminate those toxins from the body quickly enough during or before a period of weight loss, you may be able to reduce the decline in your metabolism.

    Toxins Decrease Your Ability to Burn Fat
    The last thing you want to hear is that something in your blood is preventing your body from burning fat, but that is just what toxins can do. In 1971, for example, a study at the University of Nevada Division of Biochemistry determined that chemical toxins weakened by 20 percent the co-enzyme necessary to burn fat in the body. In 2002, researchers concluded that toxins released during weight loss had the capacity to damage the fat-burning mitochondria.1

    The damage was significant enough to negatively impact the body’s ability to burn calories and, in effect, fat.

    I have dedicated my life to All Natural and Organic living. I’m trying to help educate others through my store, my facebook fan page and great blogs like this. You can click on my name and follow the link to my store, plus the links for my facebook fan page are located on my store’s website. I encourage everyone to post articles on my facebook fan page that help educate people and also take articles to post them on your websites. We can beat America’s Health problem by educating as many people as we can about the dangers of mass produced, genetically modified, un-natural and chemically enhanced food most people consume. Only when we can show big business that we’re incontrol because we demand better quality over their profits and quantity, can we really beat Obesity and other Health issues in the US.

    Thank you and I hope to be posting more articles on this blog in the near future. I hope everyone will spread this information or their own on the subject.

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