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Get Teens Moving Beyond Driving a Car!

Before I had children, I was already concerned about their weight!  It is hard to grow up anyway but to be an overweight kid presents even more challenges.  I think my self-esteem took an especially hard hit from being overweight as a kid and teenager.

One of my sons is 13 and has went from playing outside, building forts and enjoying the activities that younger kids do to preferring video and computer non-activities!  Thank goodness, neither of my kids have a weight problem but I know with my history of morbid obesity and the gene pool I gave to them, that possibility is there.  In addition to healthy eating, I also encourage activity as a family and for them.

Being physically active for at least 45-60 minutes every day is especially crucial for children struggling with weight issues.  Due to budgetary constraints, many of the physical education programs and teachers have become a luxury rather than necessity.  One of the goals of physical education teachers is to introduce kids to a wide range of activities and skills, and to allow them to find something physically active they enjoy doing for the rest of their lives.  Many overweight children report having bad experiences in physical education, not because of the instruction, but because they are concerned about how their peers perceive them in physical education.  I felt as though I stood out in p.e. because I couldn’t do things as easily or graceful as other kids.  This can be a barrier to enjoying activity and can discourage participation.  Overweight and obese kids carry psychological and emotional issues that can lead to anger, despair, and a sedentary lifestyle.  One example is picking teams.  I was always the last or next to the last one picked.  I can remember the humiliation of standing there hoping to be picked.  Overweight youth dread being picked last so a more sensitive approach is for the teacher or adult to set up the teams in advance to avoid this experience.

Teenagers should be encouraged to take responsibility for their own health by making smart nutritional choices and 45-60 minutes of physical activity each day.  That activity requires active decision making and personal goal setting along with support from family for those choices.

Some possibilities for choices are the Nintendo Wii, Dance Dance Revolution are some favs to do at home, rent an exercise dvd (kick boxing) or take a walk or hike with the family.  If exercising with others is more fun, options can also include walking, jogging, bicycling, taking classes such as martial arts or Taekwondo.

Teenagers (and all of us!!!) should avoid anything that advertises a quick fix such as a piece of exercise equipment that builds the body of your dreams in two weeks, a diet that can shed 20 pounds in 10 days, or a pill of any kind.  The majority of over-the-counter pills for weight loss are not tested and ineffective, some are even dangerous.  The way to lose weight is to eat nutritiously, be active, and think health as your mindset for choices and decisions in food and exercise.  Healthy nutrition and physical activity on a daily basis is the safest, most effective weight loss and maintenance plan.  For teenagers that need to lose weight, a reasonable, safe goal is a weight loss of one pound per week.  Sound too slow for them?  Think of this…a weight loss of a pound per week is 52 pounds in only one year.  No restriction or fad diets or exercise plans.  Plus, as all of us know from our own personal experiences, if a person takes it slow and adopts healthy habits along the way, the weight loss achieved is more likely to be permanent.

The best way to combat obesity is education.  Overweight kids must learn what foods to choose as well as portion control.  Daily physical activity is simply a health requirement.  Teenagers learn healthful habits from parents and teachers who model themselves these behaviors.

Our bodies are like a high performance sports car.  If you fill it with low quality, sub quality fuel and park it, it will deteriorate.  Cars are meant to be used and move – just like our bodies.  If it receives high quality and driving time, cars and bodies perform and thrive.  Our bodies also need good fuel (healthy nutrition) and movement (daily physical activity) to achieve and maintain optimal health and wellness throughout their lives.  By embracing this mindset early on, kids will be more likely to obtain and maintain optimal health and wellness throughout their lives.

Among teenagers’ top priority is a care….make the connection between their bodies and own engines to their desired car.  Proper maintenance and care make cars and bodies have maximum performance!

Believe In Yourself,
Cathy, CLC
Certified Life Coach, Weight Loss Surgery Coach
Certified Back On Track Facilitator

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