Today, obesity has hit our children around the globe in record breaking numbers.
Obesity in teens can lead to a life filled with pain, inflammation and depression with inept social behavior issues that can follow them into adulthood. So why are we looking at obesity in our children as if it was some strange gigantic dinosaur entering the playground?
Children learn by emulating their parents. About 80% of teens are dissatisfied with their bodies and feel bad about themselves and their sensuality. This however can stem from 85% of adult women who are also very much dissatisfied with their bodies. Before the teen years hit, children often defined themselves with how their parents present themselves. If they see a parent trashing his body with junk foods and eating in front of the television, they will naturally follow suit.
As a teacher I’ve seen donuts, pop tarts and soda enter the classroom for breakfast, pizza for lunch and a dinner of mac & cheese. These don’t even come close to supplying the body the fuel it needs to learn.
Breakfast is essential to learning and to keeping a proper weight. Before you send your child off to school -sit down with them and enjoy a good breakfast together. You are in charge of your child’s health. A child can not learn as well as others, when on a high sugar diet. Lacking healthy foods for the body puts children at a disadvantage because their brains aren’t being fed proper nutrition. Obesity has the ability to sneak in and lower the IQ levels of millions. As Dr. Daniel Amen said: “When we are obese we have smaller brains.”
I find it important to teach ‘health from the inside out.’ When we feed our gut we also feed our brain. This can be empowering for children to learn. As a parent I think we all want our children to have a healthy body and brain. So lets get started.
Challenges with body- image.
Body-image disturbance is generally seen in conjunction with self-esteem issues, depression, eating disorders, and/or abuse. It’s important to note if your child is obese, their body image is non-existent.
When a teen suffers from obesity they are always hungry and never seem to be SATIATED. This is more than just ‘food talk’ here. There are many areas of SATIETY that need to be addressed. Logical thinking is interrupted and stress is increased. Every stressful emotion causes a reaction in the body that can keep us fat, challenging body-image even more. Listen to your child and find out what he/she needs. Emotional instability can be one cause for obesity. Become their cheerleader and their rock, someone they can depend on. They may not know how to communicate what they’re feeling, but you can listen to the clues.
Sometimes parents with all good intentions try to help by sending their child off to weight loss institutions. (which can mean we don’t approve of their body size) This can increase stress levels and decreases body image even more, spiraling into depression and even attempted suicide. Obesity is an extremely sensitive subject. It’s more than just ‘fat talk’. These children want their parents to help them ‘find peace in their broken pieces.’
Grab their attention before depression along with obesity escalates into disease. You may want to rethink before you hand them over to Big Pharma. If an anti-depressant is recommended for your child, these can cause additional weight gain.
What I have found as a mother of two is ‘teens’ are looking at magazines staring ‘skinny women’ and ‘buff men’ wearing fabulous cloths more often then we think. This is illusionary, ‘a fantasy world’ leaving most teens feeling that their bodies are inadequate. These children believe if they could just look like these models, they would feel better about themselves. When this happens weight controls their happiness.
Body image is never defined as just a girl thing. Young men with body shame were less likely to be hopeful about entering into any social or romantic relationships.
In the US we are ranked number one in childhood obesity. So imagine more teens becoming introverted and bullied because of their weight. How can you step in?
Even before weight loss is achieved you can: Make peace with your body and love yourself. Teach this to your children. It’s important to feed your mind with loving thoughts and tell your ‘Negative Nellie’ you won’t be listening to her anymore. Shut the bad news off on the TV and listen to your favorite music and dance. Feeding your body and brain includes scheduling some form of a healthy exercise routine daily.
Have your children explore and be open to new organic foods, organic skin care and oral health products you may never have tried before. Toxic sugary foods, skin care, soaps and detergents can cause hormonal imbalances and keep the body holding onto unwanted weight. Let them in on your plan to ditch the toxic gargle and soaps and replace them with organic products with organic essential oils. Replace the sugar, commercial salad dressings, boxed and packaged foods, with real whole foods. Remind them that sugar causes weight gain.(1) Have them follow your lead. Drink plenty of pure clean water during the day. Don’t be afraid of good fats like avocado and raw nuts in your diet. Ditch the unhealthy fats that can keep you and your children fat, sick and toxic such as trans fats in fried foods. Teach your children diets don’t work but a healthy lifestyle does. Enjoy raspberries, spinach and ginger in your smoothies in the morning.
Offer kids ‘body image’ tools: We can develop new habits just like we can develop a new muscle. It begins in the mind first. When we add in more nutrient rich foods our taste buds start to change. If we consistently eat junk lifeless foods we tend to be addicted and want more of them. Set your own stage and add the players. Junk foods and toxic friends are not invited and can only keep you from your goals. Teach children how they can become centered, how to meditate and take some time out for self care. This can assist in boosting self esteem levels in all of us. Create some ‘fun conversations’ with your teens by scheduling time together. A child who feels better about herself attracts more friends.
Spice it up with talks about sex. At times, food becomes ‘safe sex’ for many female teens and adults. Ask them about their fears surrounding this important subject.
When children are bullied they feel disempowered and may not know how to act or react in order to protect themselves. The children who are the bullies can smell this lack of awareness a mile away. Make no mistake, when a child learns positive ways to take better care of their bodies they think more clearly. When they believe in themselves and know they can confide in you, they will have the necessary tools to deal with the bullies. We become what we believe we are.
Connie Rogers is a Certified Integrative Nutritional Holistic Health Coach. She is passionate to teach about toxins and food choices that can stand in the way of Digestive Wellness, Hormonal Balance and Brain Health.
Want to learn more? The first ‘bite size step’ involves getting yourself ready for your journey to self-confidence. https://bitesizepieces.leadpages.co/achieve-results-today/ Visit me at www.facebook.com/bitesizepieces