Overweight and Obese Children…Why Are We Ignoring This Issue?
Follow Maya Smith on her quest for better health!
In a recent article in the Washington Post, we are reminded that “for the first time in history, American children could have a shorter life span than their parents. The cause: obesity.” (1) We often ignore this issue thinking they will grow out of it or we don’t want to offend anyone. However, these habits they are learning at a young age have a direct influence on their health later. If we don’t want our children to suffer later in life, we need to teach them now!
So, what pushed me to focus on my daughter? Wise old advice from my observant and direct mother.
In a letter that I received shortly after a visit to her home in Canada, she writes:
Ala, you and Kelly do a very good job taking care of “yourselves” and you do not eat much and you exercise a lot. Why is it that your rules are not the same for Maya? She has a belly that is too big for a girl of 8 years of age. She looks like she is 11 or 12, but she is not!
Do you want her to get obese? Why aren’t you paying attention?
I suggest that you stop plating Maya’s food and instead watchfully have her do it. If she puts too much on her plate, stop her from that and tell her less is better. Explain how much a little girl should eat and give her a comparison of the size of her plate to the size of your plate. They should not be the same, for you are not the same size. You will see that she will only put on her plate, what her eyes see. Don’t force her to eat all of it if she is full. If she is eating too fast and not paying attention, stop her and remind her to slow down to realize if she is full.
Have her become more responsible and grow into a mature young lady who has control of her body. She should only eat when she is hungry. You never give her a chance to get hungry. You push food on her as if she may starve. Nobody, Ala, in America, is starving, especially Maya.
Think about what you are doing and take some time to fix this big problem now. Have her pack her school lunch and you will see that she will make better choices than you will and she will control the portion size too.
Please don’t be offended by my suggestions, I am old (86) and have lived a long time and have only experience to share. I am much better at observation than executing my advice. If I was younger, I would work harder to also be healthier and reduce how much I eat too. What a great push to start that which has haunted me in my parenting of my own daughter.
My mom sent me an old proverb that writes: “Keep your head cool, stomach empty/starved and your feet warm and dry and you will live long on this earth.”
I will cherish this motherly advice for the rest of my life and those of you struggling with ill health, or ill health of your children read this post and re-read until you too have made a decision to overcome your shortcomings.
I look forward to Maya’s transformation and together, Kelly and I will do this transformation with her. Follow Maya on her journey for better health, and challenge your kids to do the same.
If you would like more specific advice, help, or support for you or your child as you work toward health, please call us today for a consult, we would be delighted to help you with your family’s journey toward optimum health.
Maya’s Health Goals
- Exercise daily
- Plate her own food
- Pack her own lunch
- Weigh herself daily
- Reduce/eliminate processed foods and candy
- Lose 5 lbs.
Stay tuned to track her progress toward these goals!