Brilliant to see parents who are actively involved in their children's health. I’m also very pleased to see the answers above dealing with role modelling exercise, and nutritional choices.
I would like to contribute another factor that can be extremely helpful in promoting healthy weight. During their childhood, we are in a great position to help our children build some healthy habits around eating. Professionally, we notice that much improvement can come from habits that help us remain in touch with how our body responds to the food it receives. Unfortunately, we live in a world where a lot of the eating is done with a sense of detachment, while watching TV, reading the paper, or simply ‘shovelling’ food in.
Parents can help by modelling habits that promote staying in tune with the needs of our body. For example, variety in our foods and trying new foods can promote paying attention to how the food is experienced. Involving the child in experimentation and creativity during the cooking and preparation process can promote a sense of engaging with our meal and is very helpful.
Our body is great at surviving and we are geared to overeat as a way of protecting from starvation. This means that we take a little longer to recognise that we’re no longer hungry, so that we continue eating a little extra. Modelling slow and mindful eating can help your child build a healthy habit of allowing the natural cues from our body to signal to them that we’re no longer hungry.
Importantly, when we starve ourselves, our body (the great survivor) responds with panic (think of what happens when our air intake is restricted). This leads to binge eating and other unhealthy consequences as the body ensures access to what we need to survive. I would discourage ‘yo-yo dieting’ and artificial restrictions on how much food our children eat.
Finally, use the resources available to you – speak with your Doctor, Nutritionist, Psychologist, look through available literature, other parents and others. Of course, consider engaging your child in this process – how do they see the situation, what do they want?
Hope this helps!
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