Fitness Camp – The Power of Example in Child/Teen Weight Loss

When your kids were small, your mother might have cautioned you against saying something in front of them with the time-worn phrase, “Little pitchers have big ears” meaning children hear and understand more than you think.

Well, those little pitchers have big eyes too and they don’t stop watching you just because they are now older (even when they are teens). Your every move is watched and even emulated. When it comes to weight loss and healthy eating habits, you can provide a good example (or a bad one.) This is particularly important for when your kid returns home from weight loss camp. You don’t want to undo all the good results they have achieved, so now is the time to look to your own diet and exercise habits.

Consider starting the day with some stretches –a habit that will be useful well into the years when you are a grandparents. If you do these on your living room floor, your kids will notice as they bound by. Invite them to join in.

Next comes breakfast, the most important meal for a reason, it is the fuel for the day. Ask your kids to research which juices and fruits are best for your family and have them report the results to you–then buy (or better still-squeeze the juices). Let them experiment with juice combinations too. Make sure there are several healthy cereals available for those rushed mornings, as well as yogurt, fresh fruit, and a handy blender for a dash-for-the-door smoothie. Don’t you dare limit yourself to a cup of coffee because you are late for work!

Pack your healthy lunch for work and let our kid pack their own lunches from the ingredients you’ve assembled. Make sure you have nuts and fruit and whole grains in transportable pieces for ease of use. Banish soda and soft drinks from your house. Buy a water filter pitcher and keep plenty of organic juices around. Start monitoring your own fluid intake–making sure you get plenty of liquid to flush your kidneys. Trade in whole mile for low-fat milk in your refrigerator. Investigate drinking soy milk or almond milk instead–as your kids for their opinions of each.

Keep fresh fruit, like apples or dried fruit in the winter, for a quick handful of energy. Replace them (uncomplainingly) when your kids eat them all. Substitute sources of protein (other than meat) when possible–find out what type of beans (kidney, navy, garbanzo) and tofu your kids like and start eating them yourself.

Buy a rice cooker and brown rice. Keep it and salt-free soy sauce handy. A bowl of low-fat milk, honey, and rice even make a great sweet substitute.

Invite your kids out for an after-dinner walk (and, if you are lucky, talk. Tell them you enjoy their company and love talking things over with them.) Enjoy a light dessert, like natural sorbet or frozen yogurt, when you return and throw out the cookies and cakes (if you find yourself jumping in the car and driving to the store for a fattening dessert at night, you might need to visit an adult weight loss camp.)

Join a gym with a family membership. Set a schedule when you will go and stick to it. Let your kids know the schedule will be kept and that they are always invited and will provide the ride. Buy a bike and use it. Train for a marathon–in front of the whole family. Get them rooting for you. Then follow through on that and all your healthy changes. When they see your commitment, they will know you are serious and it can start the gears in their brains a-turning.

Parenting doesn’t have to be all, “Do it because I said so”! It can be “Do what I do,” if you utilize the power of example.

Summer Weight Loss Camps

Summertime Experiences at Weight Loss Camp for Teens

As soon as the Spring months come around. every teenager starts counting the days till summer vacation and “no more teachers, no more books”, but the summer months are still times of learning and new experiences–some of them life-changing.

Kids head in a multitude of different directions during the summer months. Some kids head off to jobs to dip their toes in the wage-earning world they will enter soon enough. Others travel abroad or here in the US, trying new things like rock-climbing, white-water rafting, or just mastering the skills needed for their first time alone on an airplane. Others volunteer, helping others, learning skills that will help them and our society. All are gaining confidence that will stand them in good stead in their futures.

Another direction some kids go into, particularly overweight teens- is retreating to the couch, bowl of popcorn in lap, to play endless video games as their weight balloons and their self-esteem plunges. As parents, you may be at your wit’s end about what to do and how to motivate and get your teen off the couch and out in the world.

As teen weight loss experts and owners of the longest-running weight loss camp for kids, we’d like to offer a suggestion: Consider the extra time your teen is home in the summer as an opportunity to spend some real time together…nonjudgmental time–time to allow your teen to open up to you about how they really feel about their obesity and how they feel in their own skin.

There really is no need to point out that your kid is overweight. They know they are and they find it shameful, but most don’t know how to stop the endless cycle of overeating and then feeling terrible about themselves.

When they are home, provide every opportunity for them to move their bodies in helpful (and fun ways), this will not only strengthen your relationship with your teen, but will get you moving too! Challenge them to a tennis tournament or teach them to play handball, and making sure your house is stocked with plenty of fresh, wholesome (and nutritionally sound foods)–suggest that they might like to spend a few weeks helping themselves face their weight problems at a weight loss camp especially for teens.

At weight loss camp, explain that there they will be surrounded by kids just like themselves–no need to feel badly there about putting on a swimsuit–and there they can take charge of their own life (as they soon will do in “the real world”). Suggest that you are willing to treat them like the adults they soon will be and that you will arrange for them to have this opportunity at a weight loss camp for teens-if they will take the opportunity to do something for themselves.

Emphasize that this experience will not be a “boot camp” or “fat camp” but a place to have fun, play sports, learn about healthy food, and grab control of this problem that is plaguing them. Away from the eyes of their friends, it will be easier. Paint a picture of how great it will be when they show up for the first day of school in the fall with a whole new look, and a whole new outlook on life. Their energy will be up, they will be happier in social settings and be confident at making better food choices when they are out with their friends. The things that your kid will learn at just such a teen weight loss camp will stay with them long past their graduation day.