Before and After Weight Loss

Rethinking the Backyard Barbecue

Summertime and the living is easy…and much of it is spent outdoors. If your child or teen is returning home from a weight loss camp with some of those stubborn pounds missing or if you have visited an adult “fat camp” or been trying to rethink your own eating habits, here are some suggestions for a healthier backyard BBQ:

* Instead of serving soda or beer, make your own lemonade with fresh squeezed lemons, some calorie-free sweetener, and ice cubes into which you’ve frozen some fresh mint leaves from your garden (pansy flowers work too.) Or make herbal iced tea with organic honey. Aim for no artificial ingredients in any drink you serve.

* Don’t cheat and buy mayo-rich salads. Make several green ones instead (spinach and raw almonds; raddichio, rugula and garbanzo beans dressed with light oil and lemon or raspberry vinegar; fresh basil, dill and cold (skinless) chicken breast with a little sunflower oil and grapes. Make fruit salads, too–using natural honey as the “tie that binds”.

* While you are preparing the fruit, save some to make light sorbet in your ice cream maker or freeze fruit juices with wooden sticks for homemade popsicles for dessert.

* Use what grows wild around you–How about a salad with dandelion greens, wild rose petals and rhubarb stalks? And don’t forget the onion grass you find everywhere (those are just chives and scallions by another name.) If you find a sunflower–bonus! The seeds can be eaten raw or roasted.

* Substitute turkey dog for hot dogs and serve without a bun. Instead of hamburgers on the grill, why not make “lamburginis”–lamb patties mixed with fresh vegetables and herbs from your garden for flavor. (Ditch that harmful salt. Pepper comes in infinite –and delicious varieties–try pink peppercorns and see how you like them.)

* Shish kabobs–grilled with no oil–make a great BBQ food, especially when combined with fresh peppers of several varieties.

* Condiments have lots of hidden calories–serve plenty of juicy garden-grown tomatoes instead of ketchup, and cucumbers instead of salt-filled pickles. Or better still, make your own, substituting calories free sweetener for all that sugar in the ketchup and a salt substitute in the brine for homemade pickles.

* Go online and research the many recipes that now exist for light summer fare and save yourself from feeling weighted down in these hotter months. Start a summer cookbook with what you find.

* Remember, a BBQ isn’t all about eating… it’s about playing too! Set up a badminton court, a croquet course, or invest in a bocce ball set (then explain the game to your kids). If you are feeling more adventurous, buy a trampoline or a silly slide (that and a hose are all you need to laugh the afternoon away and get your exercise to boot.)

Getting and staying fit doesn’t mean you have to give up that time-honored American tradition. With a little rethinking, the backyard BBQ will continue to make great summer memories for your family.

 

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.

Teen Weight Loss

Teen Weight Loss Camps: A Judgement-Free Environment

As adults, there are times where we’d like to stand out, to grab extra attention and be noticed for being unique…and therein lies the difference between us and teenagers.

From adolescence right up until well into college, teenagers often just want to fit it, to belong to a group, to find safety and acceptance in numbers. Stepping out alone can be terrifying, which is why the idea of being shipped off to a “fat camp” is not something most kids are looking forward to–even when they need to lose weight and just such a place may turn the tide of their weight gain. They don’t yet realize that a weight loss camp, specifically for kids, is full of other teens going through the same challenges and who are therefore able to offer each other special support.

Here’s what we’ve learned after more than four decades of creating weight loss camps for teens: An obese teen is an unhappy teen and cliques of kids at school or on sports teams are often the cruelest to that kid who already feels like he or she isn’t worth much. Name-calling, shunning, mocking get to be second nature to the kid who is different in any way and obesity makes kids different from most of their peers. The weight gain often comes as just the time that teens are particularly body conscious (and perpetually exposed to images of anorexic models and steroid-enhanced athletes) and, combined with hormonal changes, an overweight kid is in for a rough ride.

Even well-meaning parents can add to the pain. Criticism, spoken or just perceived, can make teenagers feel even more down on themselves, which may lead to emotional overeating, which means more weight gain and less self-esteem–and the cycle continues. A good weight loss camp, with a proven history of providing a safe and judgment- free haven for kids to work on their weight problems, is one way to break the cycle.

At Camp Shane, counselors are trained to immediately nip any bullying or cruelty in the bud, encourage campers to concentrate on helping one another face (and conquer) their weight issues, and provide a safe place to learn new habits and make new friends. At such a camp, teens can open up and talk to each other without fear of judgement and a problem shared truly is a problem halved.

Together with the staff and “a little help from their friends” overweight teens can start down the road to a healthier and happier life and weather the inevitable storms of adolescence.

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.

Fitness Exercises to Lose Weight

Helping Overweight Teens Gain Control of Their Lives

Adolescence is a scary time (think back to the endless waiting for the invitation to the big dance or what to do if your friend is driving drunk or to hoping your college of choice will accept you). Every day teens are faced with situations they never faced before and lots of choices to be made with no guarantee their decision is the right one.

Double the terror for the teen who is overweight. When it comes to teen weight loss, they think the deck is stacked against them. They are the kid not asked for the date, the one either made fun of or reduced to always being the jolly fat kid –the class clown, rather than the star athlete–always the best friend, never the girl or boyfriend. They hear the whispering in the hall when they pass and they face trying on new clothes for school with a dread a skinny kid can’t imagine. Trying out for sports is an exercise in humiliation and watching everyone else get ready for the prom is a lesson in shame.

Weight loss camp can put an end to these miseries for the overweight teen and teach them a truly vital lesson in living that can be applied to every situation in their future: You can take control and change your life. Nothing is et in stone and your life can be happy and fulfilled, not ruled by hiding, shame or embarrassment about the body you inhabit. That body can be changed and that successful, confident, and happy person inside can come shining through.

At weight loss camp, everyone is treated with respect and support. The entire staff is trained to help a teen overcome the obstacles in their way–starting with shyness (isolation is one of the coping techniques of an overweight teen), low self-esteem (teens are taught to accept where they are as a starting point and build from there) and avoidance of risk (at camp, everyone is encouraged to try and everyone makes the team, shares the glory, and is recognized for their own special talents and abilities.)

Positive reinforcement is the order of the day and bullies and trash-talkers are immediately taught that type of negative behavior doesn’t fly at weight loss camp (Counselors do understand that some teens put others down to build themselves up. They then help the kids learn a new way to build their self-esteem).

Kids are given the tools to change the way they eat: nutrition information, cooking classes, instruction in how to make healthy choices–and once given the tools, make better decisions.

No one is treated like a child at camp, All the teen contribute their creative ideas and suggestions to the group and all are praised for their contributions. Teens flourish under such encouragement and their outlook about themselves and their bodies starts to change. They leave camp with more information, a better outlook, and much more confidence. Such increased self-esteem helps them face all their trials in life-not just those connected to weight. Just one summer can change their entire lives for the better.