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Lose weight like a child should

Say you notice your child is carrying some extra weight and getting a bit “chubby.” What would be the best way to get your child to a healthy weight, without interfering with their youthful, carefree vibrance?

Would you choose any of these options?

1. Substitute meals with high protein shakes

2. Feed them grapefruit – only – for a week

3. Have them skip breakfast and lunch and just eat dinner.

4. Put your child on a high protein, mostly-meat-and-dairy diet

5. Give your child a diet pill to curb their appetite

6. Order special, calorie-portioned meals, delivered right to your door

7. Allow your child to ONLY eat at Subway

8. Request gastric bypass surgery Would you? Yes? No? Here’s why the above choices are probably not the best options:1. Man-made nutrients are not better then healthy, whole foods. 2. Weight loss will occur; but it will be a difficult week. Plus once it's over, you return to what you were eating and quickly gain the weight back you lost. 3. This leads to a really bad habit of overeating at night.4. This can lead to constipation, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. A diet high in animal protein has been proven to lead toward cancer.5. Pills are not good for anyone.6. Be prepared to bring one of those special meals everywhere you go.7. Chances are they won't want veggie sandwiches on a “whole-wheat” (i.e., mostly white flour) bun everyday – and they’ll definitely be upset about missing the cookies or chips.8. If you are afraid to do this to your child, you should be afraid to do this to yourself.So, what would I do? I will use my seven-year-old daughter as an example. She has a healthy appetite – she loves to eat almost anything. My husband and I noticed she was getting a little “thick.” We needed to make some changes. When we decide to make changes, we don’t single out one child: the whole family makes the change. We never pick out one child and tell them they are fat. We just focus on making healthy choices, one little change at a time. This is what the plan looked like for our daughter:A) We took a look at what she was eating. She loves to eat raw almonds with her (2-3) smoothies a day. Yes, raw almonds are healthy – but they have a lot of fat and calories. Our first move was to say, "Okay, new rule . . . only one smoothie with almonds, each day." That cut out 100-200 calories everyday.B) We made sure she got five good days of exercise. It could be a sport, class, playing outside, etc. C) We began the rule that we only have after-dinner snacks on Fridays or Saturdays. If she, or anyone else in the family, was hungry after dinner, they could have fruit or a fruit smoothie.D) She also liked to have crackers with avocado butter (smashed avocado with a little sea salt). We made a new rule: swapping out crackers for veggies instead. She started to eat sliced cucumbers with her avocado. This cut out 200 calories a day.So, let's say we just cut out around 400-600 calories a day. We replaced those calories with more fruits, veggies, whole grains and beans. She naturally slimmed down: slowly, steadily, but surely. It was not difficult for her; a little uncomfortable at times (she’s a cracker lover!), but she didn't go hungry, and still was able to eat food she loved. On weekends, she looks forward to having crackers or a bowl of pretzels as a treat. I still have a healthy, vibrant individual! That's how you should lose weight too. Make small changes you stick with. Before you know it, you've created a good habit while breaking a bad habit. Little changes can really add up. And keep in mind, if it's not good for your child, it's not good for you either.

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