[as seen in the Oxford Review July 19th, 2012] The problem of childhood obesity continues to escalate. The number of overweight children, and teens, in Canada (and the world frankly) isn’t good and continues to climb. When a young person gains weight it is much more difficult to shed that weight as an adult. Additionally, the risk factors for a number of health conditions, like diabetes and heart disease, go up as well.
If you are a parent and have kids, whether they are overweight or not, it is time to act. We have got to do a few things as a nation in order to get ahead of the curve and start to correct our course.
If you are an overweight teen reading this and you are looking to lose some weight I want to personally let you know that these 5 tips are totally doable. The number one thing is to be consistent with all 5 things. You will be amazed at the results.
Sugar-Sweetened Beverages All sweet beverages in the house have to go. What that means is no pop, sports drinks, sweet iced drinks, and juice. Yes you heard me right – juice. If you are drinking juice for the vitamin C please just take a vitamin supplement.
Getting rid of the liquid sugar in your home has to be your absolute #1 priority. The trouble with sweet liquids is that they bypass the body’s warning centre for a toxic load of simple carbohydrates. Don’t believe me? Try this – take the 12 teaspoons of sugar (most pop contains this much) and eat it dry. Can’t do it? I am not surprised. Now, take those same 12 teaspoons and dissolve it in about 391ml of water (single serving pop) and drink it down. It will taste quite sweet, but you can do it. Liquid delivery systems for sugar must be avoided at all times.
Fibre It Up You must increase the fibre in the diet of a child who is trying to lose weight. I wrote a full article on fibre a few weeks back and it would an understatement to say that the benefits of fibre are anything short of amazing!
Fibre decreases blood sugar, cholesterol, and cravings. It also gives your colon an easier job of moving waste through your system. The correct dose of fibre is important and you want to get a good 30 grams per day. If you are using packaged food (which may happen) you must follow this guideline: low in sugar and at least 3 grams of fibre per serving.
If you want to supplement with fibre before a meal you should be taking glucomannan. Ask your local health food store about this.
Wait It Out When you have a meal it is important to wait for a second portion of food. The rule here is to wait 20 minutes between plates. This is based on the premise that hunger and satiety are two totally different concepts. Being hungry and not feeling full is not the same thing.
That is because of an acute hunger hormone called Ghrelin. When the stomach is empty the level of Ghrelin goes up. This causes the physical feeling of hunger. As you eat that first plate of food there is a reduction in Ghrelin. So your physical hunger decreases. But, there is another hormone that is responsible for satiety and that hormone is Peptide YY (PYY). As the food you consume moves into the stomach and small intestine it takes about 20 minutes for that food to reach a point that initiates PYY signaling. When the level of PYY goes up you will feel something referred to as satiety. (A little hint here is that fibre helps to up regulate PYY signaling).
So to summarize, in order to feel not hungry and satisfied you need to have low ghrelin and high PYY and you achieve that by waiting for another serving. I am pretty sure if you think about it we all have experienced this at one time or another when waiting for another serving of something we just ordered because we were so hungry. But, when the food finally gets there you don’t actually feel like eating the second portion.
Buy Your Screen Time This is the simplest tip to say and the hardest to implement.
For every minute your kids (or you) spend watching TV, playing video games, or surfing the web they have to spend 1 minute playing outside. What that means is watching one hour of TV equates to one hour outside playing with friends, participating in a sport, or just generally being active. This is a tough one, but the rewards are remarkable.
Love The last and finally tip is love. When your child is struggling with a weight issue it is imperative that you love them unconditionally. They already get enough harassment from their peers, media, and their own internal dialogue. It is a real true battle. I cannot stress this enough – your overweight kids are not lazy gluttons. They are people and deserve all our respect.
Just a heads up – next week I will be writing more on weight loss and green coffee beans. The results look promising.
As always – Eat Healthy. Love Everyone. And Smile!
Dave Nelson is a Holistic Personal Trainer living in Woodstock. If you would like contact me please email me at dave[at]vitalityplus[dot]com