Healthy diet and adequate exercise are important in preventing Type II diabetes in childhood as well as obesity. Diabetes is a metabolic disease in which the body cannot properly metabolize (break down) the sugars from food. Because the body cannot metabolize sugars, the sugars accumulate in the bloodstream instead and ultimately stress children’s kidneys, heart, circulatory system, and eyes. Insulin, which is created in the pancreas, is the chemical that breaks down breaks down blood sugar. In Type II diabetes, the body does not produce enough insulin to deal with all the sugars coming into the body. This medical diagnosis used to be called “adult-onset diabetes” because the disorder primarily affected adults with poor eating and activity habits. Today, however, however, this illness is now diagnosed in America’s children far more than in adults. It is now referred to as “Type II diabetes”, to reflect this shift in prevalence.
In contrast to the many youth in America who overeat and don’t get enough exercise, other children become obsessed with over-controlling their food intake and with exercising too much. With the constant barrage of perfect, photoshopped bodies in the media today, many children are feeling pressure at younger and younger ages to imitate those images. Children as young as 6 are reporting that they are trying to lose weight by dieting. Overemphasis on extreme thinness can put children at risk for poor self-esteem, unhealthy exercise patterns, and eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia.
Children who embrace healthy eating and exercise habits during middle childhood will have a much easier time maintaining a healthy lifestyle through adolescence and adulthood than individuals who try to make the shift later in life. Teaching children to habitually eat moderate portion sizes and to choose healthy foods in preference to junk foods becomes increasingly important as children begin to spend more time away from home and gain more independence over their food and activity choices. Even though parents have less control over their children’s eating habits during middle childhood than when children were younger, it remains vital that parents continue to reinforce children’s healthy habits whenever possible.
1. Focus on healthy lifestyle changes
Healthy weight management isn’t about depriving yourself of calories. Consider what else you can do to help with weight management. Are you exercising regularly? Getting a good night sleep? Engaging in other stress-reducing activities? Stress is not your friend when you are trying to shed some pounds or inches, because it results in increased levels of the hormone, cortisol, which results in increased carb cravings.
2. Set realistic and achievable goals
Setting unrealistic goals will only result in disappointment and may cause you to give up on your journey. If your goal involves pounds lost, one to two pounds weekly is a reasonable weight loss goal.
3. Set one goal that has nothing to do with weight
For instance, you might want to fit into a particular article of clothing that has historically been too tight. Or maybe you want to keep up with your dog when you’re out for a brisk walk – without getting winded. Goals focused around healthy living are more sustainable than those driven only by weight loss.
4. Engage in daily structured activities, including exercise
The more exercise becomes part of your daily routine, the easier it will be to get it done. If you have time, exercise first thing in the morning before you have time to come up with excuses not to do it. Laying out your exercise clothes the night before can be a very helpful morning motivation.
5. Make healthy eating a daily activity
Thorne has made the obstacle easier for you to tackle by providing you with our Thorne Weight Management Program, including recommended food lists and healthy recipes. Healthy eating doesn’t have to be boring – mixing up your meals is a big component to sticking with your program.
6. Be sure you’re adopting habits you can keep
As you embark on a weight management program, keep in mind those changes you would feel comfortable about continuing as a lifestyle. The problem with most diet fads is that they simply aren’t sustainable for the average person. Maintaining a balanced diet of healthy whole foods while still enjoying some of your favorites will make you more likely to stick with your new lifestyle long-term.
7. Adopt new habits slowly
For instance, if you know you can’t give up your morning latte, then try having it with non-fat milk and no flavoring. It might seem boring at first but in a few weeks, the old flavored latte would probably taste way too sweet. Once your taste buds get used to not having artificial sweeteners, naturally sweet foods will taste even sweeter.
8. Enlist support from family and friends
This is probably the most important tip for success. Even if your family is not going to participate in the specific diet plan you have in mind, you want to be sure they are supportive and not trying to coerce you into going out for pizza or ice cream every night. If you have a family member or friend who will be participating in a weight management program with you, so much the better. You can give each other encouragement and hold each other accountable.
9. Stock your kitchen with the foods you need to get started
Check out our weight management program now available. Included are specific food lists you can adopt as grocery lists to get started on your journey.
10. Set a specific start date
And there’s no time like the present.