The fat child is the mirror In our cities, we are no longer struck by how many families have fat kids of various ages. In my childhood, a fat kid was always an exception. Today, not.
As a guy considered to have expertise in weight loss in its many dimensions, I am often approached by worried parents: “Doc, what to do about Shaunak? He is becoming too healthy, and is so lazy that he doesn’t move!”
First things first, stop calling obese people, including kids, ‘healthy’. Obesity is a disease. Read that. A disease. And about Shaunak? Read on.
Little kids get fat by eating more. A lot more. Abnormally more. Have you ever seen a 5 year old boy take out a knife, stick it to his mother’s neck and say, “Take me to McDonalds or die!”?? No?? That’s odd, because even I have never seen or heard of this happening.
Mommy, you are making your kid fat. Stop it! Don’t use feeding as an exercise of your maternal love. Also, don’t use your kid as an excuse for eating the things you love. If you have an unhealthy eating habit and non-exercising, inactive lifestyle, you are likely passing these traits to your child. Your child is silently imitating you. If you eat junk or push him to it, then he will do the rest.
One way to stop this is to make your home a pollution-free environment. Just like many households have a no-smoking policy (if you don’t, start!), make one where no junk food enters through the door. This holds true for all members in the house. So, no chips, colas, biscuits, chanachur, singhara, mishti, etc. is allowed inside the house.
Make a policy of eating out not more than once in 1 or 2 weeks. You simply cannot get lean if you eat out, as restaurant food is heavily loaded with flour and fat, and far more fattening than home food.
Make another policy of not allowing your kids more than one hour of TV on any given day. Are you having a problem implementing this at home? Chances are that you have encouraged this habit. Your child has watched you and imitated you. Want to change him? Change yourself first. Switch the TV off, and play a game with your kid. Go for a swim with him. Take him to the park with your dog.
I believe every kid should have a dog. Don’t pile up pressure on the child to perform better at his studies. Encourage him to play every day, as playing makes kids more intelligent. Yes, this is true. Science has shown this.
If your kid is having high blood pressure, asthma, gallstones or any other adult-type disease, you should be very very serious about his weight issue. Don’t go to commercial weight loss centers. You actually need medically supervised weight loss. I am never tired of repeating that this is a long term strategy, not a short term act. No liposuction or slimming pills or putting kids on those silly machines that allegedly make you slim. Those machines only make you look dumber than you are.
I believe that fat children cannot be helped without dealing with the mother. If you are that mother, you need to own up. Take charge, as if your house is on fire.
Establish rules for everyone, and lead by example.
If you are fat, diabetic, hypertensive yourself, look no further. You have to change for your kid to. Maybe you need weight loss surgery. Weight loss will transform your mindset, and help you bring that change in your kid that you so desperately want.
In life, we often learn that the problem lies with us, not others. Childhood obesity is one example of this.
If you are saying, “But I am doing all this already! I take my child to tennis and swimming almost every day, but he is getting fatter”, you need to learn this:
Weight loss is 90% eating-based, and 10% exercise-based. Don’t forget this.