Denial runs deep in some families about what is a healthy weight. Sometimes parents are not able to recognize that their preteen or teenager is obese, often dismissing the issue with ‘their big boned” or “she’s a little on the heavy side.” Instead of disguising this serious health problem, parents need to help their teen admit and accept there’s a weight problem. Parents can do this in a compassionate and loving way that can help motivate your teen to improve their health and feel better about themselves. Talking to your teen about weight can get sticky fast. Here are some tips from Dr. Sylvia Rimm’s book, “Rescuing the Emotional Lives of Overweight Children”:
• Confront your teen with the fact that they are seriously overweight by saying,”I know you realize that you have been gaining weight too fast, and you may feel bad about that.” • Be a partner with your teen on her path to a healthy lifestyle by telling her, “I want to help you become your healthiest weight and feel good about yourself.” • Use your knowledge of nutrition to teach your teen about calories and balance in her diet. Learn together about nutrition. • Teach your teen about appropriate portion sizes. Read food labels together. • Serve healthy balanced meals to the entire family. Don’t single out your teen by making special meals for them. • Be kind and compassionate to your teen. Let them know your are confident in your plan and that it will take time to achieve your goals. • Meet with a nutritionist. • Schedule an appointment with her doctor. • Enroll your teen in a teen weight control group. • Remind your teen daily of all the things you love about them and the things they are good at.