Obese is such a rough word. Phonetically it sounds awful. The O is long, The B is harsh. And it always make me think obeast when I read it or hear it. The beast of obesity is an unwelcome reality. And a tragedy for a child.
You may have already asked yourself this question. Is my child obese? And, you probably already have an answer. I’m going to write this post anyway because it’s about more than just knowing that answer. It’s about the hard truths in general that we need to tell ourselves when we are parents. It can be hard to do this sometimes, but, maybe not as hard as you think! Let’s see.
Any truth needs facts. Without facts it’s so easy to skip the truth about something because, well, because we just don’t know for sure. So we are off the hook! Except we aren’t, and we know it. That truth whispers, and nags us, and keeps us awake at night because all unpleasant truths are hardest to ignore at 2:30 in the morning. Right?
Childhood obesity is one of those truths. Hard to talk about, even with your doctor or counselor. One mom told me that she knew her child was obese, but she had a hard time talking about it because she felt like she was to blame. And she felt like her doctor also held her responsible, even though she knew that wasn’t the case.
No parent deliberately sets out to make their child obese. So, there is no need to blame anyone. Feeling blamed is probably the most common reason parents do nothing about their child’s obesity. And shame keeps them out of the doctor or counselor’s office where they could get the help they would really like to have.
What’s Your Truth?
Might some privacy help? Maybe quietly reading this post will give you a chance to think first, by yourself, and make it easier to decide what to do next. Here are some fact filled links for you to browse.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Body Mass Index, or BMI, is used to calculate whether or not any person, of any age, is obese. This link has an easy calculator for children and teens.
- Adult BMI Calculator Parents, here’s an adult calculator for you to use!
- Fat Stigma Fuels Weight Bullying Being obese damages a child’s mental health. It is one of the most common reasons a child gets bullied. This New York Times article tells more about it.
- Mayo Clinic This site covers many aspects of obesity – causes, risks, what to do. It is easy to read, especially in the privacy of your home.
- Food Rules A little book by Michael Pollan about food. Funny, easy, makes all the sense in the world. You will never think about food the same way after you read it. I love this book and share it with nearly every one of my clients, from teens on up.
What’s Your Plan?
Only you, a parent, can really help your child. Yes, you need some information before you can start. And, then what you need most of all is a very good plan.
- Is there an obesity problem? Did you check the links above?
- Do you want the problem solved? This is another part of the difficult truth. Be honest with yourself. Tell yourself the truth.
- Do you know what to do? Would you like some help?
- What will you do? Write it down. Your child can’t pull this off on her own. If the cupboards don’t have the right foods in them it is impossible for your child to eat better.
- Who will you get to help? A doctor, a counselor? How would you like this person to help? Would you like them to help you build your plan?
- Are you ready to start, and stay the course with your plan until you are HAPPY with the results? It could take awhile to conquer the obesity.
- You aren’t going to put your child on a diet. It’s a body management change. A beautiful life change for you and your child.
- To help your child, you will need to make some changes for your whole family.
- What other people say or think does …. not …. matter.
- No need for guilt. It doesn’t help.
This is a tough topic and your comments could be very helpful to other readers. So thank you ahead of time.