Monday, January 28, 2013

How to Win at Losing (Part 1)

In 2013 "The Biggest Loser" television show has committed to raise awareness about childhood obesity.  According to the Center for Disease Control more than one third of all adults 17% (12.5 million!) children aged 2-19 are obese in the United States. This statistic does not include overweight children and teens. In fact, physicians are raising the concern that this generation of young people may be outlived by their parents.  If you have never watched "The Biggest Loser" in the past, consider watching at least one episode this season. In addition to the typical antics of making adult contestants do unusual challenges to win a grand prize, they have included three overweight children and their families participating from home to become healthier.

So what does it take to "win" at losing weight?
If you've ever tried to lose weight you know the answer is complicatedly simple: eat less, move more.

Part One:  Changing your food lifestyle

According to 30 years of research, psychologist Dr. Leonard Epstein has concluded "it all starts with the family." Rather than focusing on what NOT to eat, the best interventions are educational and involve life style change.  In other words.  Kids don't do diets.  If you look closely at the research on adult obesity.  Parents don't do diets well either.

Lifestyle change involves an important shift away from "diet" mentality and embracing the concept of thinking "healthy."  Some healthy habits to start (or continue):
  1. Parents need to educate themselves on good nutrition. Do a thorough google search to find a website where the information is delivered in a way that you can digest (ha!). Consider joining weight watchers or seeing a nutritionist if you or your family have special needs or if you prefer face to face information. 
  2. It takes time to create a good refrigerator stocked with easy access to cut vegetables and fresh fruits.  But when it comes to kids: if you prepare it they will eat!  Okay, maybe not the first time . . .  or so.  Just don't give up!
  3. Clear the clutter: Remove the alternative high sugar, high calorie foods.  Will your child be eager to eat over at their friends house for awhile?  Absolutely.  But ultimately your household will have more influence on your child's eating habits over the long term.
  4. Remember you can't call something a "treat" if you eat it every day.  Reverse the pattern of what is eaten as a habit, and "treat" your family once in awhile with a special dessert.

The challenge in my weight watcher 360 meeting last week was to do a refrigerator make-over. We took before pictures to increase our awareness of what we were facing each time we opened the door.  Then we were encouraged to invest in some clear containers and "have fun" preparing fresh fruits and vegetables that would be easy access and pleasing to view when it was time to search for a snack.  Here is my before and after:

The carrots were always there- who knew?
Do you want to start winning at losing?
Commit to one small shift in your food lifestyle, either in thoughts or deeds, and share in the comments!


  1. As always, Lisa, great advice. Your 'fridge make-over has inspired me to take action!

    1. Please take a picture- no need to show the "before" just looking forward to seeing the "after" Good luck!

  2. Very motivating. OK - here's the written commitment (in addition to the refrigerator clean-up which I now feel obligated to do): I will write down everything I eat for a week. Many a successful plan start with that action - if you have to write it you have to think about if you are going to eat it. Thanks for the nudge, Lisa!

  3. I like the part about no need to call it a treat if you eat it every day.