“How do I talk to my daughter about Fitness?” This is a question I was just recently asked by one of my dear clients in regards to her concerned teenage daughter. What do you do when your daughter is openly complaining about her weight on a daily bases, or worse, what if she is silent about it, but it’s obvious that she is having a hard time by her change in eating habits? This is a very sensitive subject at any age, but when you are in middle school or high school this is can very well be the greatest soft spots of all.
Before I start diving into this discussion I want to first explain the reason I chose these pics for this particular blog post. It's because I believe these are the tools your child needs to punch, kick and upper-cut those unwanted pounds. I WISH I was introduced to Martial Arts when I was younger because of the strength and confidence it has given me as an adult. When it's me vs a bag with my hands strapped up, I'm in a whole new zone and no one can stop me. That's what I want for my kids and yours!
In junior high, I grew up raised by my widower father. He worked long days and did the best he could with what we had. Most of my meals came from boxes and I gained a lot of weight year after year. WebMD proposes, “You may see a bunch of twigs walking down the runway, but in real life, girls gain weight in their teens. This is normal. Putting on 40 pounds between age 10 and 14 is not unusual or unhealthy.” My goal was never to be skinny, but I was beyond “slightly overweight”, in fact, the kids began to pick on me and my self-esteem had hit a record low once I hit 8th grade. It took one more year of bullying for me to make a rapid switch to another unhealthy alternative and that was to work-out as much as humanly possible (while still making it to class) and not eating…at all. Fast forward to college, I hit rock bottom. My body physically couldn’t keep up with the university cheerleading practice demands so I finally went to see a Nutritionist. What I learned the hard way…
Eight hours is all the sleep your teenage daughter needs, but unfortunately most teens get half of that. WebMD recommends that teens disconnect themselves from all electronics at a regular time each night to promote consistency in their sleep patterns. Makes sense, right? We parents have to do the same thing if we want to be able to hit the gym after work the following day. In addition, sleeping well at night can even ward off food cravings. “After sleeping for only four hours, people tend to eat more calories on the following day than when they get a good night's sleep”, according to a study done by Health.com. So, before we dive into fitness made sure you're helping your growing children are making rest a priority!
It is more important to be “strong” than it is to be “skinny”.
Skipping breakfast does not get you skinny, starting off does! I remember skipping breakfast in high school and thinking I was doing myself a favor by avoiding some calories during my day but low and behold I was simply training my body to store fat.
Also, cardio is not the way to weightloss! Cardio makes for a great compliment to a weight-training program, but doing cardio alone will only allow you to burn the small amount of cardio you read off your heart-rate monitor and that's IT! Don't you want to burn calories all day AND all night. Well, then I would recommend the weightroom! Here are my top 5 moves to start incorporating now!
The Fantastic 5:
***I highly recommend you hire a qualified professional to teach your child proper form on all of these exercises before trying them on their own.
There are not too many teenagers that are interested in going to a gym to lift weight or get on the resistance machines so don’t be surprised if she thinks working out with you is “totally lame”. Teens are interactive and want to play. Even if your teen is a loner (like I was) set up a basketball hoop or a trampoline and allow them to play for hours!!! Don’t be surprised if she jumps on the trampoline till the sun goes down! ...I may be speaking from experience.
Out of sight; out of mind.
Just like adults, teens want sugary-sweet-stuff when it's sitting out in a bowl ready to be eaten. If you have candy, cookies, or even chips sitting around, freeze them or get rid of them (NOW- go!!) Your child is not responsible enough at this age to count her calories or even realize that 5 of those Hershey’s Dark Chocolate squares equal 200 calories and 13 grams of fat. Those calories quickly add up especially when you’re digging into the bowl more than twice a day (yikes!).
It took years for me to finally seek out the help that I needed, nonetheless, I am glad that I did. As a parent now I find that it is important not to pressure myself into discussing this topic with my adolescent if I don’t feel ready and certainly not to force the conversation if my child isn’t ready to talk about it. We can very subtly make necessary household changes that can bring out a positive change in the whole family without a discussion being made. For example, keep sugar out of the house, bring in fun fitness apparatuses that our kids would enjoy, encourage rest, and provide a daily healthy breakfast. Make these small changes and they will probably go unnoticed until everyone is looking and feeling better. Parents’ rock! Best of luck!
I’d love to hear your feedback and/answer your questions!