A Lean First Look:
You’ve all heard it: parenting is the most rewarding, yet most difficult job you’ll ever have.
But, besides all the diaper changes, scraped knees, and late-night math lessons, you probably never thought your child would have to worry about their weight.
Health Risks Linked with Fat
Despite the popular belief that all fat in kids is just leftover baby weight, the CDC (Center for Disease Control) has found that 13.7 million kids and teens are actually obese.
Obesity can lead to an outstanding number of ailments, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma, and joint issues.
No parent wants their child to suffer with those problems.
It’s Up to You
And today, in our screen-conquered world, it’s difficult to get your kids to do anything, let alone eating right or exercising.
But remember, you’re the parent. It’s up to you to help your child shed those extra pounds.
So, let’s get started.
In the Womb
Technically, your unborn baby could be overweight. If a baby is born over 8 pounds 13 ounces, they are clinically considered too heavy. This is called fetal macrosomia.
Don’t Give in to Every Craving
However, there are ways to prevent this. If you are currently with-child, start watching your own diet.
According to the Medical Encyclopedia, each day of her first trimester, a pregnant woman should ingest 1,800 calories; 2,200 each day in her second trimester, and 2,400 in their third.
That’s not much more than what’s suggested in a day for a non-pregnant woman, so don’t think you can just give in to EVERY craving. If you do, you could hurt your unborn child.
Adopt a Healthier Diet
When you’re pregnant, you better be watching what you put into your mouth. I’m sure you know the basics: no alcohol, no sushi, no caffeine.
But, what it comes down to is that your pregnancy diet shouldn’t be all that different from a normal, healthy diet.
Pack on the Protein
We all need more protein in our diets. The American diet is heavily based on carbohydrates for fullness, rather than protein.
This is why we have so many obese parents, and hence, children.
So, why not start increasing your protein intake now? Add dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt to your diet!
All are high in protein, and other nutrients your pregnant body needs!
Meat and Eggs
Both meats, such as chicken, beef, and pork, and eggs carry a great deal of fat-burning nutrients.
Not only will they keep you full, but beef and pork contain iron and B-vitamins, nutrients you need even more of when you’re pregnant.
Eat Ya Greens!
Adding more fruits and veggies to your diet while pregnant is definitely something you’re going to want to do.
Not only are they high in vitamins and minerals; they also contain high concentrations of water, thereby, keeping your cravings at bay!
Though most fruits are fair game while that bun is in the oven, those that are especially helpful to your body right now are berries.
These contain high levels of water and fiber, they’re the perfect little snack to keep you full and regular. Plus, berries don’t have too much hunger-inducing, fat-adding sugar!
While you’re pregnant, you’re going to want to eat a lot of leafy greens. That includes dark leaf-lettuce, kale, and even parsley.
All of these are not only high in fiber, but they also contain nutrients you need right now, such as riboflavin and folate!
You’ll also want to include the vitamin-filled sweet potato and the biotin-rich tomato in your pregnancy diet!
Quench Your Thirst
As you’ll see often throughout this guide, water is the holy grail of fat loss. If you want to keep a lean body for you and your baby, drink plenty of water.
How Much Should You Drink?
It’s unbelievably easy to get dehydrated while you’re pregnant; after all, you’re sharing your water supply with your baby. The Institute of Medicine suggests that while pregnant, you should be drinking 10 full cups (that’s 8 ounces, people) of water every day.
To be safe, I’d say have 12. Sure, you’ll be peeing all the time, but you’ll be happy when your baby is born at a healthy weight!
Get Off the Couch!
Yes. I know you’re pregnant. And yes. I know your feet, legs, back, and head hurt. But, just because you’re carrying that little bundle of joy, doesn’t mean you have an out when it comes to exercise.
In fact, you have more reason than most! You’re responsible for the health of both you and your baby!
So, ya just got pregnant. Congrats! You can do pretty much any kind of exercise you want right now, since your tummy is still pretty small.
Aerobics for Vitality
If you’re feeling particularly energized, go for a run or a swim! Both are aerobic and will get your heart rate going, while also kicking any unwanted stress you have to the curb. If you’re a dancer, go break out those sick moves!
Yoga for Peace
If you’re looking for a workout that won’t make you gasp for air, but that’ll still build strength while keeping you calm, give yoga or pilates a shot.
Both of these options will also help you gain flexibility and inner peace, which just might help in the delivery room.
Weight Lifting for Strength
I know it might seem crazy, but you _can _lift weights while in your first trimester. Maybe don’t go for a world record, but feel free to tone those muscles while your baby is just forming theirs.
Okay, now it’s pretty clear that you’re pregnant; everyone can see it. So you’re going to want to be a bit more careful with the exercises you choose. Still, you’ve got options!
Aerobics for Vitality
In your second trimester, your aerobics options are basically the same. However, there are a few minor alterations.
Rather than running, I’d suggest a light jog; don’t wanna shake your tummy around too much.
Instead of going for a bike ride through the forest, stick to the stationary bike; that way, your baby bump won’t bump into the handles.
And finally, feel free to go for the nice, calming swim; just not for more the 30 minutes.
Yoga for Peace
Again, yoga and pilates are perfect for your second trimester.
You’re probably feeling a bit more stress now, both physical and mental, so these practices will help you to gain peace of mind and body, stretching out the kinks in your back and brain!
Squats for That Booty
Now, you probably shouldn’t go weight lifting at this point in your pregnancy. But, unweighted or light-weighted squats are perfectly fine! Not only will they keep your booty toned; they’ll also strengthen your baby-pushin’ muscles!
Third Trimester Use Those Feet
I know it’s hard to move at all at this point in your pregnancy. But, if you want to make sure your soon-to-be-born baby is healthy, you’re going to want to get some exercise.
So stick with a light jog or walk. Depending on which gets your heart-pumping, walking and jogging are both perfectly fine to do while in your third trimester.
You guessed it!
Yoga is the perfect exercise for your entire pregnancy. Not only will it tone and strengthen, but it’ll teach you special breathing techniques that might just help you push that little bugger out!
Again, you’re going to want to keep your body toned while in your third trimester, both to look good and to bear a healthy child.
So, feel free to squat and curl your way to a trimmed, pregnant body! And, if you feel like working your core, vie for a modified (knee on ground) plank rather than tummy-squeezing crunches.
All of these exercises will help you lose body fat while also keeping your unborn babe healthy and just the right amount of chubby!
Big Babies (0-12 Month-Olds)
Though weight-gain in babies is usually a good sign, sometimes babies _can _become obese. By the 6-month mark, pediatricians are able to see whether a baby is obese or just naturally chubby by measuring their weight and length.
Either way, you’re going to want to know how to keep your baby’s fat content to a safe level.
Say Yes to The Breast
If you’ve read up on all the popular baby-care knowledge, you probably know the benefits of breastfeeding. But you might be interested to know this little tidbit: according to Science Daily, studies show that “exclusive breastfeeding… prevents obesity” in babies.
That means, don’t feed your tyke heavy, sugary foods like cereal too soon! Breast milk is your best bet, at least for as long as possible.
Chances are, for your baby’s first year, walking won’t be an option. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t help them get some exercise!
Make sure that while they’re awake, they’re getting some sort of activity.
Set up a play area for your little cherub and have them roll around on their tummy! Not only will this be the cutest thing you’ve ever witnessed; it’ll also give them the stamina and fat-burning workout they’ll need to stay healthy.
Plus, it might even help them stand and walk sooner!
Hefty Toddlers (1-3 Year-Olds)
As your child enters their first few years, you should notice a slight lessening in their chubby features.
I know, this might sadden you cuz those chunky legs and rosy cheeks are just so cute! But, it’s a good sign, so don’t complain!
If your toddler seems instead to be just as plump, or even more so, then you should take a closer look at their diet and exercise habits.
Catching these issues early on can spare years of health issues.
Do’s and Don’ts of Diet
If your toddler seems to be overweight, it’s probably your fault. I’m sorry! Once they’re older, you can blame their friends or school lunches. Right now, they’re in your domain.
Rather than letting your toddler eat whenever they want (trust me, they’re going to try and do whatever they want to anyway), set up meal times for the whole family.
This will teach your tyke when to feel hungry and when to stop eating.
No Sugar, Baby!
So, don’t feed them sugar-filled fruit snacks or oil-drenched French fries! It might be cute to watch them gnaw away at those things, but they’re adding ounces, and soon pounds of fat onto your kid.
You might be surprised, but your beloved fruit juices are also a no-no. Though your child probably loves them, those juice boxes are full of harmful, added sugar.
Fruits, Veggies, and Meat Instead!
Instead, introduce fruits, vegetables, and lean meats early.
You might have to clean some mashed brussel sprouts off the floor afterwards, but getting your toddler used to healthy foods will pave the way for better eating habits later on in life, not to mention reducing and preventing the extra fat they may have.
If your toddler is able to walk, it’s a good idea to let them. I know, they might drive you crazy, chasing them all around the house. But hey, an active kid is a healthy kid.
So, try to join in on the fun! Let them walk, run, crawl, and climb for at least three hours every day. If they’re steady enough, try teaching them to kick a soccer ball or jump rope! Just make sure to get them moving.
Plump Preschoolers (3-5 Year-Olds)
If you’ve got a plump preschooler, you’re probably worried about more than just their finger-painting skills.
It can be scary sending your overweight child to school, knowing how mean kids could be.
So, first make sure your preschooler knows you love them. Then, help them lose some fat.
Do’s and Don’ts of Diet
Unfortunately, you’ll now be sending your baby off to a world in which you have to control. So all you can do is set them up for success at home. Here’s how.
- Teach Them
Afterall, you’re still your child’s first teacher. So, teach them what foods are good and what just aren’t.
Their new little classmates will certainly have things like fruit roll-ups and Lil Bites brownies tucked away in their lunch-boxes, so try to teach your preschooler to stay away from those while in school.
How could you possibly pull this off? Well, read on to find out!
- Save Sweets for Home
There’s no point in hiding sweets from your child. They’ll get them eventually. So rather than letting them sneak some at school, promise your kid that you’ll have a special sweet treat for them every day after school.
Of course, try to limit such sweets even at home. High sugar intake in small children will only grow larger and larger with them.
- Make Fruits and Veggies the Stars
At home, make sure your child gets a great deal of fruits and vegetables.
No, not fruit juice. Whole fruits, like high-fiber bananas and low-sugar strawberries. Feed them green beans, not green Skittles.
And, show them that you love that stuff, too! If your kids don’t see you eating the foods you give them, they’re most certainly not going to want them.
At school, prep healthy, low-sugar snacks and lunch for them. Rather than a container of mac-n-cheese, pack them a healthy tuna-fish sandwich (crustless, of course, for less carbs!).
Give them a bottle of water instead of a juice box or chocolate milk. And, don’t forget to leave them a cute note!
An Hour a Day Keeps the Fat at Bay
There’s a good chance that, while at school, your preschooler will engage in some sort of physical activity. But hey, let them do a bit more! They’ll have the energy, anyway!
- Set Up a Playdate
Not only will a playdate grow your child’s social skills; it will also most certainly get them moving! So, don’t let those kids just sit around playing video games.
Get them outside to play tag or throw a frisbee around while you keep an eye on them!
- Sign Them Up for Afterschool Activities
When your preschooler isn’t playing with their friends, have them play a sport! Sign up your preschooler for some sort of afterschool activity, be it soccer, basketball, dance, or swimming lessons.
Again, activities like these will help them make friends, gain valuable skills, and burn off some fat!
Grand Gradeschoolers (5-12 Year-Olds)
I know! Your child is growing up so fast! But, you have to make sure that their stomach doesn’t grow, too! If you haven’t already imparted knowledge of healthy habits onto them, start now.
It’s not to late, but the longer you wait, the harder it gets.
Do’s Don’ts of Diet
Again, you don’t have as much control over your child’s diet as you once did. But, that’s okay! There’s still some things you can do to help bust that chubby gut!
Just like your preschoolers, you can still teach your gradeschooler how to eat right. Show by example. Don’t grab that donut you’ve yearned for all day; instead, have some yogurt.
If your child sees that you eat such healthy foods, they’ll want to mimic you.
If they’re a little past the mimicking stage, just tell them why bad foods are bad and good foods are good. Let them know that the whole family is going to eat healthier together.
That way, they won’t feel as though you’re singling them out.
Cut Sugar and Add Lean Meats
Besides the aforementioned fruits and veggies, you’re now going to want to increase your child’s protein intake while still lowering their sugary diets.
Of course, you can’t help what they eat at school, from bake sales to traded snacks, but you _can _pack them a healthy lunch. Make sure they’re having something high in protein, such a chicken.
But hey, let them have a slice of pizza on Pizza Day every now and again. You don’t want to deprive them of fun.
Just make sure they know it’s not the best for them, so it’s just a rare treat!
Just Add Water!
Water really is one of the best things you can offer your chubby child. Not only does water keep them full, but it also helps clean out any toxins that have built up during the day! This goes for you too, so drink up!
An Hour a Day Keeps the Fat at Bay
Similar to your Preschoolers, you’re going to want to encourage physical activity in your gradeschoolers.
It’s one of the best habits you can instill on your kids; exercise not only burns fat, but it builds muscle, which in turn helps burn more fat! Plus, it can alleviate stress and help your child form awesome, life-long hobbies!
Keep Them in A Few Afterschool Activities
Now that school work is ramping up, they may not be able to maintain all the activities they used to. However, teach your kid that getting enough exercise by playing sports, for example, is just as important as homework.
In fact, it’s scientifically proven that physical activity helps with mental acuity, so it’s really a win-win!
Start a Fun Exercise Routine with Them
In addition to afterschool activities, try to start an exercise routine with them at home! Of course, make sure it’s fun as to not turn them off from exercise altogether.
Go on YouTube and find a mashup of the latest TikTok dances so you and your child could learn them together! Play a spirited game of hide-and-seek inside or out!
Whatever you choose, make it fun and make it heart-pumping!
Tubby Teens (13-19 Year-Olds)
Now, you might have to hand this one off to your teen. Afterall, they might not want to hear about their weight issues from their well-meaning, but as they see “nosy” parents.
Chances are, if you have a teen struggling with weight issues, they are probably experiencing weight-related depression, as well.
Not only are they struggling with school and friendships, but they’re stuck in a world where the idea of “the perfect image” is plastered everywhere.
Even those who don’t struggle with excess fat have insecurities that stem from social media.
But, if you’re willing to take the plunge and help you tubby teen lose those pounds, here’s what you’ve gotta talk about.
Let’s Talk about Self-Image
Like I said, your teens are constantly bombarded with images of stick-thin models and buff-athletes that are made to suggest a certain paragon of fitness.
These images are translated into fat-shaming by your child who has to see them every day. Your child may even be experiencing bullying because of their weight.
So, as their parent, you must first remind them that their weight, their fat-content does not define them.
They have to learn to be kind to themselves, to stop comparing themselves to others, and to realize that everyone is different.
Do’s and Don’ts of Diet
Although it’s probable that your child no longer depends on you to make them lunch every day, try to impart on them a healthier diet.
The best way to do this is to eat how you want them to eat. Teach them through doing it _with _them!
Chances are, your teen is _not _eating right. If they’ve got extra pounds of fat, try to help them understand how unhealthy this is.
Lower Their Carbs
Work together to remove some carbs from the family diet. That means lower portions of breads, rice, potatoes, and ESPECIALLY sweets.
Although the American diet is heavily based on carbs, that doesn’t mean it should be. Rather than serving a cup of rice or pasta for dinner, lessen it to ¼ cup.
And all those sweets?
Try to get them to limit their sugar intake, at least by a bit. Sugar – which is highly concentrated in all types of junk food, including sugary drinks – will only make your child hungrier, leading to non-stop eating habits, and yes, fat gain.
Have Protein Be the Star
In place of those cut carbs, encourage your teen to eat higher levels of protein. This means eggs and bacon or nut butter on toast for breakfast instead of their beloved Pop Tarts.
This means grilled chicken for lunch instead of pizza. And this means fish, beef, or lean pork for dinner instead of alfredo pasta.
Higher protein will help keep your child fuller longer and build lean muscle mass, thereby burning and preventing future fat!
Don’t Leave Fat Behind
I know. Fat is what you’re trying to help your child get rid of.
But, with lower carbs comes the need for a new energy source, and that’s going to be fat.
So, let them get all the avocados they want; they’re full of Omega-3s!
Add fish to their diets!
And sure, don’t discourage a scoop of ice cream at the end of the night! They’ve earned it!
An Hour a Day Keeps the Fat at Bay
The same thing goes for exercise. Your teen might be pulling away from you at this point in their life; it’s normal, afterall.
But, if you can manage to form an exercise routine with them for just an hour a day, it will not only burn fat; it’ll help your relationship!
Take your teen on a jog or for a bike ride! Not only is this fun, but it will also help burn fat by increasing the heart rate!
HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training, is not for the faint of heart. But you know how strong your kid is; they’ve got this! YouTube is full of awesome HIIT workouts that you can do together. They’ll include things like high knees, jumping jacks, and any aerobic or strength-training exercises that can be done in the forms of reps and sets! Have fun sweating the fat away!
If your teen is feeling particularly stressed or depressed, a daily yoga practice might be the answer. I know what you’re thinking. _Yoga is for monks and hippy-millennials! My child will never do that, and frankly, neither will I! _Well, I’d like to let you in on a little secret. I used to think that, too.
Then, I tried it. And yoga became the right workout routine for me. It helped me gain muscle everywhere, lose weight, and burn fat! Not to mention, taking up a daily yoga practice actually alleviated my anxiety! Trust me, it really works!
Take it Step-by-Step
Now, I know it might seem impossible.
After all, most people struggle with some sort of fat issue, and oftentimes can’t fix it. But don’t worry! Let’s review!
Belly Fat Exercises for Kids
These can be anything really, just as long as they’re for at least an hour a day _and _they get your child’s heart pumping!
- * Tummy Time for your baby
- * Walking, Jogging, and Running
- * Riding a bike
- * Dancing
- * Sports and Afterschool Activities
- * Yoga
- * HIIT and weight training for your older kids
Fat-Burning Diet for Kids
Again, as long as you make sure your little bundle of joy is eating a balanced, healthy diet, you’ll see their extra fat shed away in no time!
- * Limit added sugar
- * Cut back on carbs
- * Up the Protein
- * Eat plenty of fruits and veggies
- * DRINK A TON OF WATER!
What If These Guidelines Work Too Well?
If your child had a problem with belly fat and now seems to be losing too much weight, or they simply are losing weight for no reason, don’t panic. Just follow these steps:
1. Call Their Pediatrician
Call their doctor immediately to set up an appointment. Tell their doctor what you’ve noticed regarding your child’s weight, diet, and exercise
2. Watch Their Weight
Whether or not their doctor seems to notice a problem, keep an eye on your child’s weight. You’re their parent, after all; you notice things no one else does.
Make sure you have them weigh themselves every day, but make it into a game! You don’t want to scare them.
3. Maintain a Healthy Diet
The diet plans above contain healthy foods. There is NO WAY that eating lots of vegetables and cutting back on sugar will harm your child.
That being said, make sure you haven’t added too much protein while cutting back on too many carbohydrates.
If they’re feeling stomach upset and discomfort, try adding a few extra carbs into the mix. All protein and no starch makes Timmy a sick boy. (And that’s speaking from personal experience).
4. Call the Pediatrician… Again
If your child is just losing more and more weight, there may be some other issue at hand. So don’t feel weird calling their doctor again.
When I was little, I had the whooping cough. However, since I didn’t cough at all during my first two doctor’s appointments, my pediatrician said there was nothing wrong.
It took THREE shots for her to realize I had a bad case of it!
Make sure your child is healthy. If their current doctor says they are, but you don’t believe it, go somewhere else for a second opinion. It certainly can’t hurt.
The Final Weigh-In
So, what should you take from all of this?
Having excess fat does not have to define your child. Work with them, at whatever age, to form better habits that will help them live happier, healthier, longer lives.
If they’re old enough, make sure they know the risks that accompany having excess fat. But, no matter their age, make sure they know you love them; make sure they love themselves.
Diet and exercise are merely the tools with which your child will become healthy.
Your love, encouragement, and comradery are the motivations. Be strong for them and they’ll be strong for themselves.
- Best shoes for Aerobic Exercise: All you need to Know [Must Read]
- Best Shoes for Step Aerobics: The Ultimate Comparison Guide!
- Does Swimming Burn Fat? Everything You Need To Know
- Belly fat exercise for man at home. Everybody Can Do!
- Best Cardio Exercises to lose belly fat at Home
- Does Swimming Tone the Body? Here’s how!
- Does aerobic exercise lower blood pressure?
- What is the Best Time for Aerobic Exercise?