HACK

In all my time writing, lifting and working out, I have always placed a heavy emphasis on knowledge. Knowing how a thing came to be is big for me to understanding the true value of an exercise. In this fitness game we all love, there are several iconic exercises that come to mind, especially for you lifters out there:
Bench Press. Coined “the granddaddy of all weight training exercises”, this venerable exercise started out in the early 20th century as a floor exercise by Russian-British athlete George Hackenschmidt (who benched 315 the first time he did the exercise).
Hack Squat. Not nearly as popular, but just as effective, this was also invented by Hackenshmidt (the name Hack was obviously a play on his name).
Note: This article is not a substitute for sound medical advice. Please consult your primary care provider for all help with fitness regimens and diet.
I thought that this would be a bit of a fun history piece on an icon of nt only sports, but fitness as well. George Hackenschmidt (1877-1968) was a Russian-British athlete, author and vegetarian advocate. In his lifetime, he participated in over 3000 wrestling matches and was involved in probably the most iconic wrestling rivalry ever: Hackenschmidt/Gotch. He was billed as the first “World’s Heavyweight Champion” and was credited with inventing the Bear Hug (a wrestling hold). He was a writer of some note, penning several books such as “Fitness and Your Self”(1937), “The Complete Science of Wrestling” (1909) amongst others. He was also a strict vegetarian (and an advocate of the lifestyle) with a strict diet limited to fruit, nuts and vegetables. He drank 11 pints of milk per day, avoided smoking and caffeine.
Aside from the history tidbit, I have provided a pretty good video you can watch on Hackenschmidt (SHOUT-OUT TO NICK’S STRENGTH AND POWER for the inspiration), plus a short biography on him.
In closing, I can truly say that being knowledgeable is a big part of the basics. Knowledge, being studious and acting on the knowledge are also part of the basics.
THE BASICS ALWAYS WIN.

RESOURCES:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George/Hackenschmidt

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BENEFITS OF OMEGA-3,6,7 AND 9

 

 

NOTE: This article is not a substitute for sound medical advice. Please consult your primary care provider for the best plan that will work for you.

 

With health problems related to a high-fat diet garnering most of the spotlight when it comes to nutrition, it can seem weird to be told that there are fatty acids that we have to have in order to stay healthy. However, omega fatty acids are essential compounds, which humans cannot synthesize ourselves. Instead, we have to ingest them as part of a healthy diet.

While there are a range of fatty acids with varying structures and functions, there are two of primary importance to health that are referred to as ‘essential fatty acids’. These are the omega fatty acids alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3) and linolenic acid (omega-6). [1] Both are involved in the regulation of the cardiovascular and immune systems.

Most people are familiar with omega-3 from taking cod liver oil / fish oil (or witnessing other people’s grimaces when they did). Happily, these essential compounds are found in a range of food types that can easily be incorporated into most diets.

What Are Omegas Good For?

The list of health benefits of consuming omega fatty acids, particularly omega-3, is long and well-known, as well as the medical support for these claims. For example, reviews have claimed that there is little to no evidence to suggest omega-3 prevents cancer.

Aside from that, there are indicators that reveal that a strong intake of omegas can and will have far-reaching benefits such as:

  1. Lowering Blood Pressure. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce blood triglyceride (fat) levels and stimulate blood circulation.
  2. Improving Rheumatoid Arthritis. There is preliminary evidence that omega-3 from fish oil may reduce symptoms such as joint swelling.
  3. Improved Mental Health. Omega-3 fatty acids are thought to have a positive effect on depressive symptoms in those with bipolar disorder.

 

Omega 6 To 3 Ratios: The Delicate Balancing Act

The “ideal ratio” of omega-6 to omega-3 intake is 2:1 and it has been suggested that in “hunter-gatherer” days it was 1:1. Unfortunately, modern diets tend to include far more omega-6 relative to omega-3. A lower estimate of the typical ratio is 15:1. [6] This may not sound like a problem at first – but there is evidence to suggest that having a skewed ratio of the two essential omega fatty acids can negate the beneficial effects of both, even leading to new health problems. [7] The two are metabolised by the same enzymes, so if there is a flood of omega-6 in the body, omega-3 may not be available to the body in the required levels, even if sufficient quantities are consumed.

A 2002 scientific study reported that a ratio of 2.5:1 reduced rectal cell proliferation in patients with colorectal cancer, whereas a ratio of 4:1 with the same amount of omega-3 had no effect. [8]

The food with the highest amount of omega 3 compared to omega 6 is krill oil, with 1:12 – which will offer a superb “counterbalance” as supplementation to our diet that is too high in omega 6.

The worst? Corn oil is listed as having 46:1 Omega-6 to omega-3.

Major dietary sources of omega-3:

  1. Fish (particularly sardines and mackerel)
    2. Soy beans
    3. Tofu
    4. Walnuts

Major dietary sources of omega-6:

  1. Poultry
    2. Eggs
    3. Avocado
    4. Nuts
    5. Cereals

Omega 7

Most people are aware of 3 and 6, but chances are that you’ve never heard of a new category of omega-7 fats, which includes palmitoleic acid (found in macadamia nuts, sea buckthorn and some other natural sources. Omega-7 has been found by researchers to protect against metabolic syndrome. [9] However omega-7 sources often contain higher levels of less beneficial fats which may even be harmful – so it is suggested to supplement with a purified omega-7.

 

Omega 9

Omega 9’s are also not as discussed as 3’s and 6’s. The 9’s are considered “non essential” to get from your diet – however some of the Omega 9’s (but not all) are considered valuable for health. In particular: Oleic acid (found in olive oil, poultry fat, lard and macadamia oil), may have health benefits. Nervonic acid (found in salmon, nuts and seeds) maybe beneficial for brain function. [10]

Note:

Of course, the main thing when making any decisions regarding your health and diet is to consider your needs and other factors. If you have an existing medical condition, it is always best to check with your primary healthcare provider whether supplements or changes to your diet are safe, even with regards to essential nutrients.

 

REFERNCES

1] E. Whitney and S. Rolfes (2008) Understanding Nutrition (11th ed.). https://www.amazon.ca/Understanding-Nutrition-Eleanor-Noss-Whitney/dp/0495116696

[2] C. MacLean et. al., “Effects of omega-3 fatty acids on cancer risk: a systematic review.” JAMA: the Journal of the American Medical Association, 2006. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16434631

[3] P. Miller, M. Van Elswyk and D. Alexander, “Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid and blood pressure: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.” American Journal of Hypertension, 2014. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24610882

[4] Rheumatoid Arthritis: In Depth (NCCIH): https://nccih.nih.gov/health/RA/getthefacts.htm

[5] P. Montgomery and A. Richardson, “Omega-3 fatty acids for bipolar disorder.” Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online), 2008. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18425912

[6] A. Simopoulos, “The importance of the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 essential fatty acids.” Biomed Pharmacother, 2002. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12442909

[7] http://www.gbhealthwatch.com/Science-Omega3-Omega6.php.

[8] The importance of the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 essential fatty acids. (Biomed. Pharmacother. 2002). http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12442909

[9] Omega-7 Protects Against Metabolic Syndrome. http://www.lifeextension.com/Magazine/2014/4/Omega-7-Protects-Against-Metabolic-Syndrome/Page-01

[10] PaleoLeap – Omega 9 Fats. http://paleoleap.com/omega-9-fats/

http://www.herbs-info.com/blog/benefits-of-omega-367-and-9-plus-top-omega-3-food-sources-put-this-on-your-fridge

SHADOWBOXING VS. RUNNING: A COMPARISON

SHADOWBOXING VS. RUNNING

NOTE: This article is not a substitute for sound medical advice. Please consult your primary care provider for any and all health/wellness relating questions.

The other day, I was talking to a buddy who is wanting to get back in shape. His asking my advice about cardio is what inspired me to write this. This article is an appeal to all to consider shadowboxing as a viable cardio option (either in addition to or in place of running). First and foremost, shadowboxing is more about visualization and creating a mindset of success than weight loss. It creates discipline and gets your mind and body in good shape. It is a great alternative to running. Here’s why:
Shadowboxing is low-impact on your joints, thus eliminating debilitating pain from running.
Shadowboxing also sculpts, tones and develops the upper body in ways that running simply can’t (e.g. developing the major and minor muscles of the upper body and trunk).
Shadowboxing also creates a sense of empowerment and self-confidence- in the case that you would need to, that you could hold your own in a fight. You get a better sweat going in a shorter period of time, plus you can pace yourself a little better in shadowboxing in place of running.

Running has been around since man learned he can get to where he wanted to go faster (or to escape dinosaurs trying to eat him). Running is almost unbeatable in its weight-loss potential. It’s also unmatched in its overall health benefits. Running can…
Strengthens bones and tendons
Improves heart health.
As you can see, both shadowboxing and running have great benefits. In my opinion, both shadowboxing and running can be used to give “the 1-2” to fat and health problems. Or you can use them separately as standalone exercises that will get you in shape. It takes a while and it takes faith in yourself, time to prepare and to begin. Both shadowboxing and running takes guts and mental fortitude. It’s not pretty most of the time. It hurts. It is inherently challenging. It’s not supposed to be easy. Then again, anything worth having or worth fighting for is not going to be easy at all. You can find a few free workouts online if you’re interested, starting with the links below.
In closing, no matter which one you choose, you will be better off if you are active and doing it. You will be better off for making health a priority. For those of you who follow and read my columns, blogs and articles… here it is.
Be disciplined, hungry and humble enough to learn more about you and your body. Don’t rely on articles, gadgets and trends to get it done for you.
Be astute and savvy enough to take workouts and diets and tailor them to your needs. It’s your body… it’s your life. Take ownership of your health.
Reading, doing and preparing are just three of the basics that will help you win in life.
THE BASICS ALWAYS WIN.

SOURCES

http://www.indiatimes.com/health/healthyliving/running-top-20-health-benefits-of-running-236529-4.html
http://www.forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=1406809111&pagenumber=1
http://www.organicfacts.net/running.html
http://www.greatist.com/fitness/30-convincing-reasons-start-running-now
http://www.sharpenbody.com/benefits-of-shadow-boxing/
http://www.westcountryboxing.com/boxing-advice
http://www.benefitsofrunning.org
http://www.menshealth.com/fitness/fighter-fit-shadow-boxing

MENTAL TOUGHNESS

In keeping with The Total Self, this article is a continuation of an earlier article I have written about this topic.I have spoken about mental toughness on oregonsportsnews.com, my own blogs and other social media platforms. I have given speeches about this also. The number one thing I believe that is holding people back in life other than broken focus and a solid plan (plus the willingness to execute) is a lack of mental toughness. It is not necessarily a bad thing that most people are not “hard”. You need people who are a tad softer, normal people in this world. This world would be in bad shape if it were just “Type As” all over the place. But you can learn from the Type A. Learn how to not let things stop you, how not to be a victim, and how not to allow things that have tormented you for years have any more control over you.
Mental Toughness has many definitions and is not limited to athletic performance and pain tolerance. I have known many men and women throughout my life who I would define as “mentally tough”. From an 85 year old gardener to a high school football friend, who it seemed neither ever had a bad day. Much of mental toughness is simply attitude and self-determination. If you do a quick search online on the subject, you will see a variety of mental toughness techniques, articles, stories of remarkable physical performances to brave acts of heroism overcoming insurmountable odds and fear.
On a personal note, mental toughness is a way of life. It is quite simple to me. To not allow any voices, anyone or anything to stand in the way of my goals. To be able to withstand setbacks, controvesy and many other troubles that life throws our way.

For the purposes of this site and its readers, I will also say that through somewhat challenging workouts and introspection and study of this topic, you will cultivate a mentally tough mindset. Again, my philosophy works for ME. As I have often said in my articles, take what’s said and make it work for you. For example minutes of non stop punching in a boxer’s case. In my case, heavy lifting and running for miles will create increased energy levels and an increased pain tolerance through training in the pain zone. You really have to get the body to know what pain is so you can endure it longer. PAIN is not injury, but if you push too hard through pain you will be setting up for injury, so knowing your training limits is necessary as well. Studying mental toughness (or at least how others go over) will shed some light on what you may be lacking. On the days when you feel like crap and you have to WILL yourself to go to work or to hit the gym. THAT too is mental toughness. Persistence and determination are all factors as well. Other terms used to describe mental toughness is inspiration, self-motivation and confidence.

 

There are many examples of those who bring themselves out of horrible childhoods of poverty, neglect, and illness to become heroes, mentors, millionaires, and presidents. That takes mental toughness in MY book.

Mental Toughness! How do you get it? Are you born with it? Can you acquire it? Arguments to this question have occurred long before our modern world came about. I am of the opinion that through tough physical training, proper mindset, and a high level of maturity that mental toughness is born. This toughness is what propels you through the storms of life and all that brings How do you get that?

Take for example, the Tour de France winner, Lance Armstrong. He had endured one of the toughest diseases by beating testicular cancer. After his battle with cancer, he came back mentally tougher and was once considered the greatest cyclist ever. Maybe he had it all along, who knows? Mental toughness is not measurable and is completely internal. But I believe hard work will get you there. When Lance Armstrong was asked by reporters “What are you on?” referring to performance enhancing drugs. Lance stated, “I am on my BIKE – busting my hump (paraphrased)for 6-8 hours a day!!”

So the question is do you get mental toughness by attending special workshops, or by being in the military/police or by playing sports? Is it by going through hard situations in life and learning from them? I would say the answer is a comination of all that. You can definitely become mentally tough by training and overcoming the trials and tribulations life brings, but ultimately it will be by the determination you make to be unstoppable and make the world a product of you.

I have seen a lot of people not win at life due to cracking under pressure. These daily gut checks that tend to make cowards of us all is something to behold. The pressures we all face tend to beat us down, and send us to our breaking points- that will cause us to lose focus and that’s how we fail. Not because of lack of talent, but because of broken focus. The break in focus becomes a turning point in your struggle/campaign.
This is the biggest difference in those who win in life and who do not. Everyone will have their nemesis or weakness. The key is to BECOME someone who rises to the occasion. Someone who will plow right through very arduous situations and come out with their heads held high. To deal with setbacks and not let them affect you.
In closing, I would like to say that Mental Toughness is definitely one of the basics. One of the master keys to winning in life. THE BASICS ALWAYS WIN!!!

Beating Procrastination

Procrastination… killer of dreams. Procrastination… killer of hopes. All by simply doing nothing. Simply by what’s called “active avoidance” (doing something in the place of the thing you set out to do due to fear, etc). Procrastination is a problem in every field, killing productivity, slowing growth in companies, ending some companies. Yes, procrastination is a problem. But how do you solve it? It’s a learned trait, but how to understand and defeat it?
I have compiled a list of 8 ways to beat procrastination. Basic steps- the basics always win. Basic steps that make a big difference. Before we delve into the list of ways to defeat procrastination, we must define it. Procrastination is the practice of putting off urgent tasks in favor of more pleasureable ones, thus effectively not doing the thing you set out to do in the first place.

All in all, procrastination is not laziness. It is a way that seems to be easier for one who is under stress. In the end, procrastination costs. It costs you (depending on the situation) time, it costs you all kinds of things you value and hold dear. In a lot of ways, Procrastination is insidiously easy. It can become a mindset of putting things off. That is the wrong mindset if you consider yourself a man or woman of action. Procastination can strip you of motivation, it can strip you of effectiveness, creativity and even honesty/integrity. It is dangerous to allow procrastination in your life.

Now… here’s the good news. Procrastination can be beat. YES. But what say you.Are you willing to try? This list I compiled will no doubt help you get to where you need to go. Procrastination is a force, but nothing, and I mean NOTHING is as powerful as the force of the human spirit. Here is the list:

 

1. Focus on an area in which you find procrastination most problematic (getting in shape, homework, doing reports for work).
2. Begin small and progress as you experience success. Be patient. Establish your own deadlines. Be realistic in setting a timetable. Hold yourself to the deadlines.
3. Break the project into smaller parts. Chip away at it in small bites. Don’t wait for that “big chunk” of time.
4. Set a definite beginning time. Break the inertia of inactivity. If getting started is especially troublesome for you, set a time for 10 or 15 minutes. Commit yourself to doing something on the project until the timer rings. Then you can decide whether to stop or continue. Chances are you will gain momentum and continue after the timer stops. If not, try another 10 minutes later in the day.
5. Do the most important things first. Avoid the distractions of the trivial and routine tasks when a higher priority job is waiting in the wings. Examining each task in light of your goals will help you set priorities.
6. Reward yourself for completing parts of a major task. It can be anything. Contract with yourself for a big reward for completion of important tasks. A pizza, sleeping extra late on a weekend, or shopping for something may help motivate you to complete the job. Be nice to yourself.
7. Establish a “Commitment to Excellence”. Excellence is a sufficient level of performance for most things in life, and for many tasks (a new hobby, cleaning your room) adequacy is all that is necessary. Give yourself permission to be less than perfect. A good garden may have some weeds. You might double the amount of time spent typing a paper, attempting to get the spelling perfect. Could that extra time be better spent in another activity which will gt you over the hump? Maybe so.
8. Procrastination is a learned habit, and can be defeated with a more constructive habit, giving your greater control over your life. If procrastination has limited your achievements, do something about it now!

Postnatal fitness

NOTE: Consult with your primary care provider before beginning any fitness regimen. The advice given here is NOT a substitute for sound medical advice/opinion.

Pregnancy- a life giving birth to another life. It’s a beautiful thing. One downside of this is the excess weight that the mother packed on carrying the child to term. This article is about ways to shed these excess pounds and possibly regain the body you once had.
In today’s society, it is all about looks. For new moms, that is magnified to the Nth degree. While I’m quite sure many of you ladies who have carried a child to term are itching to get back to the gym to shed the baby weight… do not neglect your six-week window of healing. The six-week checkup is very important. Do not neglect this- it could very well mean the difference between life and death.

Here are a few tips to get going in the direction you feel you need to go.

1) Don’t diet too soon: You are going to ned all the energy you can muster to tackle the new and awesome responsibility of being a mom. As stated earlier, please wait until your six-week postnatal checkup to start dieting. Even then, seek the advice of your care provider..
2) Be realistic about your weight loss goals. We are all eager to “get in gear”when it comes to fitness. We all have to be realistic about our goals, our intents and our bodies. This is even more the case for new moms. All of us have to accept reality at some point of our limitations- that’s perfectly fine, natural and good that you do so. With motherhood, as in life things permanently change. New moms may experience having wider hips, softer bellies, maybe even a larger waistline. Acceting limitations for most is a somber reality to take, but it must be done. Please adjust your goals accordingly.
3) Embrace exercise. The reality of fitness for postnatal women is almost exactly the same as with all people- you have to put the work in, make it fun and be patient. There is no magic pill, elixir that will ever get you where you want to go fitness-wise. Exercise, then diet. Being more active is crucial. Even if it’s just walking you new bundle of joy around the block a few times a week, it’s much better than nothing.
4)Network with others. Networking is not just for businesspeople. The camaraderie, socialization and cohesiveness that comes with support groups and activity groups is absolutely necessary. It will do wonders for your psyche, your attitude and who can’t use some new friends? Don’t forget your family, friends and your spouse. Their support is crucial, especially your spouse.

HOW TO STAY MOTIVATED

Again, I must state, though the prospect of being a new mom is challenging (and perhaps intimidating), the same problems and challenges weave their way into all situations. Motivation is definently one of those. In my opinion, the issue of motivation is one that will haunt you if you don’t answer it. For new moms… and anyone else… my opinion on staying motivated is clear. Look at what you want out of life. Now, picture your fitness regimen in it. Now imagine your life without it. Does it fit your lifestyle? Can you put all of yourself in it? Is it fun? Will you be able to see progress? It’s things like this that can spur you to action or stop you dead in your tracks. Visualization of your achieved goal is paramount. Without a clear visual conceptof your desired goals… what are you doing it for?

In closing, these pointers for those of you who are new moms (and anyone else interested in reading) should be a good starting point for new moms and their friends and families to start with. No one wins without executing a well thought out gameplan. This will hopefully help new moms get fit in a more practical, healthful manner.

Here is a sample workout for those interested.

The Total Self: How to Diet

In the spirit of “The Total Self” motif, I present a new view on dieting: How to pick one that will work best for you? We are in an era of unprecedented information about fitness, dieting and everything in between. We are also in the midst of the greatest obesity epidemic across all age groups in America ( by 2020, 76% of ALL Americans will be either obese or overweight). Almost everyday, the average person sees umpteen commercials about fitness (usually about weight loss). These body-image centric commercials sure put a lot of doubt in people’s heads about fitness and what it really means to be healthy. Almost all the emphasis centers around losing enough weight to look like a model. In this article, I will present at least 10 ways to pick the best diet for you… or to create one. Yes, you do not have to follow self-proclaimed fitness gurus, trainers, etc. As always, see a physician before starting any weight-loss regimen. Listen to your body. Now, the list.
1) If it’s not fun, don’t do it. Almost all health/wellness professionals agree that if you are not having fun and seeing results on your fitness regimen, you probably will not stick with it. Simply because some PAID model/athlete is endorsing a product on television (or some other form of media) does not mean that the much-ballyhooed product will even work. Of course, not every diet/weight loss plan is structurlly, scientifically sound (or makes sense). You also have to have a sense of satisfaction as a motivator to do the thing.

2) Evaluate the plan. Does it work? Is it faddish? Do you like what you see in it? Are you able to fit your lifestyle in the workout/diet plan? Conversely, can you fit said workout/diet plan into your lifestyle? Please consider all of these things before trying the “latest and greatest” diet or workout you may hear about, see or read somewhere.

3) Do not rely SOLELY on supplements: Supplements are great, but relying solely on them is not a good idea. As with anything else in life, moderation is key. You can even overdose on water (hyperhydration). Moderation is key. Use your head. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.
4) Include exercise. Yes, all the carb-counting, label-reading goodness you do will never amount to much without exercise. Be sure it’s something you can handle and make it fun.
5) Eat your favorite meals and snacks (in moderation please). Yes, I said it. SACRILEGE, some will say. All jokes aside, you have to make the diet regimen tenable. This is definitely a way. Just don’t over-indulge in it. This defeats the purpose of dieting in the first place. Splurging on a “guilty pleasure” is just fine. Moderation is key.
6) Make a maintainence plan. Now that you’ve lost the weight, or are about to embark on your life-changing fitness plan… make sure you have a maintainence plan. A maintainence plan is sure to keep the pounds/inches off. Now that you have achieved ‘the look”, a maintainence plan will keep you looking sharp. The hardest part is indeed maintaining the achieved goal.
7) Be a tortoise, not a hare. You must keep a slow, steady pace when losing weight (or sculpting your body). Anything else is unhealthy. Don’t risk your life over a few extra vanity pounds. Don’t fool yourself.
8) Allow snacks between meals. Yes, more about food. Snacking is important. Snacking done healthily will curb cravings, thus keeping you in line with your fitness goals. Snacking done healthily will make the difference in you meeting your fitness goals or not. It also will be better for you health-wise.

9) Include all the food groups. Your body is a temple, the original machine (LaMettrie, 1748), the covering of your vital organs. Treat it right. Eating food from all the food groups is a sure way to ensure your way to the “promised land” of fitness is a sure-footed one. Treat your body right. Eating from all the food groups will help your body function as it should.
10) Leave room for improvement. Every diet has flaws in it. Who says it has to stay that way? Educate yourself, get to know your body. Tweak your diet based on your needs at the particular time. A constant of life is change and growth. So should your fitness journey.

In closing, I trust that these tips will help. These tips are essential to help you get what YOU need, not what the fitness pros want you to have. You have only one life… why not diet, exercise in the best way… YOURS.

Teen Obesity

The obesity epidemic in the U.S. is truly tragic. Even more tragic, the teen obesity crisis. Teen obesity is even outpacing adult obesity in the U.S. In the past 30 years, childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled among adolescents. The percent of adolescents aged 12-19 who were obese increased from 5% in 1980 to nearly 21% in 2012. Overall, 37% of ALL teens are obese or overweight.

WHAT CAUSES THIS?

Here is a short list of what causes obesity in adolescents and teens:

  • poor eating habits
  • overeating or binging
  • lack of exercise (i.e., couch potato kids)
  • family history of obesity
  • medical illnesses (endocrine, neurological problems)
  • meds (steroids, some psychiatric medications)
  • stressful life events or changes (separations, divorce, moves, deaths, abuse)
  • family and peer problems
  • low self-esteem
  • depression or other emotional problems

 

WHAT CAN BE DONE?

Obese children need a thorough medical evaluation by a pediatrician or family physician to consider the possibility of a physical cause. In the absence of a physical disorder, the only way to lose weight is to reduce the number of calories being eaten and to increase the level of physical activity. Lasting weight loss can only occur when there is self-motivation. Since obesity often affects more than one family member, making healthy eating and regular exercise a family activity can improve the chances of successful weight control for the child or adolescent.

Ways to manage obesity in children and adolescents include:

  • start a weight-management program
  • change eating habits (eat slowly, develop a routine)
  • plan meals and make better food selections (eat less fatty foods, avoid junk and fast foods); know what your child eats at school
  • control portions and consume less calories
  • increase physical activity (especially walking) and have a more active lifestyle eat meals as a family instead of while watching television or at the computer
  • do not use food as a reward
  • limit snacking
  • attend a support group (e.g.,Overeaters Anonymous)

Obesity frequently becomes a lifelong issue. The reason most obese adolescents gain back their lost pounds is that they tend to go back to their old habits of eating and exercising. An obese adolescent must therefore learn to eat and enjoy healthy foods in moderate amounts and to exercise regularly to maintain a desired weight. Parents of an obese child can improve their child’s self esteem by emphasizing their strengths and positive qualities rather than just focusing on their weight problem.

When a child or adolescent with obesity also has emotional problems, a child and adolescent psychiatrist can work with the child’s family physician to develop a comprehensive treatment plan. Such a plan would include reasonable weight loss goals, dietary and physical activity management, behavior modification, and family involvement.

 

CONCLUSION

Childhood obesity is a sad state of affairs. It must be addressed or we will continue to see children and teens with early onset versions of late-adulthood conditions. You can manage kids’ weight through portion control and healthy snacking, but I advocate the actual teaching of healthy habits by parents to kids. Parents are the first teachers of children. In closing, I hope these things I have shared will get all of you thinking.