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School for Overweight Teens


Getting Kids Moving - Help for Overweight Teens

A residential school program for overweight teens comes with a hefty price tag (some in excess of $5,000 per month). These programs rely on the same formula for weight loss as is commonly recommended; strict eating guidelines and increased activities. In other words, better nutrition and exercise. Hopefully some counseling is offered, and college prep courses are usually on the curriculum, but what about those kids? Are they getting a realistic head-start on a lifetime of healthier habits or are they simply doing what they are told, only to be fed to the wolves when they leave the safe environment of the school?

I tried to find stories of teens who had successfully completed these programs and gone on to healthy lives, and came up empty. If you are one or know of someone who's been through one of these live-in school/weight loss programs, please drop me a line. I'd love to hear a success story. If you want to be everything you can for your kids, here are ideas for getting them (and you) up and moving again.

Exercise Should be Fun

Get your child interested in some type of exercise activity, whether indoor or outdoor by helping them discover what they prefer to do. What about bike riding or hiking with a GPS (hand-held Global Positioning Satellite unit). If you like the outdoors, Geocaching sounds like enormous fun and anyone can do it. Adults are reporting losing 20, 30 or more pounds while they are out exploring the woods and hills in their surrounding area. Learning to use a GPS is also educational and helps kids learn math, science and physics while they're losing some pounds at the same time. You may find some Geocaching sites in your area. I searched on the Internet and discovered there was a Geocache not 200 yards from my house!

What's a Geocache? It's a "treasure" of sorts. One person puts a small package or box somewhere, out of sight, then lists the location via GPS. Using a GPS device you look for and attempt to locate the caches. Once you find one you may leave a note or mark that you were there, and then you return the cache to its hiding place for the next person to find. It's not about taking the cache, it's about locating it.

Get your kids to a martial arts class, if they are at all interested. Martial arts teaches kids discipline, respect for authority and builds their self esteem and confidence, plus it teaches self defense. Frankly, I'm starting to think about taking some type of martial arts myself. Perhaps Tai Chi or some other gentle movement practice. Any activity you find for your kids may also turn into your favorite activity as well, and what if you could do it with your kids? That can be the best of all.

Talk to your kids to discover what activities they may be interested in, and explore the options together

My son is a good example. He was never over weight but at around 13-years old his skin tone was flabby. He didn't go outside much, preferring to play Nintendo or watch TV, and since he was an excellent student, I didn't push him to go outside more often. Luckily neighborhood kids invited him to play football one day, and today five years later he's in excellent physical shape, has confidence a mile high, and he was just honored by winning the "Program Award" which the coach explained is granted to the one player he'd choose, "If I had to pick just one as the most outstanding overall." I have no worries that he'll continue with a healthier lifestyle from this point forward.

Before he took up football we bought him an expensive bike which was rarely used. He also has a skate board, a mini-scooter, and a pogo stick. We tried karate (he broke his wrist so had to quit, and then didn't want to resume), he likes Paintball. Sometimes it takes awhile to find the right thing but nearly everyone will feel better when they find a physical activity they like. Exercise isn't just sit ups and push ups. It's anything you do that includes movement.

No matter where you live get out the phone book and search for indoor and outdoor activities in your town, or use the Internet and search for "indoor sports" along with your city's name. I found listings for Vancouver Parks & Recreation, Vancouver Indoor Sports and a site on Sports Walking with a search for "indoor sports Vancouver Washington" (without the quotes).

Can Video Games Help with Weight Loss?

Video games can help with losing weight. Just ask Tanya Jessen who lost 95 pounds, Matt Keene who lost 150 pounds, or Tim Mitchell who lost 50 pounds over a few months time about DDR (Dance Dance Revolution), a video dancing game. Learning the steps is the challenge and since you're moving while you play (dancing really), so you or your kids gain skill at the game while also gaining excellent physical shape and hand-eye coordination at the same time. There are DDR clubs all around the world and many web sites devoted to the play and practice including www.getupmove.com.

Another exciting new game is called Yourself!Fitness. It's an XBox game with a PC version due early December 2004 and a PlayStation version in January 2005. Visit www.yourselfFitness.com. Yourself!Fitness includes a virtual trainer called Maya who takes you through your paces with hundreds of exercises from weight lifting to yoga.

Finding something your kids will enjoy that keeps them active is all it takes, and if they are reluctant, once their blood starts pumping they'll get much more enthusiastic. Games that incorporate a skill that's built up over time are excellent for increasing your child's self esteem, and with you along side, looking clumsy too, helps them see we all have to start at the beginning. You may just find something you love too.

Don't be afraid to try a few different activities before you find the right fit. The money you spend on equipment, games or lessons will be saved in less spent on junk food, soft drinks and medical bills down the road. Get up and get moving and your kids will naturally follow your lead.

Not everyone can afford to send their kids to a residential program, so design a program yourself, right in your own home. Switch from chips and cookies to fruits and vegetables for snacks, and above all get up and get moving!

~~ Kathryn Martyn, Master NLP Practitioner, EFT counselor, author of the free e-book: Changing Beliefs, Your First Step to Permanent Weight Loss, and owner of OneMoreBite-Weightloss.com

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