Tag Archives: Health

What Can a Mother do to Help Her Overweight or Obese Child?

I was the fattest kid in school all my school life. It’s a miserable way to spend a childhood, or any time, for that matter. To look at me today no one would guess it. I’ve been at my ideal body weight for over twenty years. I’m a mental health counselor. Some assume I have no idea what it’s like to be fat. But I know too well. I was obese and morbidly obese for 25 years, and I thought I was a hopeless case for a long time. But I discovered how to solve the problem 20 years ago, lost 140 pounds, and I’ve been helping others since. I know how to solve the obesity problem.

For two-thirds of us, the obesity epidemic is very personal. The physical suffering and cost of medical treatment due to obesity-related diseases is bad enough, but if you’ve ever been overweight yourself, you know that the real suffering associated with obesity is emotional —and no one is more vulnerable to that kind of suffering than children. It is painful to be made to feel defective, to be teased and tormented and criticized and judged. For fat kids, it’s every day.

But here’s the good news: Mothers are the most important and most powerful people in the world related to solving our childhood obesity epidemic. If your home supports habitual behavior that produces obesity, your obese child doesn’t stand a chance of getting better, no matter what the government and schools do. He or she will lead the life of an obese sick kid, almost guaranteed to become an obese sick adult. The only way an obese child can change is if the home and family changes, and that will only happen when mom says it will.

More good news: If you’ve been battling with weight yourself, deciding to help your child avoid or recover from obesity will not only spare your child, but it will solve your weight problem too! Here are some ways to get started:

1) Clear the house of high calorie junk food. Snacking and eating as if it was a hobby or a sport has got to go if you want to control your weight. Have plenty of fruit and diet soda in the fridge so they have something to grab when they need it, but a house full of cookies, snack cakes, chips, candy and ice cream is the house of an obese person. People who have solved their weight problem have none of that in their house.

2) Feast and party occasionally, not every day. There are no bad calories in my book, but some foods are so calorically dense and addictive that you can only have them on special occasions, and then you need to send them home with the guests. Those who have Thanksgiving every day, or party every night, are planning on being obese.

3) Help your kid find pleasures other than food. Everyone needs comfort and pleasure, but learning to use food for that is a sure fire way to create a compulsive overeater. Help them to learn how to have pleasure in healthy ways. Swimming, biking, playing with dolls and Legos, fishing, crafts, games and friends —these are all ways to make yourself feel good. And there are no calories!

4) Swim against the current. Our culture promotes overeating and obesity, and if you are going to refuse to go along with it and be obese, you’ll be rejecting the things that everybody else thinks are normal. Put your foot down with the kids, your friends, and your husband. Don’t go to fast food places unless they have healthy selections, which some are starting to have. When they whine for junk food (husband included) “just say no”, as if they were trying to talk you into letting them have drugs. (Obesity actually accounts for far more suffering and premature deaths than drug abuse.)

5) Become a calorie expert. Buy a calorie guide so you become an expert in portion size and healthy choices. There are no bad foods or bad calories in my mind, but until you get the knowledge of the caloric densities of the food you eat, there is no way to make intelligent choices. Eating without knowing the calories in the food is like going shopping at the mall and charging up all the things you like without looking at the price tags.

6) Never use the “d” word. I don’t believe in “diets” and “dieting.” Never tell a kid you’re putting him on a diet. Believe me, it will backfire—just as it does in adults.

Mom: You can take the lead by modeling and demanding a healthy way at home. Start at home, with yourself and with your family, and the schools and community will have to fall in line. You will save your child and the world by focusing on your own habits and your home. Your child and the world will follow. No one gets in momma bear’s way when her cub is threatened, even poppa bear, and mom, your child is threatened. Get my book, The Anderson Method. It can show you how to change unhealthy eating behaviors and use positive “mind control” techniques to help your whole family feel good about food, have a healthy self-image, and feel motivated and hopeful.

5 Biggest Weight Loss Myths

Does it come as a surprise that you really don’t have to exercise to lose weight? Or that it doesn’t matter whether you eat diet food or junk food? Or that you can eat at night and still maintain your ideal body weight? It certainly surprised me, because these things were drilled into me by the so-called “experts” my whole life as an obese child, teenager and adult. But with my unique education as a psychotherapist, combined with lessons that can only be learned by being overweight, dieting, and being turned into a compulsive overeater, I learned that the dietitians, phys-ed teachers and doctors who pretended to know it all were wrong. I’ve set the record straight in my groundbreaking weight loss self-help book, The Anderson Method.

If you’ve been failing at diets and exercise schemes forever and have just about given up, don’t lose hope. This can be the year you finally succeed. Believe me, no matter how many times you’ve tried and failed, no matter how hopeless it has looked, your success is entirely possible, as long as you’re still breathing and have an open mind. I know this because I lost 140 pounds twenty-five years ago, after twenty-five years of being an overweight diet failure who gave up more times than you can count. But one year, I “got it”, lost 140 pounds, ended my obesity problem, and I’ve maintained my ideal weight since, over twenty years. This could be the year you “get it”.

Today, I’m a psychotherapist who helps people solve their weight/obesity problem. I teach other therapists so they can help their overweight clients, wherever they are. We are very successful. Believe me, there is hope. You can succeed. There is a way. And here are five surprising and vitally important facts you need to absorb before you can begin on your path to recovery from obesity and dieting failure. Accept these truths and you may be on your way.

1) You don’t need to exercise to lose and control your weight.

What? This goes against everything all the “experts” say! Well, it’s true. Exercise may be vitally important for a lot of things, but it’s not required to lose and control your weight, and if you don’t get your eating under control, focusing on exercise may cause a weight gain! (An hour on the treadmill will be cancelled by one brownie! Eat two because you “worked out”, and you gain weight, not lose it!) When I learned how insignificant exercise was, and that controlling my intake was the solution, whether or not I exercised, I had hope for the first time in my life. I didn’t have to exercise in ways I hated! I have clients who are disabled and cannot exercise, yet they do fine at controlling their weight. Exercise is important for lots of things, but it’s not the solution to your weight problem. Controlling your intake is the solution.

2) It doesn’t matter whether you eat health food or junk food, diet food or fast food.

Your weight is a result of your “caloric balance sheet.” Eat more calories than you use (1800 per day for the “average” woman, 54,000 per month) and you’ll gain weight. Eat fewer calories than you use, and you’ll burn up stored fat and lose weight. It doesn’t matter where the calories come from, health food, “junk” food, carbs, fat, protein—- It doesn’t matter (for weight control purposes). A calorie is a calorie is a calorie. Is it better to have better nutrition? You bet. But if you eat too many calories of “health food” you’ll get fat, while someone who eats fewer calories of the “wrong things” will lose weight.

3) Diets are not the solution. Learning how to eat, strategically undereat what you like, is the solution.

Learning how to diet (eat in some abnormal way to lose weight) does no good, because at the end of the diet, we go back to “normal” or worse, and keep gaining. We got fat because we developed habits of eating too many calories, and if we go on a “diet” with the intention of going back to “normal”, we are planning on getting fat again. Success will come from learning to eat food we like in ways where we won’t get fat. Believe me, there is a way. We will need to change, and it must be a permanent change with no return to the old ways, but it needn’t be without pleasure. In fact, we enjoy eating even more! Our favorite foods are even better, and no guilt!

4) It doesn’t matter what time of the day you eat, or even what day of the week.

Read again what I said in item #2. It really doesn’t matter when you eat, even if you eat mostly at night, or skip meals during the week and splurge on Saturday night. Real science backs me up on this. If you can create a lifestyle you like, one you can live with where your “balance sheet” is correct, you’ll succeed, even if it’s not what some “experts” think is the “right” way to eat.

5) Success is not just a matter of “will power” or “just making up your mind”.

It’s not that some people have “it” and some don’t. Success in changing habitual behavior, even tough habitual behavior like an addiction, is not just a matter of “will power”. There is a body of knowledge and technique in my field of behavioral medicine that you can learn, knowledge and technique that will empower you to make changes in your life that were not possible before. It will be work. You’ll have to let go of some things that you haven’t wanted to let go of. But if being overweight/obese has been a curse on your life, and you’d like to get rid of it, don’t give up. Keep hoping and praying. Learn what you have to do. Read my book. Call one of my therapists. Be prepared to learn more from legitimate sources, and work at it. You can succeed like I and my clients have. Keep going.