Weight-Loss Wisdom from a Toddler

Weight-Loss Wisdom from a Toddler

From Chicken Soup for the Dieter's Soul

Weight-Loss Wisdom from a Toddler

Much may be learned about any society by studying the behavior and accepted ideas of its children.

Robertson Davies

It’s no fun carrying around the “baby weight” as your child ages. I knew if I didn’t make some changes soon I would still have those extra pounds when my son started school. But when I decided to lose thirty pounds, I didn’t do it alone. I had help from meeting leaders, my husband and my own personal miniguru, the toddler. In my weight-loss journey, I found I learned a lot just by observing him.

My son doesn’t use a stair-climber, lift weights or own a treadmill. He finds simpler ways to get the job done. He runs—an empty field or backyard is perfect. If he climbs stairs, they’re real ones and not the kind found in a gym.

The lesson: Use what you have. Go up and down the stairs at your local community center, museum or aquarium with your child. I guarantee you’ll know you’ve worked out. That is, if you can get out of bed the next day. If your child has a favorite musical act (Wiggles or Laurie Berkner, anyone?) pop in a video and dance along. You’ll eat up some of that vast supply of energy while you burn calories, and you’ll both have fun doing it.

The other day, we rode our bikes as a family through our neighborhood and ended up at a local park, where we discovered a trail off the beaten track. My son took a minute to warm up to it, but once he did, he delighted in exploring. Despite our exhaustion from pedaling our bicycles in the Florida heat, his enthusiasm was contagious. We deviated from our plan and stayed awhile longer.

Lots of workout advice extols the virtues of mini-workouts. While the plan may be meant to allow busy parents a way to get a workout in, they also seem tailor-made for a youngster. I circuit train—kid-style. My son’s program on a recent afternoon involved bouncing in his bounce house, traveling over to his wading pool for a few quick full-body splashes and then finishing off with laps around the backyard.

Something else I’ve learned from the little one is that a little bit of food goes a long way. My son will eat small portions of food and stop when he’s full. Then, no matter how much you prod, plead or insist, not one more bite will pass through his lips. Not even if it’s his absolute favorite food. He savors what he truly enjoys and doesn’t bother finishing what doesn’t appeal to him. He only eats when he’s hungry—you can be sure he’ll let you know when that happens! And he doesn’t linger over meals; twenty-five minutes is a long time for him to spend eating. When he has finished, it’s on to the next adventure.

My tiny mentor is always ready to try something new. Who knew he would enjoy food like avocados or cucumbers, or that the highlight of his day would be a bicycle ride? Getting out of a rut is good for all of us—adults and children alike. Sometimes you don’t have to look very far to find a new perspective on diet and exercise. Just spend a little time with the child in your life for inspiration and motivation.

Tricia Finch

10 Tricks to Help You Stay on Your Diet

Tell everyone you know you are on a diet. Ask them to help you behave. Ask them to work with you, for instance, when choosing a restaurant or activity. There will be places where you will not find appropriate food on the menu, and this can help you avoid them. With a team supporting your effort, you will be more apt to stay on your diet. You will want to lose weight because you won’t want to let them down or embarrass yourself.

Keep a chart. Post a chart in the bathroom on your mirror with all of your vital statistics: date, weight, and measurements of your chest, waist, hips, thighs and upper arms. Update it at the same time each week. If you are ALMOST a certain weight or size, write down the higher one to keep you on your path.

Set realistic goals. On your weight/measurement chart, write down your goals. How much is your ideal weight? What is the halfway point? What weight will you be when you’ve lost one-fourth of the target weight? Highlight the weeks when you reach these goals.

Reward yourself! When you reach each goal, give yourself a present. Buy something great, sized just a bit small. Make sure you love it so you’ll want to fit into it. Hang it where you see it every single day. Keep trying it on. Do not wear it until it fits perfectly. The rewards will help keep you on the right track. And tell your support teamabout them, sowhen they see this reward, they’ll know you are seeing success.

Learn how your body works and help it. If you know that soda stimulates your hunger, don’t drink it, and by all means, get rid of any you have in the house. If you know that something fills you more than something else, take advantage of it. If you know you must be active, then be very active. Learn what makes your body tick, and help it tick faster.

Change how you look. Sometimes a new look can help your body feel weight-loss worthy. Change your hairstyle or hair color. When people notice the change, they will also see how much weight you have lost. It’s natural for people to reward you with compliments. These compliments will keep you motivated. Having fabulous posture helps you look thinner and helps you tighten muscles. Slouching only makes you look round and fat and sloppy.

Keep a journal. Write down what you eat and when. Then when you see changes, you can analyze why you lost or did not lose weight. Write down how you feel from day to day. Were you tired? Did you feel energetic? Did you break your diet? Did you feel hunger? Did something happen to trigger a bad habit? Besides having a place to vent, it gives you something to do besides going into the kitchen to find something to eat.

Exercise a lot. You have heard this before, and if it were not true, it would not be mentioned as much. Exercise makes the weight come off faster, and it helps keep it off once you have lost it. Exercise can be as simple as turning the slow walk with your dog into a brisk walk with your dog.

Photograph yourself as you go. Post the pictures around your home so you and others can see where you were. A mirror is often deceiving, but pictures do not lie. Plus, you’ll have a record of your hard work when you reach each goal, especially your final goal.

Flaunt it. Wiggle your stuff. Strut. Feel proud. Let the world know how good you feel by how you move your body.

Felice Prager

Raspberries & Cream Soy Smoothie

MAKES 2 SERVINGS EACH SERVING: 0 GRAMS SATURATED FAT

1 cup soy milk or low-fat milk

8 ounces silken tofu (or 1.2 package of Nasoya Silken Tofu)

1½ cups frozen raspberries, semithawed

3 tablespoons ground flaxseeds

2–3 packets Splenda sugar substitute

1 teaspoon pure almond extract

Toss all of the ingredients into a blender and whip until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute.

Reprinted from The Gold Coast Cure. ©2005 Andrew Larson,M.D., Ivy Ingram Larson. Health Communications, Inc.

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