Healthy Children - January 2018

 We Can! Help Children Maintain a Healthy Weight: How to Stay in Energy Balance for Life

Here are a few simple tips to help your family sustain energy balance, stay motivated, and handle setbacks in order to maintain a healthy weight for life.

  • Make a Commitment. You need to make a commitment to yourself and your family to eat nutritious foods and get regular physical activity.
  • Get a Support Network. It helps to have a strong network of family, friends, and colleagues who will support you in your new lifestyle habits. Families can serve low-fat meals for gatherings, your friends can limit drinks with added sugar and TV watching when youth are playing together, and colleagues can go on short power walks with you and help you make healthier choices at the cafeteria or vending machine. Let as many people as possible know what your goals are and, hopefully, they will not only support your, but join you in your efforts. Maintaining a healthy weight is good for everyone!
  • Set Realistic Goals. Effective goals are specific, attainable, and forgiving (not perfect). “Eat three servings of fruit a day” is a better goal than “Eat more fruit.”
  • Track Progress. Tracking your progress can help you feel good about your success and can show you where you may need to make some changes if you’re not meeting your goals. Continue to use the tracking tools provided to you in the WE CAN! Try Tips to Eat Well and Move More tracking sheet, the WE CAN! Fit in Physical Activity planner, and the WE CAN! Reduce Children’s Screen Time log.
  • Be Ready. Having ideas and alternatives will help your family stay in energy balance. We Can! Try Tips to Eat Well and Move More handout and the Spinning Dial of Ideas can help you be prepared. Check the We Can! Web site for more ideas to help you stay in energy balance.
  • Learn How to Handle Setbacks. Expect to have setbacks. Setbacks usually happen to those who are overconfident and say, “it won’t happen to me!” Being committed, setting realistic goals, and being prepared with alternatives will help you handle setbacks.
  • Reward Yourself. One way to help you stay motivated is to regularly reward yourself. Choose nonfood-related rewards, such as a day at the local lake or beach or go to the park to ride bicycles, roller blade, or fly a kite. You can also buy yourself a gift to help you stay physically active, such as new work-out shoes or clothes, a ball, racket, or other piece of equipment.