June 18, 2024

Encouraging Healthy Habits for Teenagers by Brett Klika

How to help teenagers exercise and eat well, without putting on the pressure of weight loss:

Getting kids of any age to exercise and eat well is a function of familiarity, exposure, and experience that transcend weight loss. If a child grows up in a household with a culture of wellness, it becomes a familiar way of life. If a child grows up in a household where exercise and eating well are seen as punishment for indulgences, this is exactly how they will view a healthy lifestyle: punishment. 

Expose children at a young age to fun physical activities that involve the entire family. Food works much the same way. Make sure kids see where real food comes from and how it is made. Grow a garden and cook with your kids if you are able. Physical activity and healthy eating then become a positive experience that will develop life-long behaviors

Focus on “now.” Telling kids of any age that food is fattening or unhealthy is not very effective. They do not have the cortical processing to base their current activity on future outcomes. They need to understand how things work in the now. By doing this, youngsters develop an awareness of what they are eating. It is independent of “fat” or “skinny.”  It becomes a decision of “do I want to eat a chemical that I have no idea what it is?” The younger they can begin the better. 

Creative positive experiences. Much of the above attitudes and behaviors are formed by the time kids are in their teens.  To continue to facilitate physical activity and healthy eating through the teenage years, continue to make these a positive experience. Find physical activities your children enjoy doing and facilitate those activities however possible. They don’t have to be sports!  Have healthy food around the house, go to high quality food sources for groceries, make restaurants a treat, and family dinners whenever possible. Teenagers are programmed to rebel as they go through the process of forming their own identity. Overall behavior is a collective of multiple decisions made throughout a day, week, month, year, etc. The more positive experiences you can create, the more favorable decisions they will make in regards to their health and wellness. Multiple favorable decisions form positive lifetime outcomes!         
Brett Klika
Want to Know the Truth About Fat Loss? Read The Dark Side of Fat Loss, available at www.brettklika.com.

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