If you or a family member is struggling with weight gain or obesity, there are solutions that can help you. Obesity is an extremely challenging problem and battling it requires a combined effort that takes into account the dietary, the physical, the psychological and motivational aspects of our lives.

The hardest work must be done in the area of nutrition and food choices. When it is a child that is at risk for obesity and is gaining weight beyond the normal, then an entire family must play a role in creating the solution.

So where do you begin?

A few critical steps must be taken to begin the process.

The first step is to understand the current problem. The height and weight lead to a calculation called the Body Mass Index. The Body Mass Index or BMI is a helpful number that categorizes all of us in terms of level of overweight and obesity.

The next step is to discuss the problem with a professional and within the family. If the individual who needs to lose weight is an adult, then there are many specific solutions and resources available that will help you begin your journey.

The most important step is acknowledging that this is a serious health problem and that it is an extremely important goal to work on.

Losing weight is the most important endeavor you will work on for your health, happiness and longevity. So beginning that journey now is the first step toward a path of long-term success.

To begin the process, I would advise you to seek out resources and educate yourself about the problem and about the methods available to lose weight successfully and improve your health for the long term. There are professional guides, books and other expert advise as well as audio programs available that provide just such knowledge and guidance. Please visit:

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Father and Daughter

Family Obesity

If the family member who is overweight or obese is a child, then the process requires the entire family’s involvement. The first step is acknowledging the problem, a meeting of the family to discuss it and outlining in an entirely nonjudgmental way the importance of focusing on the problem for the child’s health, self esteem and growth and success. Use language that emphasizes the love you feel for the child and the importance of a healthy weight for feeling better and feeling healthier.

Children often lack the ability to understand that traditions which may be perfectly acceptable physically, socially or emotionally now, will become entirely unacceptable within a few years’ time. It is important to emphasize that as parents you are coming from a place of love and support and encouragement and not from a place of criticism or being judgmental.

The next step is to begin to seek solutions

The challenge is to begin developing habits that will take one to two years to develop and maintain. One of the challenges is to change from high carbohydrate and unhealthy high calorie snacks and drinks and meals in the house, in the school, in the pantry and in the fast food establishments or stores that are available to the child. This takes an immense amount of work and dedication and perseverance. Some problems may be easy to tackle, such as the elimination of high fructose corn syrup containing drinks, in fact removing drinks that have calories of any kind. This is fairly easily done at least on the home front. A rule can be made that all drinks from here forward must contain zero calories. There are so many solutions available nowadays from Diet Snapple and other soft drinks, to teas and flavored waters, there is no problem finding solutions that provide a great beverage alternative to high sugar drinks. On the other hand, some much needed changes will be very difficult to implement. For example, if your child has access to the high calorie, high carbohydrate foods at the school or at fast food establishments near the school, this may be very difficult to control. It won’t work to demand a zero tolerance policy of your child’s favorite foods. The solution must be taken in stages and the easiest-to-adopt changes must be implemented first. The more challenging and difficult topic (“no french fries ever again”) should be worked on incrementally with smaller portion sizes, less frequency of these tendencies and less of them at a sitting or a serving.

Working with a psychologist or an eating behaviorist may be very helpful as the child and the entire family work on new and healthier habits. Some of these habits will require some new educational insights and new strategies for implementation.

You are the role model

Your actions will speak far louder than your words. If you eat unhealthy desserts, snacks, high calorie drinks and processed foods, then your child will do so also. If you exercise daily and work outside, take time out from your busy life to run or play tennis or take long walks or work on the stair machine, then your child will see this and will absorb its importance in your life. Children are far more likely to emulate a parent’s activities than they are to listen to words that are not backed up by actions. So take this opportunity to improve your own health and your own sense of well being and your own longevity by committing to daily exercise and the improvements in your own dietary, health and food choices.

The obesity epidemic over the last 30 years correlates closely with a dramatic rise in the consumption of high carbohydrate and high calorie foods, drinks and snacks. The science has shifted towards an emphasis of a lower carbohydrate diet as healthier in avoiding surges of glucose's, insulin, leptin and other hormones that lead to many health problems including diabetes. Childhood diabetes is now rampant as a result of the obesity epidemic and this massive over consumption of carbohydrates. One of the hard steps for us to take is to find solutions for breakfast and snacks and meals that have tasty but lower carbohydrate and lower calorie content. Studies demonstrate that meal replacement with shakes or bars that contain protein, fat and carbohydrate but emphasize the protein will result n weight loss and improved health. So consider the addition of these types of products into your pantry and into your weight loss strategy. For a menu of items that you could consider or use in comparison when shopping elsewhere, visit

Role Model
Prepared meals may also provide a part of the answer for some families. With so many families having both spouses working and many busy activities keeping us on the go all the time, there is often little time to prepare meals with healthy ingredients. One solution is to purchase prepared meals that are designed and crafted with the nutritional formulation that will result in weight loss or weight maintenance. Several companies have begun to produce meals like this and one such line of meals is called iMeals To Go, which are available at There may be other prepared meals that work better for your family, but this would be a representative type crafted by a bariatric or weight loss physician and a bariatric chef. Use them as comparison when you examine other potential solutions or order them and see if they can substitute for an unhealthy dinner such as a fast food meal.

Other Programs

More comprehensive programs may be needed for a seriously overweight child. This involves coordinated efforts of weight loss physician, pediatrician, psychologist and physical activity coach or trainer. Start with your school if you are in a location where there is such a program. Then begin there. Visit iMetabolic to see the kind of comprehensive programs that have been developed that provide the state of the art weight loss solutions around the world.

Increase physical activity. Find ways for your child to increase his physical activity. Provide more opportunities for outside activities, take time to play ball, invent games, enroll them in sports. It may involve examining your neighborhood, seeking out opportunities for basketball or soccer or safe places to play outside. Strictly limit the amount of TV or sedentary activities that a child may participate in.

Create rules and rewards that emphasize the importance of physical activity and healthy eating and provide rewards other than food for accomplishments. Special gifts, treats, the movies, horseback rides or other kinds of enjoyable activities? (The grand prize, a trip to Disneyland?) that reinforce the positive behaviors and changes towards healthier eating and increased physical activity for your child.

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