Too Much Starch? / Motivating Your Child
By Mark Daniel
Welcome to the May newsletter for 45Pounds.com. It is our goal to provide you with helpful tips and advice in your efforts to help your child or yourself attain or maintain a healthy weight.
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Too Much Starch
Mark & Lisa Daniel
Too much starch is one of the biggest problems in our children's diets (and our adults' diets as well). While starch (carbs) is an important component of our child's healthy diet, too much starch means too many calories, and not enough of the other, important food groups.
For a 12 year old girl who is 5' 0'' tall and has a medium frame, the recommended intake is about 5 servings of starch per day, but many of our kids are regularly consuming twice this amount. A healthy weight range for this child would be about 105 to 110 pounds (a little more is okay. Every child is different, and a truly healthy weight goal should be something agreed upon by you, your child, and your doctor).
Starches sneak into the diet in many different forms; bread, French fries, sodas, and more. Below is a listing of some starches, and what constitutes one serving:
Starches (15 grams of carbs & 80 calories per serving)
- 1 slice bread
- 1 tortilla
- 1 small muffin
- 1 cup cold cereal
- 1/2 hot dog bun or hamburger bun
- 1/2 cup cooked cereal
- 1/2 bagel or English muffin
- 1/2 cup rice
- 5-6 small crackers
- 1/2 cup pasta
A sandwich with chips and a soda piles on at least 4 starches, and our 12 year old girl has only one starch left for the entire day. If she had cereal for breakfast, she's already had her recommended number of servings of starch for the day, and that's before dinner.
A word of caution, do not eliminate starches! A low carb diet is not appropriate for children. The solution is not elimination, it's moderation and balance.
Below are some ideas that can help you control your child's intake of starchy foods:
- Replace bread with low-carb wraps. Just about any sandwich you can make with bread can also be made with low-calorie flour tortillas. Light bread will also work as a substitute if it has less than 50 calories per slice.
- Watch those veggies - corn and potatoes are not counted as vegetables, they count toward your starch intake.
- Cut out the soft drinks. These are just empty calories. The same goes for fruit juices that are made with corn syrup.
- Look at the label - make sure it's real juice. Most juice on the market is full of corn syrup.
- No fries. Not only are they starchy, they are full of grease and calories. Medium fries from McDonald's carries 380 calories, a large is 570.
Starch sneaks into the diet in many forms. Try this exercise; have your child keep track of his or her intake of starches for a week. Then, sit down together and review the list. If starch intake is too high, work together to come up with a plan to reduce starch by eating more fruits and vegetables. This will go a long way toward helping your child eat healthier.
How Do I Motivate My Child to Lose Weight?
Mark & Lisa Daniel
When undertaking a weight loss program for your child, how do you motivate them to stick with it? What are the keys to keeping their interest in the long run?
It's very helpful if your child is on board with the program from day one. This doesn't mean that they have to love it every day, even the adults on our program don't love it every day, but it does mean that they agree that it is an important goal, and that it's something they are interested in doing. For most overweight children this is not a problem since many of them have been dealing with some level of self esteem issues as a result of their weight for some time. Then there's the teasing - while it may not happen every day, the occasional comment from classmates about weight sticks in the minds of our overweight children and gnaws away at their self esteem and self image. So sitting down with your child at the start to discuss the issue is helpful. Understand what their concerns and issues are, then agree to tackle the issue as a team. Some parents even like putting an informal contract together for both to sign as a symbol of their commitment. We've put one together that you can modify for your own use with your child if you like this approach (members, you can find this in the member section of the website).
For the very young child the discussion may by slightly different. You will need to take more of a directive role, explaining how important it is to be at a healthy weight. Make sure your child understands there is no connection between their weight and your love for her/him, but that since you do love them so much you want to work with them to get rid of the excess fat that can damage their health as they get older.
Set a targeted weight, something to shoot for. If you're unsure what your child's target weight should be you can find out at www.45pounds.com/idealweight. Now you have set the finish line. But you can't stop there. If all your child sees is the finish line, and how far away it is, that alone can be terribly discouraging. But it's an important step so you both understand exactly where this goal is.
Next, you need to create a series of intermediate goals. This will depend on how much total weight your child needs to lose. If she or he needs to lose ten pounds, then three pound intermediate goals might make sense. If you child needs to lose 100 pounds, then five or ten pound intermediate goals will make more sense. If your child has more than 20 pounds to lose, you should also set some ''benchmark'' intermediate goals. For example, every five pounds lost is a small step, every ten pounds is a big step.
Now you need a reward system. This is something you should think carefully about, maybe even discuss this with your child. The rewards are important, and are key to keeping your child motivated. They do not have to be expensive, but they can be. Rewards don't have to be things, they can be activities. But the rewards should never be food! Also, they should always include your praise! Tell your child how proud they are making you and how happy you are that they have made their intermediate goal. Never tell them you are upset or disappointed if they don't make their goal, or actually gain a little weight. This can discourage a child so much that they just give up.
Imagine your child is running a race that goes around the track four times. Each time your child comes by you have an opportunity to encourage her or him. You would never say, ''Hey, you're in last place, I'm so disappointed in you!'' Same goes for weight loss. Use words of encouragement and support. For the race this might be, ''Hang in there, just three more laps. Don't worry about your time, just concentrate on your goal!'' Some intermediate goals will be easier to reach than others, just as some laps will be run faster than others, and it is usually the last lap that's the hardest.
Rewards should be something meaningful, something that makes it worth trying. That means the rewards will be different for every child. For my son, cash always works, but so do hours earned to play video games, or guys' day at the movies, or even a bike ride on the weekend. For my daughter, clothes are the key. If this works for your daughter and your budget, offer a new article of clothing for every five or ten pounds lost; a shirt, some new shoes, whatever works. For our daughter her ultimate reward for making her final goal was all new clothes for the new school year. But again, there are other rewards that cost less or even cost nothing that can be just as effective, many of them just involving one-on-one activities, just you and your child doing something she or he enjoys.
A meal plan program is important. Sit down with your child and review the food he or she likes and dislikes. Concentrate on those high in starch and fat, ask if they will be willing to give them up for 30 days. If you are a member, review the 45Pounds daily meal plan with your child and modify it if necessary. Review the book with them again. Either way, building a plan for the week is important, and will give you specific goals to discuss at the end of each week.
Finally, be sure to measure progress on a regular basis. Saturday weigh day is a good idea. Place a progress chart near the scales for your child to track her progress. Click here to print a pre-made progress chart. Don't weigh every day, there are too many variables to make this meaningful and this usually does more harm than good. Always wait a minimum of three days between weigh days, once per week is best.
To summarize these points -
- sit down together and agree on the goals
- agree on some intermediate goals
- set up a series of small and big rewards for progress
- remember, rewards don't have to cost anything
- build a daily meal plan
- track progress every week
- praise all progress
- do not punish or scold lack of progress, always encourage
Remember, no matter how difficult the process, getting your child to a healthy weight is a goal worth working hard for. You are impacting your child’s life and health in ways that will follow them throughout his or her entire life.
If you are a member, be sure you are taking advantage of all of your member benefits:
Member Resource Center - this is where you can get all of your progress charts, exchange lists, food value lists, information on serving sizes, recipes, book recommendations, nutritional charts for some popular restaurants, links to helpful articles and government publications, and more. Again, all of this is free to members. http://www.45pounds.com/Members/membersonly
Password - You will need your password to access your member benefits. Go to www.45pounds.com/forgot if you have lost or forgotten your password.
Meal Plans - These meal plans are customized daily menus, built on your child's eating preferences and designed to help him or her eat healthy and lose weight. We do not sell program food, but help you build your own healthy program from foods you can buy at your local grocery store. If you are a member and have not yet filled out the form to receive your custom meal plans, go to http://www.45pounds.com/Members/buildplan. If you are a member and would like a fresh set of custom plans, you can buy them at http://www.45pounds.com/addedplans
Diets for Kids