How Can I Help My Teen?
If you are a parent of a child in a larger body, it is likely that you have been told that your child 'needs' to lose weight in order to improve their health.
The problem is, science does not currently have a safe and effective method to achieve lasting significant weight loss.
This does not mean that there is 'nothing you can do' to help your teenager look after their body and their health.
It is possible to help our kids focus on health behaviours, and to stop talking or equating this to body size.
People come in a vast array of shapes and sizes. Not all of us are supposed to be thin. Our genetic inheritance for weight is very strong. If you are a large family, it is likely that your children will also be large. This is not a 'bad' thing - it is diversity.
As parents, the safest way to move forward is to allow your child to have the body shape that they have, and to do your best to support them in looking after that body.
Lasting health is much more likely to come from sustainable health behaviours - such as eating a wide variety of foods in your diet, doing your best to be physically active in ways that bring joy, getting enough sleep, and looking after stress levels.
There is an established body of research on the 'non-diet approach' to health which demonstrates that the real 'bang for our buck' when it comes to looking after our health is our health behaviours - not weight loss itself.
If you are looking for support and help, the HAES Australia website has a list of registered health professionals who can assist you with a non-diet approach to your teen's health.
If you are worried that your teenager may be developing an unhealthy relationship with food or their body image, these resources can help you.