Every child is an inpidual. So while no two roads to optimal weight are the same, they share a lot of similarities. "I don't think we need to aim for an ideal environment—we just need to aim for a better environment, one where children have access to natural whole foods much of the time, and where they have an opportunity to exercise their bodies, not just their minds, in school; one in which advertising influences are supportive and not undermining of parental responsibility; where healthful foods are less expensive and junk foods are relatively more expensive; and one in which we have political leadership that creates a comprehensive national strategy to support a healthful lifestyle."~ David Ludwig, M.D., Ph.D., author of Ending the Food Fight

 
To Reach Your Optimal Weight

*Eat the "right" food
*Exercise at least 1 hour daily and limit TV, video games, and computer time to 2 hours daily
*Calm the nervous system & reduce stress with exercise, yoga, meditation, hypnosis, and adequate sleep
*Add helpful supplements to your diet to decrease inflammation and oxidative stress


Eat the "Right" Diet
*Eat REAL food (nutrient dense, low-glycemic with lots of phytonutrients)
*Drink plenty of water and have your child chart it daily on his water chart
*Eat balanced meals and snacks
*Eat at regular intervals throughout the day [breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner]
*Eliminate food intolerances from your child's diet; Be sure to have your child tested
*Eat for your Nutritional Type

Dietary considerations are paramount in discovering HOW to help a child with obesity heal. Children today consume large amounts of highly processed, high-glycemic food far from its natural state, especially processed grains found in cookies, crackers, muffins, breads, etc. In contrast, your great-grandmother likely fed her children REAL food filled with fiber naturally (fruits, vegetables, sprouted whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes) and she also likely fermented some foods. Fermenting food starts the digestion process helping your child better assimilate its nutrients. Fermented food is also filled with beneficial bacteria which helps replenish the "forgotten organ" also known as the gut flora. These two steps of adding more fiber and adding more fermented foods into your child's daily diet will help heal her digestive system (and therefore all her systems) with every bite!
 
Children today drink processed sugar in the form of fruit juice, even watered down fruit juice,  soda/pop, energy drinks, sports drinks, "vitamin water", and so on, replacing the ever important just plain water! Our bodies are roughly two-thirds water, without adequate water we "dry up" and slow down our metabolism. Make sure your child is drinking approximately half their body weight in water (40 lb child should drink 20 oz water daily). Infants are the exception to this rule, as they primarily drink their water as breast milk or formula. Breastfeed if possible. Breastfeeding has been shown to decrease a child's risk for obesity.[1] Remember when you start solid foods between 6 and 7 months, to include a sippy cup of water after every meal. This gets them in the healthy habit of drinking water. In addition to adding empty calories, another problem with drinking (and eating) processed sugar is that you are also feeding the non-beneficial bacteria, yeast and parasites in your digestive tract which swings the digestive eco-system in their favor. They are sitting at your table every time you eat and drink, so remember to "starve" them out with nutrient dense food and filtered water. A great fermented drink is kombucha tea. You can make your own or buy it. It may take some taste bud training, but eventually you and your child will be hooked!

Your digestive health is key to your overall health. Makes sense for a child with constipation, diarrhea and/or recurrent tummy aches, but a bit strange for helping a child with obesity.

People know their digestive system is responsible for digesting and absorbing their food, but most don't realize that this sacred process of "digestion" is how we nourish every cell in our body. What is more important than the way we "feed" our cells?  Not much. The cell is where it all happens ~ the functional basic unit of life. There's about 100 trillion of them in your body!  Cells pide, grow, breathe, produce energy, and form every organ in your body. So need we repeat? Cells are a big something, and what we feed our cells is vital for our overall health, and that stems from how the food we eat is digested and absorbed into the body.  This is why your digestive system is key to your overall health.  In other words, if your digestive system is not functioning optimally the rest of "yourself" is compromised. 

Our digestive system should be armed with healthy gut flora. These microorganisms together are busy doing a host of "chores" for our body including fermenting food, training our immune system, keeping growth of harmful pathogenic organisms in check, producing vitamins and hormones for our body, and more.  The gut flora have been called the "forgotten organ". We never forget our heart beats, our lungs breathe, our brain thinks, but we do forget that our digestive tract has ten times the amount of microorganisms (bacteria, fungi and protozoa) than cells in the entire body and plays a major role in the normal functioning of our body.

Add Helpful Supplements for Optimal Weight. In his book Ultrametabolism: The Simple Plan for Automatic Weight Loss, Mark Hyman, MD talks about new research that links obesity to inflammation (part of the body's natural defense system). "Being overweight promotes inflammation and inflammation promotes obesity in a terrible, vicious cycle." To help your child reach their optimal weight, add powerful anti-inflammatory supplements such as probiotics, cod liver oil, and a multi-vitamin/mineral with phytonutrients and anti-oxidants. 

Probiotics, the healthy bacteria, reduce overall inflammation (immune activation) by re-balancing gut flora. Not all probiotics are created equal. See why we love HMF - Human based Micro-Flora - probiotics, clinically proven to proliferate in the human digestive tract and reduce gastrointestinal symptoms. In addition to decreasing inflammation, cod liver oil and bio-available vitamin/minerals reduce oxidative stress and support healthy fat metabolism.

Balance, Deotoxify & Drain. To help children reach their optimal weight, I use homeopathic remedies to balance the hormonal system and help the body drain and detoxify toxins, through a process called Bio-Therapeutic Drainage and Physiological Regulating Medicine. You can find a practitioner near you trained in these techniques through Seroyal and Guna Biotherapeutics.  

Imagine. ScienceDaily (Nov. 29, 2008) - A ban on fast food advertisements in the United States could reduce the number of overweight children by as much as 18 percent, according to a new study being published this month in the Journal of Law and Economics. Sweden, Norway and Finland have banned commercial sponsorship of children's programming.

 


Susan McCreadie, MD is a Holistic Pediatrician and co-founder of get REAL for kids™. She shows parents how to find REAL health for their child, so they can stop treating their child's symptoms and instead find solutions that help their child heal from the inside out.


Sources:

1. von Kries, R. et. al. (1999, July). Breast feeding and obesity: cross sectional study. BMJ;319:147

 

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