Why "Weight Management" Isn't What Our Kids Need

Aug 26, 2022

Has someone suggested that you should perform weight management, or take your child to a weight management clinic?

What is weight management anyway?

❓Watching what you eat? 

❓Cutting back on portions and plate size?

❓Exercising more?

❓All in the aim of managing/changing your weight?

❓And looking for the results by how your weight changes?




Parents, we are worried about weight... our struggles, and now our kids' eating patterns and waistlines.

That does not mean that we get to manage their weight and create a diet mentality.

They are not experiments, they are not variables to be controlled. They are children, humans… and it’s about living, not managing.

When I took the weight-management approach at home (which is the standard medical approach), I became fixated on how much and how often my kids were moving, was it vigorous enough? Did it meet the guidelines for intensity and duration - for health? How much were they eating and when? Was it calorically dense, or light?

I was a freaking bear at home.

What I wasn’t managing was my own freaking mind around weight, food, and my kids. I became what I affectionately call “Momzilla.”

Kids sense the attention and the focus on their food, body, weight, and eating habits - even if we don’t specifically say anything about it. And they question:

  1. What have I done wrong?
  2. Why am I so bad?
  3. Why me?

It’s not about the kid, it’s not about their weight, or their food.

Weight management does nothing to benefit the child and their relationships.

Weight management is code for being on a diet. Diets are problematic because they:

  1. Are focused on weight as the primary outcome, success if decreasing, failure if not
  2. Focus on foods without understanding why and how we eat
  3. Are prescriptive, meaning they are generalized with rules, that do not reflect how we live
  4. They are inherently created to be short-term

Real behavioral change happens when… we re-create our relationships.

Think about it, how are your kids relating to their food, and their body?

Are they exercising because someone is making them? Well what do you think will happen when no one is looking?

Are they sneaking food (you know, those bright candy wrappers that inevitably sneak out from under the bed, the blankets, and the corner of the closet)? That’s because they are being restricted and feel that they need to sneak the food, else face blame and shame about eating it.

That’s not a good relationship with food or at home.

And I’ve been there too.

But there is hope.

What is that relationship with food that we talk about? It’s how we talk about the food, it’s how we feel about it, and it’s how we act around it.

Are we desperately trying to ignore the sweets on the counter, and then rushing back and eating them all when the willpower runs out? ((Sounds like a disastrous teenaged love story.))

Or, are we looking at food as the fuel for our bodies, which we want to invest in, fuel well for performance and feeling ah-mazing? How is the sweet on the counter a part of that fueling? And how do we eat it when our body needs and wants it, not just when we’ve thrown in the towel and want to eat it before anyone else sees?

Family in Focus specializes in working with parents who are worried about weight, and helping them create healthier relationships with food, body and self -- that's what the whole family can share, at every weight, for life.



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