My Mom's Advice for Raising an Overweight Child


mother and daughter

Mom and me at Christmas dinner

Warning: The following sentence is super cheesy, but true (plus, it's Mother's Day). My mom and I have been the best of friends from the moment I was born. She's always the one I ran to with a problem or just to hang out. I was one of those kids who'd rather be with her mom than with her peers. (I've since moved past that. A little.) Now that I'm older and live away from home, I relish our monthly mother/daughter dates.

One of my mother's best qualities is her compassion. I was made fun of as a kid for being overweight. It was hard to find clothes that fit properly. But my mother always made me feel good about myself and helped me get healthy without putting me down. How did she do that? I asked her what is was like having me as a kid. Enjoy!



Mom with some of her grand kids

What was the biggest challenge in raising me?

The biggest challenge in raising you would have been how to limit your diet choices in a healthy way without having to put the boys and dad on a diet too; because they were not going to have it! They wanted their favorite things in the house, but that stuff was exactly what you were not supposed to have. That was a challenge, but I believe you can't put the whole family on one person's diet.


I was overweight as a kid. You also struggled with your weight as a kid. How did this affect/influence your parenting?

I spent some time as a child being overweight also, and I also lived in a home of men who ate whatever they pleased with no consequences. It's like when a person has a problem with alcohol you can't expect the rest of the world not to enjoy an occasional cocktail; same with food. It's the individual's struggle and they are the one who decides what goes in their body. As a parent, I think the best way to teach healthy habits is to eat sensibly yourself and not to deny any food. Set limits. Exercise with your child -- go for long walks and talk and before you know it, you'll have walked a couple of miles. It may take a while, but it does work.


How did you find time to exercise while taking care of a young child?

Taking care of young children is exercise! Remember the swimming lessons, skating, tennis, hikes in the park, bike riding, and so on?

How did you try to teach me about healthy living? What's your advice for other mothers out there who are trying to teach their family healthy eating habits?

I think the best way to teach anything is by example. Let your child see you eat healthy foods and don't demonize certain foods; everything in moderation. You want a piece of carrot cake? Have it! Just not everyday. Never reward children with food; get a toy, a book, a new pair of shoes, etc. Common sense.


If grandmom, your mother, was still alive, what would you ask her?

I would ask my mother: If you could live your life over what might you do differently?


Thanks mom! Happy Mother's Day!

How do you teach your kids about healthy living?

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