How to Help a Child Lose Weight Without Making Them Feel Bad

child working out

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A child who needs to lose weight may feel a lack of self-worth.

In order to avoid this, explain to the child that their focus needs to be on health rather than appearance.

Your goal should be to show them that living a healthy life can be fun. Do this by introducing new exercises and delicious food.

Steps to Help Your Child Lose Weight

Materials Needed

1. Workbooks

You can find many excellent weight loss workbooks online.

12 Lessons of Wellness and Weight Loss for Kids and Teens Workbook
  • Doherty, Judy (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 98 Pages – 08/05/2013 (Publication Date) – CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (Publisher)

Some, like this one, focus on a specific method for weight loss.

Trim Kids: The Proven 12-Week Plan That Has Helped Thousands of Children Achieve a Healthier Weight
  • Melinda S. Sothern (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 420 Pages – 07/29/2003 (Publication Date) – William Morrow Paperbacks (Publisher)

Others, like this one, provide general advice for self-confidence during the weight loss journey.

How to Raise an Intuitive Eater: Raising the Next Generation with Food and Body Confidence
  • Hardcover Book
  • Brooks, Sumner (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

You should also check with your doctor for any suggestions they may have.

2. Supplements

A child with evolving eating habits should begin taking supplements to ensure they get all the nutrients and minerals they need.

Renzo’s Picky Eater Kids Multivitamin
  • A melty kids multivitamin: Renzo’s sugar-free dissolvable kids vitamins are a healthy, melty and…
  • Supports bone strength: Picky Eater melty tabs are packed with iron, zinc, calcium, vitamin A,…
  • Made with kid-approved flavors & clean ingredients: These melty tabs come in a yummy cherry flavor;…

Always check with your doctor before adding a supplement to your child’s diet.

3. Excercise Equipment

The type of exercise equipment you choose will depend on your child’s age and preferences.

Consider simple tools like the Skip It or a Light Up Dance Mat.

Sports Ankle Skip Ball
  • 1. Our bouncing ball is made of very good material and has high flexibility. When you open the…
  • 2. Easy to play: This ankle skip ball is easy for kids, adults and even if elders to play with,…
  • 3. Flashing Lights: The ball on the end of the rope comes with a flash light, which doesn’t need…

You could also try more traditional exercise equipment like a punching bag or a rowing machine.

Fun and Fitness for kids – Multifunction Rower
  • Multi function rower with low profile
  • Safe and reliable
  • Easy to assemble – Complete instructions and tools included

4. Fitness Journal

Let your child take ownership of their own journey by giving them a journal for recording their exercise and nutrition.

Daily Fitness Journal (Lined White Cover Kids Fun Exercise Guide Log Book)
  • Journals, Akeeras (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 97 Pages – 08/01/2018 (Publication Date) – Independently published (Publisher)

Step 1: Visit Your Pediatrician

Don’t start on this journey alone. Do not use a BMI chart to determine that your child needs to lose weight.

Don’t base your opinion off of your eyes or the perceived notion of obesity.

While it is true that obesity rates in children have tripled in recent years, this fact alone is not enough to determine if your child needs to lose weight.

You must consult a doctor first. If your doctor says that your child does not need to lose weight, you can trust this expert opinion.

However, that doesn’t mean that you should give up on focusing on health and nutrition. Continue your plan for healthy living, but without a weight-loss goal in mind.

This very thing happened to me a few weeks ago.

My daughter is now 13 years old. She went to the doctor for a well-child check and I was certain the doctor would say she is overweight.

This was based on nothing more than the fact that, when I was her age, I was little more than skin and bones. She is a solid 10 pounds heavier and two inches shorter than I was at her age.

However, what I didn’t take into account was the fact that I was underweight and my daughter is very healthy.

However, what I didn’t take into account was the fact that I was underweight and my daughter is very healthy.

In fact, the doctor said that her weight was “ideal.” If I had been left to my own devices, I may have made some dangerous mistakes.

What if your doctor does say your child needs to lose weight? That’s when you need to enact this multi-step plan.

Of course, before beginning any weight loss journey, you should ask your child’s doctor for input and advice.

The last thing you should want to do is cause your child’s health to suffer by choosing the wrong plan.

The good news is that the following steps for weight loss can be used by anyone who wants to be healthy, even if they are already at the ideal weight.

Step 2: Talk About Health and Wellness

Very young children may not understand terms like “health” and “wellness.” Teens may roll their eyes so forcefully that FEMA visits your house with disaster aid.

Regardless, you should at least try to have a talk about the importance of both physical and mental health at all ages.

It is vital not to name-call, bully, belittle, or place blame. Explain to your child that healthy living is something that becomes harder and harder to embrace as you grow older.

The time has come to find ways to increase exercise and eat healthy foods. Give your child some examples of ways healthy living can be fun.

Ask for their input about what activities they might like to do that can help them to become more active.

Ask what kind of foods they like, what they don’t like and what they might be willing to try.

An open line of communication is of utmost importance when establishing this new way of living.

Your talk should not focus on appearance. Using phrases like “you will look better if you lose weight” can cause emotional trauma.

You should also avoid putting your child down in any way. Telling them that they are lazy or sloppy will make them feel bad about themselves.

Instead, uplift them.

Tell them that you love them and want them to feel good. Explain how physical activities lowers stress and how a balanced diet can lead to happiness.

While your conversation should not focus on weight loss, there is no reason to lie to your child. If your child’s doctor has recommended weight loss, explain that fact to them.

Tell them the exact amount of weight loss they need to aim for and give them a reasonable timeframe. A realistic weight loss goal is about one or two pounds per week.

However, you may even choose as little as one-half pound per week for your child.

When you set that goal, don’t focus on being overweight but on the goal itself. Very young children may not understand terms like “health” and “wellness.”

Teens may roll their eyes so forcefully that FEMA visits your house with disaster aid.

Regardless, you should at least try to have a talk about the importance of both physical and mental health at all ages.

Step 3: Make a Family Nutrition Plan

Your child’s weight-loss journey does not belong to them alone. Set a plan for the entire family to eat healthier.

Start by removing foods that are laden with sugar and preservatives. Limit in-between meal snacking and save sweet treats for special occasions.

Put a restriction on drinking calories, which can be found in sugary juices and sodas.

Remind your family and yourself that nutritious food does not have to be tasteless or boring.

Try different types of healthy cuisines, especially those that can be found around the Mediterranean.

Step 4: Look for Opportunities for Fun Exercise

Exercise can be fun! Your child might dread exercise, but that means they haven’t found the perfect fit yet. Ask your child to try different types of activities until they fall in love.

I have gone through this with my own children. While I started enrolling them in a variety of sports from a very young age, it took a long time to find the right ones.

My son started with soccer. He hated soccer. He preferred reading books to kicking balls.

He then switched to t-ball. He hated t-ball. He thought it was boring, and he didn’t understand how standing in the outfield, where no balls ever reached him, was supposed to be fun.

Around age eight, he enrolled in basketball. He hated basketball. He was always the shortest kid on the team, was often overlooked, and was not particularly skillful.

The following spring, he tried track. He hated track. He felt like running with no purpose was silly. It was also too hot.

Later, he enrolled in cross country, gymnastics, and swimming. None were fun for him. All of these sports had problems, and every practice was a fight.

When he turned 12, he successfully lobbied my husband and me to allow him to play football. He loved football. He loved the strategy behind it.

He was willing to practice in heavy pads on the 100+ degree summer days in the Midwest just so he could be a part of the sport.

While I was never fond of the idea of football, I loved that he finally found something active that he enjoyed.

Even in the off-season, he began lifting weights and running to improve his performance.

Last year, the little boy who was always overlooked in basketball lettered in varsity football.

Your child may go through a similar series of trials and errors. You may even find that competitive sports are uninteresting to them.

There are plenty of other activities, from free weights to yoga to cycling that can offer health benefits to your child. What is most important is to keep trying and never give up.

Step 5: Track Your Family’s Progress

Tracking progress is a great way to encourage your family to continue. Use a physical chart or an app to note exercise and healthy foods.

You can even offer prizes with each goal reached. For instance, if a family member exercises every day for a week, they get to pick the activity for family game night.

Because weight loss is your ultimate goal, you should also track pounds or inches lost. H

owever, this should not be a competition.

Keep a private chart of how much weight has been lost but remind your child and your family that healthy living will continue even after weight loss goals have been achieved.

Step 6: Encourage Your Child’s Effort

Weight loss is a difficult concept. For many of us, weight is a direct reflection of the type of people we are.

When weight loss is celebrated, a child might feel encouraged to continue losing weight even after they have reached their goal. This can lead to disordered eating.

In addition, children who do not lose weight easily may feel as though they are inferior. This is why you should not applaud the weight loss but the effort.

If you see your child eating healthier foods, avoiding snacks and exercising, let them know that the weight loss will come in time.

What is important is that they are doing the hard work. You both should be proud of that.

Step 7: Don’t Give Up!

It is very easy to stop following a nutrition plan or to give up on exercise. Don’t do it! The changes you are making are permanent life changes.

These healthy eating habits and exercise routines are ones that you are attempting to instill in your child for the rest of their life.

Keep it going and everyone in your family benefit.

Key Takeaways

Weight loss does not need to be emotional. You can help your child lose weight without giving them any reason to feel bad.

Do you have any favorite weight loss tips you can share? Tell us in the comments!

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