One of the things I’ve discovered through years of helping people achieve their weight loss goals is that family weight loss really works. When a family approaches weight loss together, and joins together in a commitment to get healthier, it’s easier for everyone to make progress.
Look at the example of our clients, sisters Emma and Maddie, who lost a combined total of 91 pounds. If only one of them had made the choice for health, it would have been more challenging to make the right lifestyle choices. Together, they could support each other in changing the small habits that add up to maintaining weight reduction.
“I think being in a diet as a family helps us individually. Since we’re on the same diet, we don’t have to have that extra food there for temptation. So, being together is like our own personal support for each other.”
“We’ve tried a billion different diets because we’ve been all kinds of overweight and chunky and my mom did a lot of research and she found Dr. Katsura and researched it more and we decided that we’d try it because we liked it.”
Why Family Weight Loss?
With both obesity and diabetes on the rise, many families are becoming more aware of the importance of helping all family members maintain health.
Since social support has been shown to be very important for successful weight loss, it simply makes sense to begin providing that support structure within the family.
“Clusters of friends and family can help both establish and spread healthy norms, such as regularly checking weight and blood sugar (if diabetic), exercising, watching calories, and eating fresh fruits and vegetables.”
– Eric L. Ding, Sc.D., lead author, epidemiologist and nutritionist at Harvard School of Public Health
Having a weight loss buddy improves the amount of weight you’re likely to lose as well as your odds for maintaining that weight loss. In particular, approaching weight loss together is great for families, because they can create a family friendly diet plan and agree jointly to get unhealthy foods out of the house.
Children tend to imitate parent’s food and lifestyle habits, so combined with genetic triggers, obesity can run in families. That makes family weight loss the right approach to help the whole group get healthier.
When it comes to helping family members lose weight, it’s an old truism that junk food that doesn’t get purchased doesn’t get consumed. Children don’t usually do food shopping or much of the meal planning and preparation, so a family approach means that everyone’s health improves together.
Families can support each other in implementing weight loss tips, such as drinking more water or serving food in smaller portions, on smaller plates. Weight loss doesn’t have to be competitive, but instead can be a bonding exercise where mutual support becomes a secondary goal. This is very different from the sabotage that occurs in some families where one sibling decides to lose weight while the others become food-pushers, teasing and tempting with treats.
In one survey of adolescents in grades 7–12, 29% of girls and 16% of boys reported having been teased by a family member about their weight. The study stated, “girls who reported teasing by family members were 1.5 times more likely to engage in binge-eating and extreme weight control behaviours five years later.”
How To Succeed At Losing Weight As A Family
- Get both parents and children involved
- Refrain from purchasing highly processed, low-nutrient foods
- Keep all unhealthy drinks out of the house
- Prepare healthy foods together – teach your children “cooking from scratch”
- Plan healthy meals and snacks in advance
- Serve foods on smaller plates
- Keep portion sizes reasonable
- Eat meals together, and avoid rushing them
- Drink lots of water
- Encourage alternative and creative food choices. It’s okay to eat a burger with no bun, in a lettuce wrap instead of the traditional way.
- Plan physical activities together – start with a simple walk after dinner
- Celebrate small wins
- Focus on health, not weight
- Get professional support
We’re Committed To Helping Families Get Healthy Together
Our weight loss center is planning a special family weight loss promotion for family members over 18 years of age who want to help their families get healthy together. To learn more, call us at (808) 551-4348 or book your free initial consultation, and ask about our Family Weight Loss special!