Your child loves to dance. They love ballet or they might be into hip hop, jazz, tap or even ballroom dancing. The thing is the baby fat you always hoped would shift with all this extra activity they are doing is not moving. Now generally you would have no problem with that, you love your kid just the way they are! But your child loves to dance and the basic fact of the whole matter is that although the dance world is a creative, exciting and wonderful world to be a part of they are starting to take it more seriously then a hobby. Unfortunately you are finding that if your body doesn't fit the mold of what a dancer 'should' look like then the world of dance can be a cruel world of exclusivity that doesn't include you.
So what do you do as the parent?
The First Thing You Should Do is....Visit Your Doctor
You want to help your child acheive their dreams and so naturally you would go to your family doctor and exclude any sort of underlying medical condition before you tried anything else.
And so after a full examination you are advised that apart from your childs or teens body mass index (how the doctor measured your childs weight compared to their height) which places them into the category of being overweight or obese they are perfectly healthy and that your kid or teen just needs to eat healthier and do more exercise. You defend your child to your doctor telling them they are active, they do three dance classes a week among other things and that they eat just like any other teenager or child you know. They give you a whole heap of pamphlets with advice, websites and phone numbers on them and send you out the door. You get home browse the information but then get on the web and start searching for things like 'how to lose belly fat for kids or how to lose weight fast for teens and you are hit with a ton of information about the best diet for fast teen weight loss or how to lose thigh fat for 12 year olds and all you want to know is how on earth you are going to get YOUR kid to lose weight?
And here is the thing in the back of your mind if it they haven't aready surfaced are thoughts of blame and shame. Blaming yourself for what your child is eating, blaming your grand mother for the big boned genetics, blaming your partner for their weekly fast food habit, blaming your parents for all the treats they give your kids and how this has caused them to pester and pester and pester you at home for them until you cave. Your ashamed, I mean how did you let your child become overweight or obese? I mean seriously how dare the doctor even say that about your kid!
So let it all out be angry, feel ashamed, get all that blame out. Have a good cry... release it all.... because you need to! You need to feel this stuff so that you can get back to the truth of the situation and own your power and your choices from this point forward, because from this point you now know and you can never go back from knowing. Of course as the parent of your child you are not blind and you could see that your child had a little extra baby weight hanging around. But like most parents we hope that they 'will grow out of it'. Maya Angelou said 'do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better'. She also said 'if you are trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be' and so to make it really clear the point of this article is not to body shame and say you need to be skinny and thin to dance. We here at danceparent101 are of the opinion that absolutely anyone of anysize and ability has the right to perform and dance, but the thing is you wouldn't be here reading this if you weren't looking for answers right?
ok. so what now? what is the answer?
What we are about to tell you is controversial and you are not going to want to hear it! It is the best and the most successful way to give your child or teen who is living in your home the biggest chance to be healthier, to be fitter and to possibly lower their BMI.
We are about to give you the number one absolute top tip that will help your child or teen (who has no medical conditions) lose weight. Are we building it up enough??? Because once you read it you can't go back from knowing!!!
Ahh now we're even blaming you - don't stop reading please because - No we are not blaming you.
We are actually giving you a gift...... A present.
We are giving you the permission you need to put yourself first for a change!
We are saying that you do not have to change your child's diet, you do not have to put them on an exercise regime, you do not have to change them at all! YOU have to be the change! YOU have to start with YOU, always! What do you eat? How much exercise do you get? Do you get enough sleep? Do you drink enough water? Do you get enough downtime, playtime and relaxation time for yourself? You need to work on you first! Thats right we are giving you permission to put yourself first! Just like on the areoplane when they tell you incase of an emmergency put your own oxygen mask on before helping others, you need to look after yourself first.
But, but, but..... you know life. I have kids, I have to work, I have to clean the house, wash laundry, make meals there just isn't any time!
And to that we will tell you there is always time for what you prioritise in your life. When your kid is sick and you have to get them to the doctor and sit in the waiting room for 3hrs because you didn't have an appointment, you had time. When your car broke down and you had to wait for the mechanic and then take the car to the mechanics the next day and arrange for a number of other things you hadn't planned on, you had time. Yes it meant you couldn't do other things, but you did these things because they were a priority and that is what you and your health and wellbeing have to become if you want to have any influence or impact on your children and their health and well being.
Our kids are sponges who absorb everything we say and do, more so what we do. Our actions speak louder than words, so if you are telling them they can't have a soda they need to drink water at lunch yet order a soda yourself they see this and deep down they are not getting the message that soda is not good for you, only that they should drink it when you are not around.
When we start looking after ourselves we are able to look after others more effectively, and as we experience success we are motivated to make more and more positive changes in our lives and the lives of our family.
There is no diet in the world that you could put your child on to lose weight if you yourself are not prepared to do the hardwork with them. Infact there is no diet (in the sense of the word that we use it today) in the world that you could be on where you could lose weight and keep it off. Because diets are usually a temporary thing - follow this diet for 4 weeks, 8 weeks etc... you lose a few pounds and then you go back to your old habits and put double the weight back on. What I am talking about here is you looking after yourself in whatever form this looks like. It might be that it is just cutting back on something during the week or it might mean joining an ongoing support group to change your habits. It might mean going on a spiritual journey first to clear out all the hurt and cobwebs deep down in that emotional vault of yours or it might mean getting out and pursuing that photography course you always wanted to because in the past you always put your kids first, but now it is time to look after you.
It won't happen overnight, but if you start now you will be closer than if you started next week!warning: the following are not weight loss or dieting resources
So where do you start? Why not try one of these suggestions? No strings attached, we aren't being paid to provide these links - there is no affiliation or sponsorship here. They have all just been really helpful to us at Danceparent101 and hopefully even just one of these sites or resources can help you.
Oprah - Super Soul Sunday Podcast
Dr Laura Markham - AHA Parenting Website
Suzi Lula - Redifining Self Care
Dr Shefali Tsbary - Consious Parenting
Byron Katie - The Work
Anything by Brene Brown
Gretchen Rubin - The Happiness Project
Maggie Dent - Parenting Guru
You will notice that none of these resources are dieting resources! That's because you can't just say I am going to start eating better and change my families eating habits when we aren't aware and conscious of the mind games we play with ourselves in our heads. We firstly need the tools to learn to love ourselves in the skin we are in and our children the way they are so we can choose to change other aspects of our lifestyles such as our eating and physical activity from a place of positivity not out of shame or blame. Alot of times once we clean out our minds, it has the affect of cleaning out our lives as well and positive change becomes a snowball effect benefiting not only our lives but also the lives of our partners and children.
When all is said and done, you child no matter what weight, height or body type when in a supportive environment for their passion and talent will succeed. Not sure how they will suceed as a dancer when they don't look like a typical dancer? Click on the following link and read our article -
Fat Ballerina – Your child doesn’t have the Ballet body for dance! Now What?