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Fighting Weight Gain in Children During COVID-19

Fighting Weight Gain in Children During COVID-19

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has created a difficult situation for parents in Toronto and across the country. Social isolation remains one of the most important methods for mitigating the spread of the novel coronavirus. Many parents are continuing to keep their children home from school and prohibit normal forms of social contact. That’s great for reducing the spread of the coronavirus, but it’s having an unintended consequence: increasing rates of child obesity.

 

If your child is already overweight, don’t give up. There are plenty of things parents can do to help their children stay active. That’s true even when access to school or regional sports activities is limited. A combination of increased physical activity and better nutrition may be enough to keep already-fit children in shape.

 

For those children already suffering from childhood obesity, a visit to a Toronto Weight Loss Clinic can help even more. Get in touch to discuss your options today by calling 416-221-1583 or booking a free consultation in-person or online.

 

The Underlying Problem

 

Weight gain has been a problem for many Canadians during the pandemic. Some are even referring to their added pounds as the “quarantine 15.” Unfortunately, child obesity is no joke. Being overweight in childhood increases the chances that you will become obese as an adult. Obesity leaves you predisposed to developing a range of more serious health conditions.

 

It can increase the risk of:

 

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Strokes
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Hypertension
  • Dyslipidemia
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Sleep apnea
  • Cancer
  • Mental illness
  • And other serious problems

 

Parents want what’s best for their children. In this case, that means helping them attain and maintain a healthy weight to prepare for becoming a healthy adult.

 

Complicating Factors

 

Weight gain has both genetic and environmental components. It’s true that some people, including children, are predisposed to gain extra weight, especially during times of stress. However, pediatricians are noting that their young patients are gaining weight across the board. That points to environmental, rather than genetic, factors.

 

The primary problem is that most parents rely on their children’s schools and after-school programs in normal times. Now, most of these athletic programs are shut down. Parents who want to play an active role in helping to keep their children healthy are being forced to step up. Many have no idea what to do, and just about everyone has too much on their plates, already.

 

Obesity and Risk of COVID-19 Complications

 

For the last year, scientists have learned a lot about COVID-19. They’ve learned that while COVID-19 remains rare in children, obesity can be a risk factor for developing complications.

 

Experts believe there is a combination of factors that lead to worse clinical outcomes for obese children. Obese children are more likely to suffer from comorbidities like hypertension and dyslipidemia. They also tend to have less lean insulin resistance, more adipose tissue, and higher pro-inflammatory cytokine levels. All these factors are associated with immune, respiratory, and cardiovascular damage.

 

Obese children are more likely than their peers to experience severe complications from COVID-19. They may include the need for ventilation or intubation, a higher risk of thromboembolism, changes in immune response, and a more prolonged recovery. In other words, if there was ever a time to encourage weight loss, it’s now.

 

What to Do About It?

 

The first step is to come up with a plan. It’s important to avoid shaming your child about his or her weight gain. Just like adults, children are feeling the stress of the pandemic. They’ve had their lives turned upside down, and it should come as no surprise that many are stress-eating.

 

As a parent, your job is to offer support, advice, and compassion. You can start by encouraging more activity. It can help to incorporate physical activity into the family’s lifestyle. Keep in mind, however, that children ages six to 17 need more vigorous and frequent exercise than adults.

 

School-aged children should be getting at least an hour of moderate-to-vigorous exercise each day. They should also engage in a range of exercises for maximum effectiveness. The best way to get kids started on new exercise routines is to get them, personal trainers. You can contact us at 416-221-1583 to speak with a dedicated weight loss expert who can help.

 

Aerobic Activities

 

Most of your child’s 60 minutes of physical activity should involve aerobic exercise. While it’s still warm enough, try encouraging activities like bike riding or going for runs with the family dog.

 

You may also have to get more creative as temperatures drop. If your child doesn’t love ice skating, try virtual classes. Learning how to dance or perform martial arts can be considered a moderate-to-intense aerobic activity. Plus, your kids will love the classes.

 

Strength Training Activities

 

All children and adolescents should perform muscle-strengthening activities as part of their daily workouts at least three times per week. If you already perform strength training workouts, now would be a great time to get your kids involved.

 

Keep in mind that younger children may need to start with easier exercises. Have them try beginner push-ups instead of regular ones, for example, or spot them while they are performing pull-ups. Younger children respond especially well to being included in their parents’ exercise routines.

 

Don’t love strength training yourself? You should be leading by example, but if you don’t have the time, that’s fine. Encouraging kids to climb trees, play tug-of-war, or even swing on playground equipment can do the trick for younger children.

 

Bone-Strengthening Activities

 

Most bone-strengthening activities combine aerobic exercise and strength training. The difference is that they focus on building bone mass as well as toning muscles. Examples of activities that fall into this category include gymnastics, jumping rope, running, and even skipping.

 

Your older children can also incorporate resistance bands or body-weight exercises into their daily routines. Children should perform bone-strengthening or weight-bearing activities at least three times per week.

 

Adolescents and Exercise

 

If you’re raising a teenager, you might be wondering how all of this applies to your family. Chances are, your teen won’t be interested in learning your yoga routine or going out to climb trees. If you’re having trouble getting your teenager up and moving, don’t despair. It may just take a different approach.

Here are a few things you can try:

 

Offer Information

 

Don’t call teenagers out on their weight. Instead, offer helpful information about how valuable physical activity is. Not all teens are aware of the benefits of regular exercise. Let them know that physical activities aren’t just for fun. Frequent exercise can also help with stress, improve sleep, and even make it easier to focus while studying.

 

Suggest the Right Activities

 

Try to brainstorm activities that will appeal to teens’ interests and won’t feel too overwhelming. Adolescents who are already struggling with obesity may also have self-esteem problems. Attempting workout routines that are way too hard will only teach them learned helplessness. They’ll stop trying and will assume there’s just nothing they can do.

 

Emphasize Small Goals

 

Instead of telling a teen to get up and moving for an hour every day, start with smaller goals. Think about it like this: if you got up and went for a five-minute run one day and felt pretty good afterward, you’d be more likely to repeat it. Add five more minutes each week, and you’d be running for half an hour in just a month and a half. Plus, you wouldn’t be pushing yourself so hard you’d feel destined for failure.

 

Be a Good Role Model

 

If you prioritize physical activity, your children probably will, too. That’s because teens are especially predisposed to an observational learning mechanism known as indirect modeling. Teens who grow up with active parents are more likely to exercise or participate in sports voluntarily.

 

Nutritional Needs

 

There’s a common misconception that children who suffer from obesity just eat too much. In reality, that’s rarely the case. Most obese people of any age aren’t over-eating. They’re eating the wrong foods.

 

As a parent, you need to make sure your child is getting adequate nutrition. It can be unsafe to place a child on a fad diet. Instead, focus on making family-wide changes that will help your child prioritize healthy eating, more generally.

 

What Is Healthy Eating?

 

Even adults don’t always know what healthy eating habits look like. A healthy diet isn’t about placing strict restrictions on yourself or counting calories. It’s about choosing nutrient-dense foods and avoiding refined sugar, processed foods, and empty calories.

 

To maintain healthy eating habits, you might need to make some changes. If you’re not into healthy eating yourself, it’s time to learn. Instead of eliminating entire food groups, focus on creating well-balanced meal plans that have all the following essential nutrients.

 

Protein

 

Protein isn’t just responsible for giving your children the energy they need to get up and moving. It also supports cognitive function and can even improve your mood. Try to incorporate a variety of protein sources, from lean meats to plant-based proteins. Legumes, nuts, and soy are all high in protein.

 

Fat

 

Many people assume that they need to cut fat out of their diets for the sake of weight loss. That isn’t strictly true because not all fat is the same. Healthy fats like omega-3s are vital for maintaining heart and brain health. Industrial-made trans fats are the real problem. Cutting out processed food should eliminate most of them.

 

Dietary Fiber

 

Many whole foods are rich in dietary fiber. Eating a high-fiber diet is essential for anyone who wants to lose weight. Try to increase your family’s intake of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables so that everyone is getting enough fiber.

 

Calcium

 

Calcium is primarily related to bone health, which is very important for growing children. Calcium insufficiency doesn’t just weaken bones. They can also contribute to depression, anxiety, and even insomnia. All of these problems can make it more difficult for your kids to get enough daily activity. Incorporating calcium-rich foods like milk, yogurt, cheese, and beans into family meals can help.

 

Carbohydrates

 

While protein gives you long-term energy, carbohydrates provide a quick energy boost. It’s important to focus on complex carbohydrates, not refined carbs. Try to replace white bread, pastries, and starches with whole-wheat alternatives. It’s a great way to lose weight, regulate blood sugar, and even improve mood.

 

Tips for Making the Switch

 

It will be very difficult to convince your child to eat healthy if you don’t do the same. That doesn’t mean you have to throw out every sugary treat in your house. It just means you should start making small changes every day that will eventually add up to healthier eating for everyone. Here’s how you can get started:

 

Prepare Meals at Home

 

Buying prepared meals or ordering takeout from restaurants makes it very difficult to focus on nutrition. You need to take charge of your family’s eating habits. Cooking meals at home can help you avoid unhealthy foods and incorporate more of the nutrients your children need.

 

You don’t need to be a master chef to prepare your own meals. If you’re not used to cooking at home, start with easy recipes. Just make sure they’re healthy.

 

Find Replacements

 

It can be very hard to just give up unhealthy foods. Replacing them with healthier alternatives makes it easier. Try switching out the fried chicken for grilled salmon, for example, or eating fruit instead of sweet treats.

 

Practice Moderation

 

If your child loves sweets, don’t ask him or her to cut them out entirely. Instead, focus on moderation. Encourage everyone to take smaller servings of unhealthy foods and save confectionery treats for special occasions.

 

Consult a Professional

 

Losing weight the healthy way is hard. If making basic changes doesn’t help, your child might benefit from diet therapy. Cutting calories is always safer when performed under the supervision of a professional. You can call 416-221-1583 to speak to someone who can help.

 

Get Help Now

 

A combination of diet therapy and a targeted exercise plan is often the best plan for helping children lose weight. Parents shouldn’t have to figure it out alone. Instead, you can take your child to a Toronto Weight Loss Clinic that specializes in providing pediatric services.

 

At clinics, Naturopathic Doctors, professional weight-loss experts, personal trainers and body contouring specialists  will be available to create a customized plan and offer advice. Call today to schedule an appointment and get started. Get in touch with us to book a free consultation or call (416)-221-1583 to schedule an appointment and get started.

 

 

 

 

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Gaining Weight During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Gaining Weight During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has affected all of us differently. Many Toronto residents have found themselves spending more time indoors, and stress levels across Canada have been on the rise. The result? Consumers have been exercising less, eating more junk food to cope with the stress, and gaining weight as a result.

Unintentional weight gain can lead to all kinds of physical, mental, and emotional problems, but we have the solutions Canadians need to get back on track. Whether they’re looking for naturopathic advice on healthy eating and exercise habits or information about cellulite reduction and body contouring, consumers can read on to find out how to lose weight and keep it off.

 

What’s the Solution?

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to weight loss. Some people can lose weight through dieting and exercise alone, while others find that even months of dieting won’t get rid of their stubborn belly fat. Don’t get discouraged. We’re here to help.

 

The Problem with Fad Diets

There’s a right way and a wrong way to lose weight, and fad diets almost always fall into the latter category. Instead of encouraging healthy lifestyle changes, they often insist that consumers can simply cut out undesirable foods, or even entire food groups, then start shedding pounds like crazy.

While some fad diets can help some people lose weight in the short-term, they rarely produce long-term results. Plus, they can cause serious health problems, such as:

  • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
  • Dehydration
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Headaches
  • Weakness and fatigue

Fad diets claim to provide a universal solution to the problem of how to lose weight, but they rarely deliver on their promises. They’re just not worth the risk.

 

A Better Solution

Instead of following dangerous and ineffective fad diets, more Torontonians than ever are choosing to lose weight the healthy way. They’re visiting naturopaths.

 

What Are Naturopaths and How Can They Help with Weight Loss?

Naturopaths are medical professionals who combine different treatment modalities to help patients maintain optimal wellness. In the context of weight loss, these treatment modalities can include botanical medicine, acupuncture, homeopathy, lifestyle counseling, nutritional counseling, and others.

They take a holistic approach to weight loss by helping patients address whole-body issues and make lifestyle changes that will produce optimal long-term effects, not just in terms of weight loss, but also in terms of overall health and wellness.

 

Factors that Affect Weight

Helping patients who have been gaining weight during the coronavirus pandemic requires more than just recommending healthy eating habits. Every body is different, so naturopaths start by evaluating the underlying causes of their patients’ weight problems. These can include:

  • Poor genetics
  • Mobility restrictions
  • Chronic diseases
  • Slow metabolism
  • Food sensitivities
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Stress
  • Poor sleep
  • And other medical or lifestyle factors

Determining the underlying problem behind weight gain is the first step toward coming up with a comprehensive personalized treatment plan, so expect to spend two hours with our naturopathic weight loss counselor before receiving any recommendations. We may also request lab testing for analysis to rule out problems like hormone imbalances, thyroid issues, and other underlying medical conditions.

 

The Basics of Eating Healthy

Learning how to choose healthy foods is harder than many people think. Most of the supposed diet foods sold in supermarkets aren’t as good for consumers as their packaging makes them sound, and healthy eating requires more than just counting calories.

 

Go For Whole Foods

Following a whole-food diet is the best way to lose weight without depriving the body of the nutrients it needs. Whole foods are fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, and meats that don’t contain added sugars, starches, flavorings, or manufactured ingredients. Think of them as the opposite of processed foods.

 

What to Eat

Instead of focusing on calories, check the ingredients lists on food packaging to see what it contains. Foods like fresh fruits and vegetables and dried nuts, seeds, and beans usually undergo minimal processing and may not even have ingredients lists. They’re usually safe.

When it comes to meat and dairy, try to look for minimally processed options. That means choosing meat, poultry, and seafood that hasn’t been treated with antibiotics and doesn’t come pre-marinated. Milk is only minimally processed via pasteurization, as are regular cheeses and yogurts. It’s perfectly fine to include them in moderation in a healthy diet.

 

What to Avoid

There are a few telltale signs that a food product doesn’t fit the bill when it comes to health and nutrition. Heavily processed foods typically include extra ingredients designed to improve shelf-life, change their taste, or alter their appearance. Products that fall into this category include:

  • Jarred pasta sauces
  • Snack foods like potato chips and cookies
  • Deli meats
  • Frozen dinners
  • Candy and other manufactured sweets
  • Baked goods
  • Soda
  • Almost anything found in a convenience store

When evaluating options at the store, check the ingredients list. Look for refined carbohydrates, processed grains, and added sugars.

Tracking down added sugars can be a challenge. There are over 30 words that manufacturers use instead of sugar on their ingredients lists, but as a general rule, any product that has no added sugars is a safe bet.

The best way to follow a whole-food diet is to cook at home using unprocessed ingredients. It takes more time, but consumers will know exactly what they’re eating and won’t have to worry as much about deceptive marketing.

 

Starting a New Exercise Routine

Want an excuse to get outside for some fresh air after being cooped up for months? There are plenty of forms of healthy exercise that consumers can do on their own either outdoors or in their own homes.

Given that experts across the globe have come to a relative consensus on the fact that COVID-19 spreads primarily indoors, there’s no harm in donning a mask and heading out for a run, a bike ride, or even a swim provided there’s a safe place to take one. Just make sure to balance cardiovascular workouts with strength training, and always make sure to stretch.

 

Cardiovascular Workouts

Cardiovascular exercise is any form of physical activity that gets the heart pumping and increases blood flow throughout the body. Those who are just getting started with a new weight loss routine should begin with easy workouts that include walking, light jogging, bike riding, or swimming. There’s plenty of time to work up to running marathons, so take it slow at first.

 

Strength Training

Strength training involves targeting specific muscle groups to improve strength and endurance. It’s not just for bodybuilders, so don’t fall prey to that misconception. Strength training can also help consumers interested in excising the extra pounds they’ve put on during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Everyone should be performing basic strength training exercises like squats, push-ups, planks, and weight lifting. Those who want to take their workouts to the next level without risking a trip to the gym can even make homemade dumbbells using gallon milk jugs.

 

Dealing with Stubborn Fat

Sometimes, eating healthy and getting plenty of exercise just isn’t enough. Thankfully, modern medical science has provided plenty of safe, non-invasive methods for removing stubborn fat.

Weight loss acupuncture is a good option for those who prefer homeopathic therapies. Combining it with more modern approaches like body contouring, cellulite reduction, and laser treatments can provide optimal results when it comes to excising those extra pounds.

 

The Bottom Line

There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all weight loss program. The best way to lose weight is to visit a weight loss clinic that specializes in integrative care and personalized treatment plans.

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5 Foods to Toss if You Want to Keep the Weight OFF

5 Foods to Toss if You Want to Keep the Weight OFF

Everyone knows to eat more vegetables, lean meats, and healthy fats when trying to lose weight. But which foods should you avoid? After you’ve lost weight, can you reintroduce those bad foods? Having an occasional treat is fine, but any more than that and you could start putting weight back on. Avoid the following five foods if you want to keep the weight you’ve lost off for good.

  1. Frozen TV Dinners

Foods that don’t require any processing are perfectly healthy to freeze and eat, like fruits and vegetables. Other foods, especially those that have been processed, can’t be frozen without preservatives. Frozen TV dinners are guilty of using salt and other additives to keep the ingredients fresh while frozen. The extra salt in these meals causes you to bloat from water weight.

Instead, opt for homemade meals or takeout from restaurants that focus on serving whole foods.

  1. White Pasta Noodles

To produce white noodles, cereal, and bread, the grains must be heavily processed. This process removes most of the nutrients from the food, namely fibre. We need fibre to slow down the digestion process so that we feel fuller longer. When white pasta digests, it causes the body to release insulin which then stores the calories from the pasta as fat.

To continue losing or maintaining your weight, opt for whole grain pasta, cereal, and bread.

  1. Sugary Drinks

Excess sugar from any source, even fruit, is bad for the body. Sugar addiction has become an epidemic in Canada. Some of the main culprits of this epidemic are sugary sodas and juices. In fact, Health Canada has officially removed fruit juice from its food guide. This is due to the intense and substantiated link between sugary drinks and obesity.

Instead, drink water sweetened with whole fruits.

  1. French Fries

The body depends on unsaturated fats to support cell structures, maintain cognitive function, and promote heart health. The fat you ingest from French fries is not the healthy kind. This kind of fat, trans fat, has zero health benefits. It’s known to increase LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream and increase your risk of type 2 diabetes. Trans fat can lead to obesity and weight gain, so avoid it.

You can maintain your weight by eating healthy fats like omega-3s and 6s from salmon, nuts, and safflower oil.

  1. Some Alcohol

No one’s saying you have to cut out alcohol altogether. However, it’s important to understand how that margarita could contribute to your weight gain. When you enjoy a drink or two, you aren’t aware of how many grams of sugar you’re consuming. It’s too easy to exceed the limit and lose motivation to stay healthy. Even worse, when there’s alcohol in your body the liver puts all its energy into removing it. In this intense toxin-removal phase, it doesn’t burn fat.

Imbibe on special occasions with a low sugar drink but avoid drinking more than one.

If you’re excited about your weight loss, don’t throw it all away for some fries and sangria. Keep up your motivation and stay on a healthy path. Avoid the five foods listed above because they can halt the momentum you’ve worked so hard for. Keep those extra pounds off by eating non-processed, whole foods.

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Meet Zhanna

Meet Zhanna

Have you met Zhanna yet? A Registered Massage Therapist and Body Contouring Expert, Zhanna Kryukova provides expert treatment for our clients wanting a healthy, pain-free life.

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