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Health Education Blog

How To Help Your Child When They Face A Weight Loss Setback

Posted by Staff on June 26, 2017

mom with salad and son with hamburgerThe number of overweight children in the United States has been growing at an alarming rate. According to KidsHealth.org, one out of every three kids is considered to be overweight or obese. The reason so many children are overweight and obese is because getting them healthy requires a complete lifestyle change. When your child starts to lose weight, they will start to feel better about themselves. It's important that you understand, however, that setbacks are not uncommon.


If your child attends a birthday party and eats more cake than they should, if they go off to camp and they don't have anyone monitoring what they eat, or if they get stressed out and they overeat, they can gain back some of the weight. Not only will a diet setback effect your child physically, it can also effect them mentally. It's up to you to help your child face the setback and help them to get back on track.

Tip #1: Teach Your Child That Setbacks Aren't Failures

If your child suffers a weight loss setback, it's important that they understand that having a setback doesn't mean they have failed. You need to help your child understand that people suffer setbacks all the time in their lives. As long as your child understands that they are not a failure, it will be easier for them to get back on track.

Tip #2: Watch Your Words

After your child has a weight loss setback, they will already be angry with themselves. The last thing that you want to do as a parent is to make things worse. According to WebMD, you should avoid using words such as overweight or obese. Using terms like being healthy and feeling good will be more effective and it will keep you from hurting your child's feelings.

Tip #3: Create a New Weight Loss Goal

If your child has had a weight loss setback, reaching their original goal in the time that you had set might not be possible. If you stick with the original goal and your child fails to reach that goal, it can hurt their self-esteem and the motivation that they once had to lose weight. When you create a new weight loss goal after a setback, your child's chances of reaching that goal will be much greater. 

Tip #4: Treat the Setback Like a Challenge

When your child has a setback, don't call it that. You should call it a challenge. Challenge your child to get back on track with their diet. If your child gained weight during their setback, create a challenge to lose the weight. You can set the new goal and when your child beats the challenge, give them some type of reward. When your child is working toward a goal with a prize at the end, they will be more likely to want to get back on track.

Tip #5: Don't Make Excuses For the Setback

Even though you understand the reason that your child suffered a setback, you should not use the reasons as excuses. While you don't want to be hurtful when you're helping your child through their setback, you still need them to know that something like this shouldn't happen again.

If your child is overweight and they were typically allowed to have a snack whenever they like, that needs to change. It's up to you to cut down on their snacks and completely change their eating habits.

They would also need to make changes to the way that they spend their time. If your child spends most of their time on the computer, playing video games, or in front of the television, it's up to you to set limits on electronics and have them start doing physical activities, such as riding a bike, playing sports, and even taking a walk with the family.

If you continue to make excuses for your child's setbacks, you're only making it easier for them to have another one. Make sure that your child understands the reason that things went wrong so they can avoid another issue if a similar situation comes up again.

If you are concerned about your child's weight, it's something that you should handle immediately. If you're unsure about where to start or how to talk to your child delicately about their weight, the professionals at Orchard Hospital's Medical Specialty Center - Your Everyday Health Care Clinic can help.

If your child suffers a setback when it comes to reaching their weight loss goal, you should not get angry. Your child is going to need your help and your understanding to get back on track toward looking better and feeling better.  

Our mission at Orchard Hospital is to provide our community with superior healthcare. We strive to ensure that your experience at Orchard Hospital is as pleasant and comfortable as possible. Our priority is to provide you with the care you need when you need it, with skill, compassion, and respect. 

Topics: Childhood Obesity

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