Dear Alfonso,

I’m a 32 year old mom with two girls aged 10 and 12.

I work full time and lead a very busy life, but have managed to generally stay in shape. However my husband, Rick, is around 250 lbs and hasn’t exercised for the last 10 years (much to my frustration)

I’ve made peace with the fact that Rick is out of shape, but our two kids are also now quite overweight – by a good 30 lbs each in my estimation.

I try to give the kids healthy food – but when their dad is eating burgers and pizza I’m fighting a losing battle. Rick says the kids can lose the weight when they’re older and if I keep on at them I’ll make them paranoid about the way they look.

So what do I do? How can I get the kids to shape up – without causing a full-scale family riot?

Please help

Patty, Tennessee

Patty, you have struck an Angry Trainer nerve! Are you serious? Really? This is the problem today, excuses! Are you not as involved or as important in the raising of your girls? You don’t have a say in what they eat? It can’t be all Rick, you must have had a hand in this issue. You shouldn’t be “at peace” that Rick is overweight. What a cop out. Especially since YOU have managed to keep yourself in shape all these years, while the rest of the family is fat? Time to step up Patty.

It seems as though society is more concerned with their pet’s dietary habits rather than their children’s. You’d never think of giving Fido Burger King. Can you say McDouble standards? For some strange reason, people think it’s OK to give kids junk food regularly, that “they can afford it”. Well, they can’t. No one can.

I’d first show your husband the word IGNORANCE in the dictionary and point out that it begins with IGNOR(E). As in he’s ignoring a very serious problem.

Your kids should be worried about how they look to a certain degree, as it is a direct result of how they care for themselves. In this case however, your girls’ weight is a direct reflection on YOU, the parents.

Childhood obesity has nearly doubled in the last 30 years. Recent studies show that even though a person may lose weight as an adult, the health implications from carrying the extra fat tissue for years may not necessarily diminish. If children can “lose the weight” as adults, then why is hubby a chubby? He’s not really living proof of his own advice now is he? Here is what I suggest-

*Sit down with Rick and explain your concerns, thoughts and educate him on obesity, and the devastating, life long health implications it causes; Diabetes, Hypertension, Stroke, Heart Attack, Death! If Rick is still hesitant, then go to the real issue – the kids. Educate them as well. Make them understand the long term affects. We as a nation educate children on smoking, drugs, alcohol and their deadly effects. Yet we allow them to eat junk, fried food, and put garbage in their mouths daily. We ignore obesity, when it should be just as important.

*Demonstrate some examples of what better food choices could be. With all of the available choices, healthy food no longer tastes like bark. It’s OK to eat a burger and Pizza, just not everyday. I suspect Rick and your girls weight problem is from eating way too much, way too often. The key to your success is for you to be realistic. Many people fail because of unrealistic goal setting. You need to take this one step at a time, one meal at a time, one day at a time. You need to plan. Slowly acclimate healthier, calorie appropriate meals. Do not try a 180 in the household diet, you will FAIL.

* Suggest family activities to burn some calories and keep everyone in motion. Camping, biking, sledding, hiking etc are all fun ways to explore the outdoors and get some exercise.

I don’t think that either of you don’t care about your girls health, but citing Rick as the obstacle is wrong. The facts are indisputable. The two of you are killing your kids, and Rick is killing himself. It sounds harsh, but it’s the truth. It is not to late to make a change and set a positive example. After all, Mommy is in shape, why isn’t everyone else?

Instead of working out alone, ask Rick and the kids to workout together. Make it fun. Start with a walk, a jog, anything. Just get moving! Do your kids play sports? Are they active? And no, playing Wii doesn’t count. Sports are a great way to get kids used to activity, teach discipline, and build teamwork.

All across the nation schools are adopting better food choices in the cafeteria and seeing the positive results spill over into entire communities. School food is junk! Why not pioneer a program like that in your school system?

Knowledge is power. It’s available to you and everyone else. With the right approach, a little strategizing, and some finesse, you can do this. Make no mistake, it IS a commitment and challenge to change eating and activity habits. But it can be done.

All information contained within this site, Angry Trainer, is for informational purposes only.  It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any health problem – nor is it intended to replace the advice of a physician.  No action should be taken solely on the contents of this website.  Always consult your physician or qualified health professional on any matters regarding your health or on any opinions expressed within this website. Please see your physician before changing your diet, starting an exercise program, or taking any supplements of any kind.