The days of “fat camps” are long gone. Today’s fitness camps are different from the weight loss camps that we all grew up hearing horror stories about. They focus on a holistic approach to healthy living and long-term weight loss. They shouldn’t be thought of as a “quick cure” for your overweight child. Instead, weight loss camps should be viewed as a starting point for a lifelong commitment to living healthy.
If you’re considering sending your child to a fitness camp this summer, good for you! Often it is difficult to admit that we, as parents, are in a situation with our children where we need help. However, choosing to send your child to a fitness camp can be one of the best decisions that you and your child make for their well being.
While you’re surfing the web for the best camp, keep in mind some of the following things:
1. Make sure the camp promotes a healthy approach to weight loss. This seems obvious, but make sure you’re not sending your child to an “old school” mentality “fat camp.” The camp should offer plenty of healthful food choices that won’t leave your child hungry. Get some samples of the a daily menu and make sure it includes plenty of vegetables and fruit, lean protein, non-fat dairy and whole grains.
2. Make sure that they incorporate FUN exercise activities. As adults, we tend to push ourselves in the gym, stay on the treadmill long after we’re bored or force another set of crunches. Kids, on the other hand, should have fun while they exercise. The more fun they have exercising, the more likely they will be to stick with it. Who knows? Maybe they’ll come back home with some ideas for YOU to make YOUR exercise more fun!
3. Make sure that the camp sets realistic goals for the kids at their camp. Children lose weight differently than adults. A lot of their “weight loss” will come in the form of “growing into” a healthy weight. Sure, some weight can and should be lost during their time at camp, but you don’t want a camp that promises to send back a thin child! Weight that is lost too quickly typically (almost always) comes back and is NEVER supportive of a healthy system.
4. Make sure that the camp takes the “healthy approach” beyond the food and exercise to include emotional support. Being overweight or obese can be very tough on your child’s emotional well-being and you may not even be aware of some of the emotional scars that your child has. You want to find a weight loss camp where the counselors are encouraging as well as understanding. You want your child to lose weight, not self-esteem!