Here's one way to talk about obesity with kids. Before you review this script, review my other post about why you should talk to your kids about obesity.
I want to talk about your weight and those labs we took at the doctor.
Those labs showed you're insulin resistant.
People who carry extra weight are usually insulin resistant. Thinner people are usually insulin sensitive.
Insulin is a hormone the pancreas releases when we eat sugar and carbohydrates, which we’ll just call sugar for now. Insulin’s job is to remove the sugar from our blood by transporting it to our cells. Those cells either use the sugar for energy right away or store it for later as fat.
When you’re insulin resistant and you eat sugar, your cells aren’t as sensitive to the insulin. Your pancreas pumps extra insulin into your bloodstream trying to get your blood sugar back to normal. Your cells resist the insulin so it takes more to unlock them. All the excess insulin floating in your blood then locks the sugar up as fat.
Insulin resistance is bad. A doctor will help us treat your insulin resistance.
Insulin sensitivity is good. If you’re insulin sensitive and you eat sugar, your body sends out a tiny drop of insulin and it lowers the sugar in your blood.
If we don’t treat insulin resistance, your pancreas, the organ that produces insulin, tires out. And your cells will become more and more resistant. When that happens to people, they develop diabetes.
We're talking about this so you can avoid these problems.
It isn't your fault that you're insulin resistant or that it has led you to carry extra weight. Like most medical problems, this is something that has happened to you and it's not your fault.
You know a lot of kids, even kids on our block, with medical and cognitive conditions that they didn't cause; celiac disease, asthma, allergies, even autism.
We don't blame kids who have these issues. However, people with insulin resistance who carry extra weight are unfairly blamed for their problem. Even some doctors don't understand this science well enough to realize that patients don't choose to be obese. Obesity is a disease that afflicted the patient.
Some people think we can control weight easily by using willpower, and that is not true. Obesity is a disorder of fat regulation, not of willpower or psychology.
The bodies of people with obesity don’t seem to recognize the stored fat as stored energy. Instead, their brain sends out signals to say they are starving. If your brain thinks you’re starving it will make you hungry and lower your metabolism to conserve energy.
Somebody may blame you for carrying extra weight. They may tease you or worse.
If somebody’s rude to you, tell us. We'll keep it private. We won't escalate it in any way. We won't talk to a teacher or anybody else.
But we want you to talk to us because we don't want you to have to deal with this alone.
Talking about something that has happened to you, even if you just want to forget that it ever happened, will, strangely, make you feel a little better.
Would love to know what you've done and what you've said to your kids. Send me an email at email@example.com or join our private Facebook group.