The following is a guest blog posting by Dr. Lyndsay Elliott.
1) Encourage movement. Get moving with your kids. Walk to/from school and places nearby home, encourage them to participate in organized sports for team building, self-esteem increase, challenge their own physical abilities. Set limits on “indoor” time and encourage them to get out of the house to play with friends. Find a physical activity that the whole family can enjoy (i.e. hiking, soccer game, beach volleyball, etc.)
2) Make available, encourage and model eating balanced and healthy foods (i.e. low sugar policies in schools, balanced eating at home: 4 fruits/vegetables to “earn” desserts). Variety of foods/snacks to choose from. Food as fuel, daily self-care (just like teeth brushing).
3) Eat with your children as a family at the dinner table on a consistent basis; without tv; encourage actual mealtimes rather than grazing on the run or in car after going thru drive thru. Discuss the day’s events without bringing up emotionally charged topics where emotional eating may occur.
4) Focus on good health rather than weight loss as the goal. Weight loss is inevitable with dedication to balanced health. People generally feel better when they are eating healthy, living foods, and can savor treats as just that, treats.
5) “Talk less and do more” — i.e. stop nagging kids to change their habits, which isn’t effective, and start shopping and cooking differently, going for walks with them etc. Model good behavior and eliminate the word “diet” from your vocabulary. Be brave enough to remove the scale from your home and maintain weight based on how you feel in your clothes.
6) Be aware of the potential affects of being overweight (being teased, bullied at school, low self-esteem, etc.) These are far longer lasting and more detrimental to emotional health, and a main reason for people developing eating disorders.
7) Encourage tolerance of body diversity. Do not make comments about other people’s external appearances, and focus on your child’s internal self-worth. Promote self-esteem and body satisfaction.
8) Limit television watching regardless of your child’s size.
9) Do not give food as rewards for good behavior, focus on internal qualities reward for effort and completion with verbal compliments to build self-confidence.
10) Teach children of all sizes to value themselves and their health.
Dr. Lyndsay Elliott is one of Southern California’s most prominent Psychologists in her field of expertise. Dr. Lyndsay (as her patients call her) maintains her clinical practice in Newport Beach, California. As a food and body image expert for the last 15 years, Dr. Lyndsay is known for her break-through work with children, teens and young adults. She particularly enjoys consulting with parents to help develop a healthy self-image for their children. Dr. Lyndsay empowers individuals with her ease, strength, and experience, ultimately propelling her patients into a new arena of growth, control and balanced living. Check out Dr. Lyndsay’s daily tips and blog at www.DrLyndsayElliott.com, on twitter @DrLyndsay and Facebook at Dr. Lyndsay Elliott, Inc.