Three Things We Were Never Taught (and will help us & our kids)Dec 03, 2021
As parents in an age with tons of messages about overweight and obesity, we’ve heard it all - especially the parts about what we need to do to “fix” it.
No stress, but "you’re in control of the food that comes into your house" - "surely your kid can’t get to it if you don’t buy it". And "you’ve just gotta make them move more."
You know, that’s where I was a few years ago - thinking that I needed to be the change I wished to see in the world. Thanks, but no thanks, Gandhi. I used that phrase to work AGAINST me. I took so much of that to mean that their weight was my fault - something for me to control.
So here are 3 things that we have not been taught - and that can be helpful as we figure out what’s next for our families:
- Your child’s weight is NOT YOUR FAULT.
There is no fault here. It is not a helpful way to look at it. Because what do we think that something is our fault?
We feel guilty, shameful, and failure. And then we either put our tail between our legs like my best buddy Max and pull back, or we come out, guns blazing, making all sorts of restrictive rules and crazy goals that we want our kids to lose xyz pounds before the next holiday.
That is NOT helpful.
Ultimately - it comes down on the child, who then wonders what THEY’ve done wrong to deserve this treatment. And the last thing that any child needs is a message that they’ve done something wrong about nurturing their bodies.
- Weight isn’t the problem.
Imagine this: you go to check your car’s engine oil. It’s low. Again.
What do you do?
If you want to do something for good - you find out WHY it keeps going low. Is there an engine issue, is there a leak?
The oil is the last thing that we see - and it only tells us a part of the story.
Same thing with our weight.
Weight is just a marker - and not a particularly good one.
It can be a marker for nutrition, for growth, for environment. But it does not tell the whole story by any means.
In my general pediatric practice, I would ask EVERY child about their nutrition -- not just the kids who were on the upper ranges of the growth curves. Why? Because the kids at lower weights often scooted by with eating habits that were not helping their body’s nutrition. It just hadn’t started to show in their weight.
We get to look at the habits, the routines, the patterns - and really evaluate how they are helping us holistically - not just our weight but are they fueling our growth physically, academically, socially, and for the long-term?
- It is soooo possible to be healthy at a variety of sizes.
There’s a concept - a movement - called Health at Every Size. And it’s about time we understand what it means.
It means that health is not defined by your size. It’s not defined by your weight.
Health is an overarching concept - I like to think of it as how we are investing in ourselves for the long-run, because I don’t think of health as being the absence of disease, or a point in time. We are ALWAYS investing (or taking away from) our health. Kinda like the “health bar” on the video games -- it’s constantly moving back and forth - being fueled or drained by what we do.
My weight is one teeny-tiny aspect of my health - and it doesn’t tell the full story at all.
It’s about time we start focusing on creating health - nurturing our bodies, minds and spirits - without the focus on the scale.
Our children’s weight is not a fault/blame game, weight is NOT the problem, and it’s possible to be healthy at a wide range of weights.
Saying these thoughts - it’s one thing. Do you believe it? What will you do with this information? How will it change your approach to your family’s health? What changes for you in your relationship with your own body, and your relationship with your children?
Plant these thoughts like seeds - and see what grows in time as you keep nurturing the thoughts. Like the three cherries in the picture - so much potential and beauty, starting with a small seed/pit!
These are the things that we dive into so much more with Family in Focus. Check out www.wendyschofermd.com for information on the upcoming group programs, as well as 1:1 coaching. Imagine what is possible for your family’s health - and then bring it to life!
Check out the Family in Focus with Wendy Schofer, MD Podcast!
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