Getting the Expert's Input: What to Feed Our KidsNov 04, 2022
Let’s talk expertise!
Parents ask me, “What do I feed my child who is overweight? How do I help them lose weight or not gain any more weight?”
The questions are real, and honest… and not helpful.
That’s not trying to sound cruel or skirt the question.
But these questions show that we are looking to everyone else to tell us what to do:
- How to eat
- How much
- How to move
- How to lose weight
- How to not gain more weight
- How to slow weight gain
- How to get the kids off the couch
- How to get rid of electronics
- How many calories
- How many calories to burn
- How many ounces
- How large of a portion
- How hungry
- How satisfied
- How many minutes of movement
- How intense of activity
- How to make meals
- How to be creative with lunches
- How to limit portions and pantry raids
- How to find the time in the day to get it done
I made this list in under 2 minutes of brainstorming. How many of those questions are the ones you have and are looking for the answers?
The how’s are overwhelming and yet the answers are everywhere. That’s the business of Instagram and Pinterest and doctor’s offices and all the help boards. Everyone is telling us how to do it.
But it’s not working, is it?
It’s not working because when we give away the plans, the decisions to someone else - we have them tell us what to do, we lose the ownership. It becomes someone else’s plan… and we HATE it. It doesn’t fit, it’s painful, it’s strange, it doesn’t account for the lives that we actually live, the food we actually like and how we actually want to move. We revolt like a teenager being told what to do. Like a toddler who just wants her way and is flopping on the floor like a fish in Target.
And I get this all the time: parents are asking me as both a doctor and a coach. They ask questions in our sessions and then look at me for the answer.
Let me give you the real answer:
I am not your guru.
I am not your expert.
Now, I do have a ton of expertise… in child health, in medicine, in growth and nutrition, in coaching, in engagement and communication and connection and speaking. And I use that expertise all the time.
But I am not the expert in you. I am not the expert in your family. You are.
“Oh no, I’m no expert,” you say.
You’ve had how many years figuring out what works and what doesn’t… that’s many more years than anyone else has had studying you. Sounds creepy, but you know what I mean…
“But I haven’t found what works,” you say.
That’s where we start.
First, what have you found that DOES work for you, for your family?
What have you learned about what doesn’t work?
How is it that you just aren’t seeing the evidence of it working… yet?
Now, you can borrow from my expertise, perhaps we can both agree that eating exclusively M&Ms and Pepsi One isn’t the healthiest choice (I learned that one from real life in my first years of medical practice, not taking the time for any meals, and I suddenly had racing heartbeats). Book-smarts doesn’t mean application.
And as you borrow from my expertise as well as what others share works for them, how can it HELP you make decisions about your life and your family?
Not tell you what to do, but inform you so you can make the decisions?
When we see what others have done with their routines, it doesn’t mean that it’s the answer for us. But is it possible that it shows us what is possible.
Ultimately, you are the expert in what can, does and will work for you.
This is what we get to learn for ourselves, as adults. And as parents, we can model this for our kids. As we see them rejecting our ideas, our directives and rules, they are learning autonomy and making their own decisions.
That doesn’t mean that what you have to share isn’t important. It doesn’t mean that it isn’t going to work. But how are they becoming the expert in their own bodies? How can we trust them to figure it out along the way, just like we are still trying to figure it out for ourselves?
I have a secret: while I have figured out what works for me, I don’t even have the plan for my kids. THEY are the ones figuring that out. I am helping them try on different things: foods, routines, exercise, but I am not the expert in them. As the expert in my family, I have to practice letting them take over.
There is no one plan, no one-size-fits-all, and there is by no means one perfect plan for you. If you think you’re waiting to find the elusive, perfect plan, all you’re going to find is all the loud advertisements for the crappy, faddy ones that don’t fit you. But you can beg, borrow, and steal from others, try on what fits, and discard the rest.
That’s how we create the plan, the diet, the routines that work FOR us.
Want help figuring out how to make this work for you and your family? Join me with Family in Focus. Here's the link to my current offerings. If you’re reading this blog in Nov 2022, I have a tremendous opportunity to come in for 1:1 coaching from January to March of 2023, but for 2022 pricing AND you get to start working with me now. Talk about a Black Friday special: early, extended access to coaching to help you be the expert in you, your family, and create the healthy results YOU want. Let's get started.
Check out the Family in Focus with Wendy Schofer, MD Podcast!
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