Think about your own children. From the time they were babies, we use food as a reward, to calm them down, to give them an activity when they are bored. Maybe we let them eat in the stroller. Or maybe you let them walk around snacking as they play. These habits last for a lifetime. What do you do when you’re stressed? Bored? Celebrating? I bet the answer had to do with food. If you want your children to live a long healthy life, you need to help them build healthy behaviors. If you want it for yourself, you will probably need some behavior modification!
The only long-term strategy for weight management is the adoption of a healthy lifestyle, including exercise and control over eating habits. There are endless numbers of diets (Very low calorie diets, Protein Diets, pharmacological treatments, etc.), but the most effective long-term strategy continues to be behavior modification. Behavior modification means that you can change the behaviors in your life that contribute to your overeating. For instance, small changes such as not eating on the couch or slowing down your eating are simple behavior modification strategies. The most effective way to change your “lifestyle” is to do it in slow, achievable steps. The support of a group, your family and friends all promote your long-term success.
When you change your lifestyle, you ensure long term weight loss. Isn’t that what’s important? Take a look at your own eating patterns and that of your family. See if there are some simple changes that could lead to a healthier lifestyle. Here are some to consider…
1) Eat in only one designated eating place at home and work.
2) Find new ways to reward yourself or your family that don’t revolve around food.
3) Try new stress reduction techniques. Meditation and breathing exercises are good for your kids too!
4) Say grace or take a moment before the meal to slow down the pace of eating.
5) Eliminate food cues such as cookie jars, candy dishes and even cook books.
6) Play some slow music and set the tone for slower, calmer eating environments.
7) Eat with all of your senses. Pay attention to smell, color, taste and texture. Play game at table and try tasting food blind folded.
8) Serve from kitchen not family style at the table. .
9) Plan for success! To avoid impulse eating, plan meals as a family for the week.
10) Take a family walk after dinner (even if just on the weekends).