Sunday, June 15, 2008

Dr. Ellouise Speaks to Parents

1. See a change in your lifestyle as your way of caring for your children, not as your way of controlling them or depriving them. Here are some facts to help you with understanding how important a change is:
a. Your children’s potential cannot be met if they are sitting on the couch playing video games. Cross lateral activity is required in order to build the dendrites in the brain necessary for higher level thinking.
b. Are your children tired? Actually, more exercise is the answer for that too. Amazingly enough, more exercise creates more energy.
c. Food has become way more than “fuel for your body”. Because of the advertising children are bombarded with, it is implied that eating certain foods can make them desirable and beautiful. Rarely are truly healthy foods advertised. Some time ago, there were ads for Broccoli Woccli; but, other than that, not much of a healthy nature is advertised and those ads ended a while back.
d. Obesity, and other lifestyle results, are at an all time high in America
e. Old age diseases are now youngsters’ diseases (gall bladder, type II diabetes, etc.)
f. This is the first generation that will die before their parents because of the poor lifestyle choices being made.
g. There are loads of other facts but these few will suffice for now
2. Food is fuel for the body. To put food back in the “fuel” category, some changes in your own lifestyle may need to be made. You are your children’s most important role model for eating! If you want them to eat healthier, you will, necessarily, have to eat healthier. It cannot feel to your children that you are two faced or that they are being punished somehow!
3. Remember, imposing strict control may or may not work in the short term but the long term results you are looking for won’t be accomplished by you being in control of your children’s eating (unless they are very young). Your children are away from you in increasing amounts of time as they grow and what choices will they make when you aren’t standing over them with your baseball bat?
4. Instead, as you begin, it’s best to sit down with your children and discuss their relationship with food. How do they feel about food and eating in a healthy manner? Why would it be good to change the way they eat, and how can that be done? What are the long term results if they continue eating in the current way?
5. You need to be a bit of a psychologist here and help your children to develop some intrinsic motivation about making the change to a healthier lifestyle. Your enthusiasm (developed from the information you found out) will help their intrinsic motivation.
6. One thing to mention while talking with your children is the fact that the media has done an incredible job of confusing us about what “healthy eating” looks like! And, also remember that anything seen on any type of media is “advertising”. That means it’s designed to SELL something, the perpetrator (that’s not a mistake in words!) is not interested in anyone’s health, they are SELLING something!
7. Be discerning as you discuss the advertisements you see on the media with your children. Be aware of words in the advertisements designed to make you think the product is healthy (because that seems to be popular right now).
8. Or, words to make you think that “studies” means the same thing as “scientific studies”. Many studies are funded by the very people who have the product for sale…..can you trust a study like that?
9. Set goals for the month, week and day. Your children need to be very involved in this part of the process.
10. Going backwards (month to day), instead of forwards helps your children to break down the big goals into manageable pieces.
11. Then plan, with your children, what baby steps will help them reach those goals. By starting with baby steps, the chance for failure lessens and the chance for success increases.
12. Don’t give in to the whining for unhealthy foods, even once, or you start at below zero, not just back at zero.
13. Think of some concrete ways to help your children become invested in their health. Rewards are just fine (don’t listen to your mother’s voice about bribery being wrong, we are all “bribed” by being paid for our jobs, is that wrong?)
14. However, NEVER reward with food! This is counter productive to a healthy choice lifestyle. Depending on your children’s personalities, rewards can be as subtle as “you made a good choice!” to as concrete as “you can choose…(whatever might motivate them)….as soon as you have lost 5 pounds”.
15. A healthy lifestyle is about choices, it isn’t about deprivation
16. How do you change “what you know” to “what you do”? One step at a time.
17. I do a “kitchen frenzy” to help people clean out their cupboards of the processed foods. It takes about an hour and I charge $100. I go through all your cupboards and put into garbage bags anything that is processed or contains such things as high fructose corn syrup (it’s in most breads and catsups), hydrogenated oils (in most crackers) and preservatives (in most everything processed).
18. If you aren’t ready to get rid of it in an hour, how about “one step at a time”?
19. This is my philosophy: Every step in the right direction is a step in the right direction. And, even baby steps count.
20. After the kitchen frenzy, have only healthy choices in your house. Have a fruit bowl on your table or counter. Make sure that the fruits are beautiful and varied and encourage your children to eat freely.
21. And, have the veggies cut up and in the fridge or in a Chilzane platter on the table.
22. I slice and dice every weekend so that it’s easy and convenient to make healthy choices during the week.
23. Never limit their choices of the healthy items! Eventually, they will eat less because their bodies will begin to adjust to eating healthier. At that point, your food bill will go down. Processed foods actually cost more because of the long term effects!
24. Organic is best but whether or not the foods are organic, always be sure to wash them with a fruit and vegetable rinse before putting them out so that your children can “grab and go”. I have a saying: “if it’s in the fridge, it’s been washed so it’s ready to eat.” Your health is worth the little extra time to wash the fruits and vegetables so that they are ready.
25. I have small amounts of diced carrots, sliced red bell peppers, grape tomatoes, cauliflower, etc. in little containers. Then I have a larger container of spinach and in the morning I put it all into my lunch pail. Remember “Bread and Jam for Francis”? Remember all the little containers the other one had? There’s something about taking all those containers and making the salad that is very satisfying. As I put it together at lunch time, people always tell me “That looks so good”.
26. I have a cookbook that has some healthy recipes in it. You can order the cookbook from me and I’ll mail it to you. Because it was done as a fund raiser for my school, parents contributed recipes and some of them had a fuzzy idea about “healthy” but all of the ones that have my name on them are healthy.

If you would be interested in my help with your children, just give me a call or email me!

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