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When your Child is Concerned about their Weight

We often see people at the end of the year thinking about resolutions and making promises to do an act of self-improvement. The two most common resolutions are improving physical and mental well-being which involves losing weight, exercising, thinking positive and enjoying life. Based on studies of past resolutions, many people do not keep their promises because they try to make many changes at a time, especially during a season of high social obligations and exposure to food. If your child's goal is to reach a healthy weight, you can help your child plan on starting now instead of waiting for the holidays or the new year. Here are some steps your family can take to be successful on this commitment:

1. Follow a healthy meal plan instead of dieting. If you or your child are looking for a better weight you need to have an individualized meal plan that will provide the necessary nutrients to normalize the metabolism and eliminate excess nutrients. Dieting only brings deprivation which leads to people re- gaining weight.

2. Exercise will also help you improve your weight and health status. The recommendation for most people is to aim for 30-60 minutes per day of physical activity. Start small! Perhaps you can take 20 minute walks around the neighborhood or take a fun swim at least 3 times a week. this will help you work together towards a healthy goal and make the changes as a family taking the focus away from one family member.

3. Get connected with feelings. Most people believe that eating does not involve feelings. However, eating has been associated with a number of feelings. Do you use food to celebrate happy moments? Or when you feel stressed, frustrated, or when things do not go as expected? Building up a new and healthy relationship with food will help you connect with physical feelings of hunger and fullness. Make time to do regular check in with family members. This will help you feel connected and know what's happening in each others' lives!

4. Ask for support. Having all the family involved in the process of recovery or working together toward making meaningful lifestyle changes can bring the family together and serve as platform for connection and growth. A good supportive treatment team can also be an important part of the recovery process. It should include a nutritionist and a therapist with experience on eating disorders who will have a good understanding about your specific situation.

5. Reward often. Do something together that will make your family feel good such as taking a walk in nature, having a picnic, going to the movies, playing a board game. This helps decrease tension connected to food and negative body image and increase connection.

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