Video on Four Ways to Change Eating Habits
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SPEAKER 1Yeah. If you put water in their pot, and we'll get that going.
SPEAKER 2How much over the carrots?
SPEAKER 1About an inch of the carrots. OK?
SPEAKER 1Good job.
DAVID LUDWIGThe key to parenting at any age, especially in adolescence, is to shift from these coercive behavioral change strategies to more constructive strategies. Modeling, which is most powerful in childhood, also still applies to some degree in adolescence.
SPEAKER 1I know most people don't like brussels sprouts, but we love brussels sprouts.
SPEAKER 2Especially the way mom and dad do it.
DAVID LUDWIGWe can show our children what it's like to not just eat and appreciate good food, but how to pay attention to when we're full and then stop eating. Another key practice is what we call protecting the home environment.
SPEAKER 1We've made some changes in what we keep in our freezer, as well. At one point, this was totally full of ice cream.
SPEAKER 2Mostly chocolate ice cream.
SPEAKER 1So our freezer has changed a lot.
DAVID LUDWIGAnd that, simply put, if it doesn't support health, don't bring it in the home. It doesn't mean that you can't have sweets and treats once in a while, go out for an ice cream and make it a celebration. But you can say no to your child once when she's asking for that gallon of ice cream in the supermarket or you can try to say no every night if she's begging you for it when it's sitting in the freezer. So we can absolutely take control of the home, even in adolescence. And it's the parents responsibility to say what can and can't come in the home. And then a variety of other constructive behavior change practices, such as rewards, small, non-monetary rewards for accomplishing goals along the way to a long term goal. So a teenager, for example, who goes a month without fast food might get a CD or taken to a movie or some special time with the parent. In addition to rewards, monitoring can be a very powerful behavior change method. Working with your teenager to keep track in a non-judgmental way about the child's behaviors.
SPEAKER 1So where'd you guys go? You went to the movies.
DAVID LUDWIGJust paying attention to behavior CAN oftentimes raise consciousness and self-awareness, leading to natural lifestyle changes. It's remarkable how often we can eat an unhealthy food or engage in an unhealthy lifestyle practice and not be aware of it. So non-judgementally mentally bringing attention, such as by just noting on a calendar, how many times we're having fast food or are spending days without activity. Or conversely, how many times we are getting active, having fruits and vegetables, or accomplishing other goals can promote healthy lifestyle change.
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