At this past Camp Treasure, one camper asked, "How do I stop my family member from eating too much?" When someone you are caring for doesn't do what he/she is supposed to do, even something like eating the wrong foods, it can make you feel horrible.
Suppose it is your dad. You may think that, "He cares more about himself than he does about me" because of your love and concern for both him and for yourself. Eating behaviors are complicated and sometimes food becomes a source of satisfaction or even rebellion in addition to being fuel for the body.
Unless you are directly feeding someone and he/she is an adult, changing another person's habit is something that, although we wish there was a quick and easy fix, the motivation to change must come from within that person.
Eating too much and carrying around extra weight can be damaging to a person's body including their joints. The American Diabetes Association, states that overeating of any food, not just sugar, is the biggest diet related risk factor for Type 2 diabetes!
So how can you help someone tune into their body and make better food choices for the long-term? Let's say it is your dad. You can start by letting him know how much you love him and how concerned you are about his health. Use the "I" words, not a tone of accusation. For example, say "I feel worried when you eat too much" rather than something accusatory such as, "Stop it! You are eating too much!"
Using portion control is another way to help someone eat less. Instead of eating family style where the food is in front of everyone making it easy to have a second helping, serving a plate directly from the stove reduces food intake. Using a smaller plate can also help.
Celebrate the small accomplishments with your loved one. Use a scale and record weight on a regular basis so that progress toward a goal can be measured. Remember change is hard and doesn't have to happen "cold turkey" all at once. Being there unconditionally is important!
If you would like to discuss your options with a CYP team member or other trusted adult, feel free to call the CYP office (561.391.7401). We at CYP want to work together with you and with your family to help you all be the healthiest you can be!