How To Defeat The Excuses Your Overweight Child/Teen Makes For Being Overweight, Failing To Exercise, Snacking Too Much, And Other Problematic Eating Habits
At some point when your overweight child/teenager is in a good mood and willing to talk with you (this could take a while to get to this point), review with your child the table below. You can introduce this table by saying, “Sometimes all of us make excuses for failing to do important things in our lives. I know I have done that. I thought it might be helpful for you and I to review a bunch of excuses about eating and weight problems. As we review these excuses, we’ll also take a look at ways of countering or arguing with ourselves about these excuses.”
The idea behind this exercise is that research has shown that anticipating excuses may be the single best way of defeating them. That is, if you can get your child or teenager to understand the inadequacy and circularity of some of their excuses, those excuses will be less effective at keeping them from reaching important goals in their lives.
|Content Area||Negative Thoughts||Positive Counterthoughts|
|Being overweight and losing weight||I look terrible. I will never be able to lose all this weight.||I've got to begin somewhere. It won't hurt to try.|
|I an never lose enough weight to look decent.||I know other people have been successful in losing weight so why can't I? I'm losing weight slowly and steadily. Certainly if I Keep this up, over the next 6 months I will lose at least 25 lbs or more.|
|I'm as big as a house.||Who wouldn't be if they ate like me and were as inactive as I am? Besides, houses are built to suit their owners. They can be modified to fit their owners. And that's what I'm doing.|
|Exercise||I've really had a busy day and I am just wiped out. I don't need to exercise because I burned up a lot of calories running around the office all day.||If I add the calories that I burn up from exercising it will be just that much more. Exercising always gives me a lift.|
|Extra Snacking||It's impossible for me to resist this (e.g., a cookie) for they are my favorites||I'm not on a diet and can eat the things I like. But if I eat this now, it will be an extra snack. Am I really saying that I have no control over what I do? I can resist eating anything I want to.|
|Eating Habits||Eating like this is awkward. In fact, it's almost stupid.||It sure is nice to taste and enjoy food for a change. I didn't know what I was missing when I was shoveling it in.|
Dr. Daniel Kirschenbaum is a professor at Northwestern University, Clinical Director of Wellspring, and author of "The Nine Truths About Weight Loss" and "Weight Loss through Persistence."