Small Steps to Slim by Ashvini Mashru, MA, RD, LDN is not a book I would normally be drawn too.
I am already slim, slim to the point of people often wondering (sometimes out loud), if I have some sort of eating disorder. Mull that over for a minute. An eating disorder, which google defines as – “any of a range of psychological disorders characterized by abnormal or disturbed eating habits (such as anorexia nervosa).” Probably the opposite experience of someone telling you your child with a true feeding issue is ‘just a picky eater’. People can be jerks.
Said ‘people’ have actually asked me if, due solely to my thinness, I have an eating disorder. This made me hesitant to acknowledge that I read a book about becoming slim. What were people going to think now???
I did read it, and I loved it. It is not a diet book, or particularly about becoming slim, although that is the pretense – it’s a wonderful guidebook toward reaching your goals. Its principles are applicable to many life situations.
Perhaps I should use it as a way to develop a plan for managing rude people. But, I digress.
Ashvini’s website explains that she “… is an award winning Registered Dietitian and a professional Health and Wellness Coach who has over 12 years of experience in helping individuals achieve healthy lifestyles.” I’m happy to call Ashvini a friend and fellow business owner. She has been a pleasure to know and work with, and I am thrilled to incorporate the lessons of her book into this blog post and my work with clients.
You’ll have to read the book for a full explanation of these steps in regards to lifestyle management for weight loss, but here are some basic examples of how I would apply Ashvini’s lessons to managing a child’s feeding issues, and making any goal attainable.
Step 1 Commit to the Journey
- A goal is nothing without commitment to seeing it through. If you desperately want eating to be different for your child, commit yourself to finding the medical, behavioral, and developmental answers and mealtime management techniques needed to make that happen.
Step 2 Pinpoint a Final Destination
- Think about what makes mealtimes challenging for your child RIGHT NOW. Then, consider what you want mealtimes look like with/for your child when you’ve achieved your goal. Commit that goal to memory, and commit yourself to getting there.
Step 3 Choose one Small Navigational Change
- What’s that they say about Rome not being conquered in a day? Long standing feeding issues will not improve or change overnight. Before reaching that ideal experience of eating, many smaller goals must be identified and achieved. For example – if your child will not sit at the table for mealtimes, getting them to eat will be a challenge. If your end goal is to have your child eating a few new foods, your first goal might be getting them to come cooperatively to the table.
Step 4 Break up the Driving
- Break up each goal into smaller goals. For instance, if your first goal is to get your child to stay at the table during mealtimes, consider using a seatbelt or scarf to remind them to stay in their seat, or for an older child, consider an incentive chart for sitting at the table x number of times during a week.
Step 5 Plan your Route
- Take the time to think about your plan of attack. You could try a bunch of different tactics to see what works and you might have to, but it is helpful to have an idea of what you are going to do and how you are going to do it.
Step 6 Expect Bumps
- Your child is not on board for your plan. Just know it, accept it, and plan for it! Neither is grandma, the waiter at the restaurant, or the lunch lady at school. You will encounter obstacles while attempting to achieve your goals for your child’s eating behavior. Anticipate them, plan for them, and be ready to meet them head on.
Step 7 Recruit a Pit Crew
- Feeding challenges are stressful, anxiety producing, and hard for ‘outsiders’ to understand. However, you need support to be successful when attempting to change how your child experiences mealtimes. Identify people in your network – family, friends, medical professionals – who will support you in your goals for your child, listen to you, and help you stay motivated.
Step 8 Stay on Course
- Don’t get discouraged by setbacks, keep your eye on the prize, and weigh the cost/benefits of what you are doing. Remember, your ultimate goal is to get to happier and more satisfying mealtimes for your child and you – that’s worth the hard work!
Step 9 Refuel
- Take a step back and look at how far you’ve come. Identify actions that are helping you to achieve your goals, and things that may not be working. Adjust your behavior as necessary, and re-evaluate your end goal.
Step 10 Focus on How Far You’ve Gone
- Give yourself, and your supporters, and most importantly, your child a pat on the back for doing such hard work!
For another great perspective on goal attainment, head on over to my fellow bizzy mama Karen Cooley‘s photography page, and check out what she has to say!
For help creating your own action plan for managing mealtimes with a child who has feeding issues, contact me today at Kquinn@toddlersandtomatoes.com