We are glad to meet you and hope that we can help you meet your goals for having a healthy lifestyle with eating habits, exercise, and family fun and support. We meet with hundreds of families every year who want to make some positive changes in their lifestyle. It is hard work, but we are here to support you and to make sure that the changes you are trying to make are right for your family.
Healthy lifestyle changes will hopefully help your body be healthier, which may mean you will have a better BMI. But we do not focus on weight or weight management in this clinic. Why? Because your weight is something you only sort of have control over. Instead, you do have control over things like what you eat, how active you are, and how you work together as a family. We can only change the things we can control.
During your first appointment
- You will meet with the Healthy Lifestyles team
- You will create a couple of goals to start making healthy changes in your family’s lifestyle
For future appointments
You have some options for scheduling future appointments.
- Usually, we see families every three months. At three-month appointments, you will check in with each team member for 15 to 30 minutes. They will check how things are going with your goals and help you create new goals if you are ready for them.
- You can also schedule a “check in” appointment sooner with just one or two of your team members. You might check in after four to six weeks to see how your goals are going and get help with any barriers to your goals.
Who is on my team?
Pediatrics: The pediatrician’s job is to take a look at your physical health and give you guidance in keeping track of how your body’s health is improving or getting worse. The doctor will do things like talk to you about your height, weight and BMI. The doctor will also look at your blood work and look for things like signs of diabetes or heart problems.
Physical therapy: The physical therapist will look at your muscles and bones to check on your strength, flexibility and endurance. That way they can help with any pain you might be having and help you create ideas for exercise that will be fun for you, possible for you, and help you achieve your exercise goals.
Dietitian: The dietitian will talk with you about what you eat every day. The dietitian will help you think of ways to make small changes in what you eat to make your diet healthier. Dietitians don’t want to take away your favorite foods. They do want to make sure that you (1) know what is in the food you choose to eat and (2) find ways to change just a couple of things each day so you have more energy and your body is healthier.
Behavior specialist: The psychologist on the team is a specialist in changing behaviors and making new habits. This person will help you take your goals and figure out how to make them happen. The psychologist will also help you figure out some common things that might get in the way of achieving your goals, such as behavior management, trouble with your mood or finding supports in your family and friends.
What is a healthy lifestyle?
Your lifestyle is how you live every day. A healthy lifestyle is making choices that are good for your body and mind. These are the choices you make about:
- What you eat
- What you do for activity/exercise
- When you sleep
- Who you spend your time with
- What you do for fun.
What kind of goals will I be setting?
First, we want to help you set the goals that you want to set. We know that you are more likely to reach your goals if you are invested in them and believe that you can actually do them. Here are some other important points about goals that actually work:
Specific: Specific goals say exactly what you are going to do, how often, and how much. For example, “I am going to exercise more,” is not specific enough. Instead, “I am going to walk to get more exercise,” is a great and specific goal.
Measurable: Goals work best when you can measure them. “I am going to walk more,” is a good goal, but let’s make it something you can measure. “I am going to walk for 20 minutes, four times each week,” is something you can count.
Attainable: It is really important that you set goals that you can accomplish. These may seem really small at first, and that’s fine. It would be better to say you will walk just one time each week and actually do it than to say you will every day and not do it.
Relevant: Your goals should be important to you. It is great to have good ideas from a doctor or team member, but if you aren’t invested, you won’t do it.
Timely: Are you ready for change? Is this a good time? Really, there is no good time to make changes, but if you are not ready to actually make changes, you might still be in the thinking stage. If you are still just thinking about change and want to move into the doing stage, ask your team how to move forward.
Why is a healthy lifestyle important?
I bet you have some goals for yourself for why a healthy lifestyle might be important. Maybe you want to be a stronger athlete and play sports. Maybe you want to avoid getting diabetes like another family member. Or maybe you have been inspired by someone you know or who is famous, like a sports star or movie star.
As part of your medical team, we also think it is important to know that having an unhealthy lifestyle can be really bad for your body. But changing to a healthy lifestyle can help prevent bad effects like diabetes, heart problems, obesity, asthma and breathing problems, sleeping problems, and pain in your joints.
What is BMI?
BMI stands for Body Mass Index. It is the ratio of your height and weight. We look at height and weight together because they go together. For example, a boy who is really tall should weigh more than a boy who is not as tall.
We use a percentile number for BMI in children just like we do for height and weight. A healthy BMI percentile for kids is between 5 percent and 85 percent. For further discussion about BMI, please visit the Centers for Disease Control website.