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episode #322

Interview with Dr. Sheila Carroll: Being a Role Model for Your Kids, and How to Make Parenting Around Food Less Hard!

January 15, 2024 in Podcast


This week I interviewed board-certified pediatrician and obesity medicine physician Dr. Sheila Carroll!

Dr. Carroll is dedicated to helping children achieve their best health by working exclusively with parents who are willing to focus on modifying their own behaviors to ultimately improve their child's health.

In this episode, we discussed how to incorporate healthy habits for your kids along with:

  • Allowing your kids to be bored from time to time
  • Helping kids eat single ingredient foods
  • Importance of cooking with your kids
and much much more!

Brian (0s):

Coming up on the GET, LEAN Eat, Clean Podcast.

Sheila (4s):

I think you know, my best advice to parents is to become the role model that you want your child to see. And I know everybody says that, and But it is the way, it is the way to help your child. If you have a child who's struggling with weight, then before you start to change anything for your child, I recommend just spending a few weeks, a few months if you need to on yourself first. Okay? How am I as the mom or the dad? How am I eating?

Sheila (44s):

Okay? How am I, how is my kids seeing me eat? How, how am I sleeping? How am I moving my body? How am I managing my stress and managing my emotions? And then when you can kind of get a sense of sense what you're doing for yourself, and change what you need or want to change to show up for the way that you're, you want your child to see you, that without even mentioning anything to your child, that in and of itself will benefit your child.

Brian (1m 16s):

Hello, and welcome to the Get Lean Eat Clean podcast. I'm Brian Gryn, and I'm here to give you actionable tips to get your body back to what it once was, five, 10, even 15 years ago. Each week, I'll give you an in depth interview with a health expert from around the world to cut through the fluff and get you long term sustainable results. This week I interviewed bore certified pediatrician and obesity medicine physician Dr. Sheila Carroll. Dr. Carroll is dedicated to helping children achieve their best health by working exclusively with parents who are willing to focus on modifying their own behaviors to ultimately improve their child's health. we discussed how to incorporate healthy habits for your kids, along with Allowing your kids to be bored from time to time, Helping kids eat single ingredient foods, the importance of cooking with your kidsand.

Brian (2m 5s):

Much, much more. Really enjoyed my Interview with Dr Sheila. I know you will too. Thanks so much for listening and enjoy the show. Enjoy All, right, Welcome to the Get Lean Eat Clean podcast. My name is Brian Gryn. And I have Dr. Sheila Caron, welcome to the show.

Sheila (2m 21s):

Thank you so much. Excited to be here.

Brian (2m 23s):

Yeah, thanks for coming on board certified pediatrician and obesity medicine physician and helping children find their best health. And so what sort of led you down this path?

Sheila (2m 37s):

Well, two things. I have a personal story of struggling with weight, carrying extra weight since I was a kid. And then for my adult life. And as a career, I became a pediatrician. So trying to help kids. And I just combined those two interests and thinking, you know, for our kids, we, we want the best for them, obviously, every single parent, and we want 'em to be able to do whatever they want. But I'm se you know, I'm seeing kids be limited in a lot of ways from their health sometimes. Hmm. And from their weight specifically.

Sheila (3m 18s):

But also it's lifestyle. It's a lot of lifestyle choices, like poor sleep, not getting enough sleep, So, they're not as awake in school, they're not as active as they could be. So I, combining my interest in helping kids. And then my 20, I was a pediatrician for 23 years, and I, and the medical system today is set up so that people bring their kids to the doctor. If their kids are having a, like a, like a problem with their weight, with anxiety, with depression and, and So, we spent as the doctors, we spend time talking to the kids, which is helpful in a, in a certain regard.

Sheila (4m 2s):

But a more helpful approach I have found over time is talking to the parents directly, frankly, without even the kids there, so that parents can express and talk about their concerns. And the, and the doctor can really be frank and talk about what is going to best help the child and that. And so that's what I've pivoted away from like regular clinical care and a regular pediatric office, to really helping parents make the changes that they want to make to live a healthier lifestyle for themselves and their kids.

Brian (4m 39s):

Yeah. And I was gonna say, do you find that the kids that are having the issues, really, is it coming down to the, the parents not having healthy habits that the kids sort of will follow? And and how do you sort of navigate that?

Sheila (4m 57s):

Yeah, it can be sometimes parents are doing really healthy things for themselves, but then they have the, they might have the belief like, oh, they're just kids. They should eat. They should get to eat cereal. They should get to eat this sugary stuff they should get to, you know? And so sometimes, because it's, we're so, our culture, our modern culture is so, and the mar heavy marketing that goes to kidsand to parents, like, this is how you should feed your kid orange juice for breakfast. All, you know, all of this stuff that turns out to be not very healthy for kids. So sometimes the parents, sometimes parents are super healthy for themselves, but they just don't have the belief that their child could eat the same way that they do or have the same lifestyle that they do.

Sheila (5m 43s):

And then sometimes parents need a little bit of time to themselves on working on themselves first to make the changes that they wanna make for themselves. And I, I love helping people do that because when you can kind of see at times when parents make some lifestyle changes for themselves, and then they start to feel better and they're like, oh my goodness, I didn't realize I felt bad in the first place. But Now, I feel so much better, then you can see like, they're like, oh, and my child needs this too. I'm gonna do this for my child too. Hmm. And so that's, that's a really wonderful approach as well.

Brian (6m 24s):

And, what would you say, I mean, you've been practicing for a while, the, the role that social media and phones, I mean, kids are probably getting phones earlier and earlier now than ever. What type of role does this play?

Sheila (6m 39s):

Well, it's, it's interesting. I think that phones, I, I kind of have this thing where highly processed foods, these ultra processed foods that were, that our kids are eating. I think the latest status is somewhere about 70% of the average American child, their entire diet is se is highly processed foods. 70%.

Brian (7m 5s):

That sounds about right.

Sheila (7m 6s):

I mean, that's, yeah. Really alarming and very disturbing. And that that's what we need to change. That's what we parents need to change. But the highly processed foods and the cell phones and the social media and the screens, they're kind of affecting our, well, all of our brains, but especially our kids' brains in the same way. The same way that the highly processed food with the added sugars and the, you know, the salt and the Fat is giving you this huge, like, dopamine hit. And it, what that does is it's teaching your brain, oh, that was good. That felt good. Do that again. And So, we learn that way. And this is what the cell phones are doing for us as well.

Sheila (7m 49s):

You, you know, you scroll and you, it feels good and you scroll and it's the same exact, it's the same exact phenomenon. And so what I like to try to help parents understand is that our, we are very ancient species. We've, we evolved very slowly over, you know, millennia and the highly processed food. The, the modern food culture, the modern food that we have available to us has really been around in the past, you know, fifty, sixty, seventy years. And phones even less. Right? I remember when I got my first iPhone and So, we, our brains were our brains and our human bodies were not evolved to really know how to handle these things.

Sheila (8m 41s):

So this is the work, this is the work that we need to do. Okay? How do I live in a very modern culture with this very modern food and these very modern conveniences, which we love and which help us and are benefit us so much, but understanding my ancient human body. How, how, how can I, how can I make these two things go together and take the best of the modern world, understanding what we need to do to stay healthy? 'cause the problem is when we're consuming all of these highly processed foods, and then we're consuming all of this screen time, we're getting sick from that.

Sheila (9m 23s):

Yeah. And we're seeing that, you know,

Brian (9m 26s):

And also too, I don't know if you see this like with kids, I don't know if kids, myself, not yet, but they don't know what it's like to be bored. Is that something that you work with, with the kids or just talking with the parents regarding that?

Sheila (9m 42s):

Yes, for sure. Yeah. I have a 12-year-old son and he's, he does not like to be bored at all. And in today's world, almost nobody is born. I just went to the grocery store. Everybody in the grocery store line is on their phone. Yeah. So

Brian (9m 59s):

Getting this stimulation, you see it in the gym. Yeah. The gym. Like the kids, even adults are on their phones the whole time. Yeah. Between sets, no. Socializing, you know, nothing or Yeah. Interacting.

Sheila (10m 12s):

I know. Yep. Yep. And so, you know, a lot of habits co we don't like that feeling of boredom. Right. And So, we do stuff to avoid that feeling. So overeating, you know, or eating, oh, I'm, you know, I'm bored. Oh, I'll go eat something that's called emotional eating, you know, or the scrolling, it's anything overing over, over shopping, over watching tv, you know, even over exercising, if you really go for some people, you know, if, if people don't like boredom, So, they wanna do something to get away from it.

Sheila (10m 52s):

So what's the solution there? Teaching yourself first as the grownup so that you then you can teach your kid to recognize that feeling of boredom and just become aware, oh, I'm feeling bored. And then to be willing to actually feel it. Right. And then realize like, oh, okay, this is boredom. I don't need to go eat something. I don't need to drink something. I don't need to use my phone. Oh, okay. This is boredom.

Brian (11m 20s):

Yeah. And, you know, I, my nieces and nephews for a while, not, well, they're still going, but you know, they'll go to overnight camps for like this big, in our area for like four weeks or eight weeks. Oh wow. Yeah. And I think the nice thing with that is they can't bring their phones with them. Yeah. And I just think like more of that should be going on. I'm not sure what it's like in the schools, but I'm sure, you know, kids are on their phones a lot during school, whether they're allowed to or not. But like, things like overnight camp where you don't have your cell phone and you actually just are outside and playing like we used to do. I think, you know, that's,

Sheila (11m 57s):

Have you asked your, have you asked your nieces and nephews if they liked that break from the phone?

Brian (12m 4s):

I do. Re I, you know, it's been a little bit, but I, I, I did, I remember asking them, you know, what, you know, if they missed their phones and I don't, I think it probably, probably initially yes. But it's like anything, when you're away from something for so long, you don't rely on it as much. And they probably just sort of realize that that's the thing. If, if it's not there and then, you know, they're not gonna use it. It's like if you don't buy it, you're not gonna eat it sort of

Sheila (12m 30s):

Thing. Yeah. So I wish the, I wish up. I live up here in Main and there's a lot of overnight camps for Kidsand. Yeah. East

Brian (12m 37s):


Sheila (12m 38s):

Yeah. I think it would be such a Gryn. And a lot of them obviously are cell phone free. And then I wish they would all go highly processed food free. Oh, that would be such a bonus. Like what an experience for kids to have that, to have, you know, screen free and highly processed, food free.

Brian (12m 58s):

What would you say the reasoning, I mean, obviously processed foods are everywhere, you know, and does a child, what is a way for a parent to, you know, introduce normal foods, like single ingredient foods into their kid's life, And, you know, while also Allowing the kid to indulge from time to time and finding that sort of, that balance,

Sheila (13m 20s):

Right? Yeah. There's the, the way to do it is for the, the parents to just get very committed to this is how our family is going to eat. And, and I think that, that, that will would come if people truly understood that highly processed foods are, are actually harmful for us. They're not even neutral. They're, they're not even like, oh, okay, well maybe I could make a better choice. They're actually like, harming us and harming our kids. And, and I, I know I didn't know that for a long time, even as a doctor.

Sheila (14m 2s):

And certainly we certainly aren't taught that in medical school. It wasn't until I really, you know, took a, a personal interest. I had my own child and then I was struggling with my own weight and issues. And then I really took a deep dive into nutrition and our food system. And I just think most parents don't know that. And there's so many things and, and I don't think even physicians completely, none of us completely understand what all of these things that are, are doing to our bodies. For example, you take something that has, you know, emulsifiers, artificial dyes.

Sheila (14m 45s):

Sure. And they, they affect our body in different ways. And, and the scientists are still trying to figure out, they're still trying to elucidate why or how these things are negatively affecting us. And, but the message that I give is that parents, if parents can work on the belief that it's entirely possible for my child to eat real food. 'cause I think sometimes parents struggle to even really truly believe that, you know? But what once you do there is a wonderful tool I share with families called the Division of Responsibility.

Sheila (15m 28s):

It was created by a nutritionist and a family therapist named Ellen Satter. And it breaks down the responsibilities of feeding a child. And you can even extend it to teenagers. And it, the parents' responsibility is deciding what foods are going to be offered and then also what foods are gonna be offered when and where. And then the child's responsibility is to decide if they're going to eat what food is being offered and how much of that. And so that really shifts the onus of healthy nutrition onto the parent where it belongs, in my opinion.

Sheila (16m 15s):

Because if we are buying stuff soda or I don't know, cook, you know, all the things, cookies, donuts at home. Yeah. If I buy something like that, if I buy cookies at home, then, then I've basically, I know it. I've allow then I'm Allowing my son to have those. You're giving

Brian (16m 34s):

Him permission, just the fact that you bought it. Yeah, giving him permission.

Sheila (16m 37s):

Exactly. Exactly. So, and then every parent can decide where they wanna fall in that, you know, in that, in that regard. Yeah. And yeah, I think it's just working on the belief that your kid can actually do it. And then I think understanding, understanding why our kids really like processed food. Why do they like it? Okay. Well, there's a lot of reasons. It tastes good. It's made in a lab. It's supposed to taste like that. It tastes the same every single time. You buy a chicken nugget, it's got the same, the same if you buy the same brand, it's the same consistency. So there, there And, you know, it's triggering this, you know, chemical release in your, in their kid's brain.

Sheila (17m 24s):

And so understanding our kids, we, we humans are wired to like sweet things. I think that, you know, I forget what it is, it's close to 70% I think of foods. Every food that's in the grocery store, packaged food in the grocery store has added sugar. Even if you don't know, even if it's a savory food, like, you know, barbecue sauce or spaghetti sauce. If you start to really look at the back, back of packages, all of so many of processed foods that, that have added sugars and those are added, you know, well to, in, to improve the taste, number one. But also people know that sugar is addictive and they keep you, keep you buying it.

Sheila (18m 9s):

So under, for us parents, it's completely, I completely understand why my son wants to eat Doritos. Of course, of course. He wants to eat those. you know, then it's my job as the adult in the room to say, yes, I know you want to eat those, but they're actually harming you. And we can have a few of them here and there. Sure. But not all the time.

Brian (18m 33s):

Yeah. As you were talking, I thought of a few things. Well, one, when you said the chicken nuggets, and I think that one way And, you know, for, I don't know, kids or even teenagers to, to maybe sway them away from certain foods is to show them how they're actually made. Because I remember it, it was, it might've gone viral for a while. I haven't seen it, but like how, I think they showed how a chicken nugget was made with like, that it looked like slime was coming out of, I don't know if you know what I'm talking about, But. it was, yeah.

Sheila (19m 7s):

Yeah. Pink slime I think or something. Pink

Brian (19m 9s):

Slime was coming out. It was like a, you know, in a factory. I know. And this was the, the making of it. So I don't know, that could be one way of, I feel like if you show someone how something's really being made that might sway, you know, that might be good for like the teenagers maybe to watch. Yeah.

Sheila (19m 26s):

And the other thing teenagers really respond to is, and all kids really respond to, they don't like to be fooled. They don't like to be tricked. And if they feel that the food companies are tricking them, manipulating them, they're like, no, you know, they don't want any part of that. And so if you can explain to your teenager or your kid that, you know, these, they've, they're making these foods not for your health. They're, they're making food to make money. And So, we need to figure out what, you know, what foods are good for your health. And, you know, and taste good for you and that you'll like. But when a teenager realizes, oh, they're adding sugar to this, or Oh, they're adding these chemicals to this, you know, lots of teenagers are like, oh, I don't wanna support that.

Brian (20m 18s):

And also too, of what I, I wrote down what I was thinking when you were talking, is cooking with kids, is this something that you en Oh, encourage his parents.

Sheila (20m 29s):

This is the best gift you can give your child. There's a, one of this guy, Dr. Robert Lustig, he's written some really great books. Yeah.

Brian (20m 40s):

I've had him on, actually

Sheila (20m 42s):

You what? You had him?

Brian (20m 42s):

I've had him on my, I've had him on. Oh wow.

Sheila (20m 44s):

Awesome. I I love that guy. Yeah. And, but he said, I am gonna just paraphrase him 'cause I don't have the exact quote. Yeah. But if you don't learn to cook, you are pro, you are hostage to the processed food industry for the rest of your life. And so for parents, teaching your kid how to cook is an amazing gift. And it, it doesn't have to be like incredible, you know, French, whatever, cooking. Yeah,

Brian (21m 10s):

No, just

Sheila (21m 11s):

Basic life skills, basic cooking. And that is a, that is such a healthy, healthy thing to do. And,

Brian (21m 19s):

And even if you're cooking things that might be sort of sweets, right? Like homemade cookies or even homemade ice cream Right. Is a lot healthier than store-bought. I agree. For the most, for the most part. I mean, obviously, but you're controlling what's going in it. Yeah. And I think that might not, that might be you sort of a good balance where you're, you're Allowing them to have this, but you know, you're actually working to working to have it.

Sheila (21m 45s):

Right. Right. Yes. And, you know, that's what we really want. We want kids, we want for ourselves, and we want our kids to have a healthy relationship with food. And that doesn't mean never eating something or completely giving something up. It means understanding, you know, the food, the food system, how food works in your body, and also how your body feels when you're, when you eat certain foods. Yeah.

Brian (22m 13s):

And another thing I was just thinking about was like, especially as, you know, become a teenagers, if you're, if you start to become active, I, obviously it's, I think it's important for kids that, you know, not that they have to be lifting weights in a gym, but if they start to be active and realize that in order for me to perform whatever it is a sport or, you know, running or whatever they do, they'll start to realize how food can really affect how they perform. Whether, you know, it's on the field or in the weight room or whatever. It's, and I think getting them started Yeah.

Sheila (22m 47s):

Or in the classroom or in orchestra. True. Or in drama. I mean, the truth is, our food affects everything. Because everything, every neuro hormone, every chemical, every cell in our body is made from the food that we eat. And more and more, you know, data is coming out showing highly processed foods linked to anxiety, depression, yes. Performance for sure. But really just, you know, being able to live the life you want, you'd be doing yourself a favor by eating real food.

Brian (23m 25s):

Yeah. And, what, what would you call a parent? Like nowadays with Instagram and social media, like the body image is such a, a big thing and everyone seems to have a perfect body on Instagram for the most part. I'm sure this is an issue that as teen, you know, kids become teenagers. How do they sort of, I don't know, how do they help their kids with the, with things like that? Like

Sheila (23m 52s):

My approach to that is to talk about not weight, not talk about weight, talk about health. Hmm. And, you know, focus on, we're doing this to be healthy. We're, we're getting good sleep because it improves our health. We're eating this way because it's good for our health. Right. And then, you know, if the child is still is, is really, or the teenager is really focusing on it, just having real conversations with your, with your child about, about their body and, and, and listening to them really, because that's what, that's what kids want and kids need.

Sheila (24m 37s):

If your child is coming to you, you know, or, or, or you're noticing, they might not come to you and say, oh, I'm really insecure about my body or whatever. But, you know, you can really listen to them and, and empathize with where they are. Have compassion and the way a parent talks about their own body is so important. And, you know, talking about all the wonderful things that our bodies do for us and accepting our, I think as parents, accepting ourselves and then reflecting back to our kids that we accept them just as they are.

Sheila (25m 22s):

And we're not trying to get them to eat in a different way because then they'll be more acceptable. Or we're not trying to get them to lose weight because then they'll be more valuable or yeah, we're already a hundred percent worthy, a hundred percent valuable just as they are. We wanna try to shift these lifestyle things that might need a little tweaking to allow them to live their best life and be free.

Brian (25m 50s):

Yeah. And yeah, I mean, I'm sure these are difficult topics for a lot of parents to navigate. What would you say, like, are the biggest topics that come up, you know, for you and your clients and individuals that come to you? Is it the, the weight part portion or is it getting kids to eat certain way? Or what would you say the biggest topics that come up? Well, those are

Sheila (26m 12s):

Both really big things. And, you know, parents want to help their kids without harming them, obviously. So parents might be very worried about a child's weight, but they don't know how to talk about it. They don't know how to approach it, and they're not even sure what to do, frankly, to improve the situation. So I spend a lot of time with my clients talking about things like that. And I think, you know, my best advice to parents is to become the role model that you want your child to see. And I know everybody says that, and But it is the way, it is the way to help your child.

Sheila (27m 0s):

If you have a child who's struggling with weight, then before you start to change anything for your child, I recommend just spending a few weeks, a few months if you need to on yourself first. Okay, how am I as the mom or the dad? How am I eating? Okay, how am I, how is my kids seeing me eat? How, how am I sleeping? How am I moving my body? How am I managing my stress and managing my emotions? And then when you can kind of get a sense of what you're doing for yourself and change what you need or want to change to show up for the way that you're, you want your child to see you, that without even mentioning anything to your child, that in and of itself will benefit your child.

Sheila (27m 51s):

Right. Because they're learning from us. They're watching us all the time. Yeah,

Brian (27m 55s):

No, that's great advice. I mean, actions speak a lot loud, louder than words, especially if those words are coming from a parent who's not necessarily walking the walk.

Sheila (28m 6s):

And it's hard. Yeah. It's hard. you know, the same reason our kids love these foods. We like these foods too. Sure. It's just, it's, it's for all of us parents, you know, I think as a, as a society, we're really struggling here in the United States with our health, with our metabolic health, with our weight, with all of these lifestyle related diseases that we're suffering from. Parents and adults need help figuring out how to actually implement what they wanna implement. 'cause pretty much most people know, oh, we should be shopping the perimeter of the grocery store.

Sheila (28m 47s):

Oh, we should be eating real food. But where there's a gap is like, okay, but how, how do I get myself to do that all the time and still feel happy and still feel not deprived and still feel, you know? So that's, that's there's an implementation gap. And that's huge for kids too, because kids just cannot do that by themselves. That bridging that gap between knowing what to do and actually doing it, that takes your prefrontal cortex, that takes, you know, your executive functioning skills. and we know that those aren't developed in kids, but they are developed in us grownups.

Sheila (29m 29s):

And so when we learn those skills, then we can help our kids learn them over time.

Brian (29m 38s):

Yeah, that's great. And I was just thinking about, like, for example, like my sister has and her husband have three kidsand, like I, what you sometimes see, 'cause I work with a lot of like middle aged males, And, you know, that have sort of gotten outta shape and once they have more responsibilities and work and kids. But one of the things I envy with them is they've always kept up their side of things as far as like self-care and like strength training and things like that. And they always found the time to fit it in. And I think a lot of times parents, once they have kids, they sort of take the onus off themselves and just focus on their kids when they really should be putting even more focus on themselves because not only they're gonna help their health, but they're gonna also lead by example and show the kid to the kids that they, you know, these are good habits to form as you age.

Sheila (30m 38s):

Right, exactly. you know, that's part of our culture. That's part of our culture too. We, I can't, you know, if you added up the amount of hours that pa parents stand around watching their kids exercise, you know, I, and watching their kids play soccer, watching their kids play hockey, and, but yet they don't have the time to do that themselves. So what's the solution to that? you know, then you just have to, each individual parent has to really look at their values, their, you know, their core values and is health a core value and, and prioritize it. And it, it's not easy and it's not, it's not, it, it cost, it takes, it takes effort and it's a cost, you know?

Sheila (31m 24s):

Right. Because time, there's a limit. you know, there's only a limited amount of time. So if you're gonna do that, then something else is gonna fall off the wayside. But Yeah.

Brian (31m 31s):

Yeah. No, you're right. I mean, you gotta sort of inconvenience yourself a little bit. Right. If that's getting up earlier, you know, I will say, it's like, I remember my brother-in-law would be up so early working out, which is, you know, that the only time that he could get it in, which I think for a lot of parents, if they get it done first thing in the morning, they'll then they have the rest of their day. So you gotta sort of find the time to fit it in, but also sleep, which is another topic that I'm sure is really important. Yeah. How do, how do you navigate sleep with, with the kids nowadays? I feel like, I mean, they're in their bedrooms a lot of times, maybe on their phones for a couple hours before they're going to bed and things like that.

Sheila (32m 14s):

I, I think kids are staying up a lot later than even their parents realize because of the devices. Right. So, you know, this is my advice is no screens of any kind in the bed in the bedroom. Yeah. And, what, especially for younger kids, it's kind of a safety issue with regards to like what they're looking at on their screen. And we know that there, there's less problems if they're using a screen in a, in a public, you know, in a public area of your house. Sure. But for sure sleep is so critical. Well, for all of us humans, but for, for kids for sure.

Sheila (32m 55s):

And I think in the past, in the past few decades, we know that our sleep has gone down, you know, at least an hour a night. And that has correlated with an increase in obesity and an increase in poor health outcomes. But, you know, just trying to, you know, and this for me is a parent, another Parenting issue is like, you have to have a boundary around sleep. We have boundaries around safety for a lot of things. Seat belts and cars, bike helmets when they're biking. you know, and we need to feel, we need to look at these lifestyle issues for our kids as safety issues because they are, or to be, to be as healthy as possible.

Sheila (33m 41s):

Your child does need to get the recommended amount of sleep on a regular basis. Yeah. They do need to eat healthy food, they do need to be moving their body and that, and I just like, you know, my son probably wouldn't have learned to use his seatbelt if I didn't refuse to drive if he wasn't gonna buckle up, you know? Right, right. We need to, we just need to instill these habits in our kidsand to do that. We need to have these habits ourselves first. Right.

Brian (34m 9s):

Yeah. I mean, I just think like, back my childhood, I mean, we're such creatures of habit. Right. I never, I don't know if it was just, I never had a TV in my room growing up. Yeah. Yeah. I, it was just like never a thing. And I never even thought about it until now that I'm older, I'm like, yeah, I never And. you know, I, I think there's something to that because Now I notice with myself, I don't really have, you know, things can change obviously, but like, I don't really have the urge to like, watch much TV in the evening, which when most people do. Right. I'd rather do other things. So I don't know. I think instilling some of these things, I'm not saying that just because you're, there's no TV in the room doesn't mean this is going to, you know, sort of change your whole life.

Brian (34m 51s):

But I think it little things like this that you instill these habits early on can, can make an impact.

Sheila (34m 56s):

It, they mean Yes, for sure. And I honestly, I do think they change your life. Yeah. People, if people keep their phones downstairs or, or you know, wherever in a different room, they actually sleep better, they have better quality sleep when you know, your phone's there, there's something about it that's just, you know, we go through these sleep phases and you come to these very light states of awakening, and then you go back into a deeper sleep And, you know, it's kind of like this wave all night long. But sometimes, you know, when people are coming to a lighter state of awakening, they're like, oh, my phone. Right. And it's that the draw is that strong and it, that's just norm.

Sheila (35m 37s):

That's just how our, how we're wired. That's, that's our human, you know, that's our, that's how we've evolved. But we need to understand like, oh, the way these phones are so powerful, okay, how can I help myself? I need to put this somewhere else. And for sure the kids, I mean, I can't even tell you how many kids I talk to outside of their, when their parents aren't in the room. Like, oh, I'm up until two or three. Yeah. you know, I just can't fall asleep. That's what they say. They're like, I can't fall asleep. I can't fall asleep. So I use my phone. And they're not really able to connect like, well by using your phone, that's what's keeping you awake.

Sheila (36m 21s):

So it's just, you know, I think parents need to really, is

Brian (36m 26s):

Is that about just creating boundaries around all these things? I

Sheila (36m 30s):

Think so. I do. This is, and it's boundaries around food, boundaries around, like everything we just talked about. Yeah. Keeping boundaries, holding the boundaries. And you know, also at the same time, like in a loving way with wiggle room once in a while, fine. But looking, looking at the lifestyle choices as a safety factor for your child and as the way that you have to do to keep your child healthy. Because if we just let our kids eat the modern processed foods, if we let our kids use the screens, you know, as much as they want, it's har it's harmful to them.

Sheila (37m 11s):

It's harming them and they will get sick.

Brian (37m 13s):

Yeah. What about the influence of other kids having on, on your child? I mean, obviously you can't like think live in a bubble, right? You're gonna be, you know, I, I see my, I'm just thinking like, as I grew up, I was lucky. I, I think a lot of my friends and I had good, made good choices for the most part. But you see this a lot of times with kids, if they just get in sort of with the wrong group of kids, this can really influence how they go about things. And they can almost rebel, right?

Sheila (37m 45s):

Yeah. Yeah. So one thing I think that you're, you're exactly right. Your kids' friends have a powerful influence on them, and that's normal too. This is how humans were have evolved, of course. And this happens more and more is, you know, as they go through their adolescence. So one thing we focus on, I focus on with my clients is the connection they have with their child. And, and having this strong, loving, you know, pre presence in your child's life and being connected to them.

Sheila (38m 25s):

E even if they're not doing all the things you want them to, we parents, we have to stay connected to our child. and we, we have to be this, you know, presence in their lives. This, in a perfect world, like non-anxious presence is a term that, that two of my favorite authors who wrote the self-driven child. That's a what such a wonderful book. If parents, jury, readers

Brian (38m 52s):

Want to read Self-driven, self-driven.

Sheila (38m 54s):

Yeah. The self, I, I think it's written by Bill Sticks, Rud, and oh my gosh, Ned is his first name and I'm blanking his last name. Okay. But wonderful. The best Parenting book I've ever read, frankly. And yeah, so, so staying connected to them and knowing that of course kids are gonna, you know, try things, make mistakes. Sure. We wanna be a place like a soft place at home, you know, when they're still with us, they can make these mistakes and, and they're not hopefully not horrible, horrible, horrible mistakes. Right? Right, right. And so we can go through this process of, it's called Supporting your child's autonomy And, what that really, there, what the whole idea there is you want to allow your children to make decisions.

Sheila (39m 47s):

and we do this, we do this around, we can do this around food, around screen, or, you know, around everything. Help your child understand that it, the decisions that they're gonna make and the potential downstream effects either positive or negative. Then we let the child make the decision and then we're there for them. We stay connected to them. And then in, after the decision has been made and whatever's happened, we review with them and we help them learn. Oh, how did that go? You decided to not study for your test. We talked about it, you knew you had a test, you chose to study less or stay up late.

Sheila (40m 32s):

Right. Okay, let's now let's just in a, you know, in a kind way, okay, let's talk about, you know, did you like, do you like the result that you're getting? Or do you like the result that you had from that? That's such a wonderful life skill that we can offer our kids. you know, helping them understand the connection between their actions and the results, the things that they do or don't do, and the results in their life. And, and building that skill with them and showing them, I love, I think that's such a wonderful gift parents can give their kids.

Brian (41m 10s):

Yeah. No, I, I totally agree. And you made me think of, I coach high school golf and I, you know, I can talk to them while they're on the course and they're playing. So I could offer advice and my thought is I always let them make the decision so I can give them their options. 'cause sometimes when you're playing golf, you don't realize a certain option is there, like maybe you should punch out and not try to hit it through the tree one, you know, something like that. So I will offer that, those options and, and just let them make the decision because if they don't pull off that shot, at least they, they put, put the blame right back on themselves and not have not obviously blame anyone other than themselves for that.

Brian (41m 55s):


Sheila (41m 55s):

Yeah. That's so that's such a wonderful way to coach. Yeah, that's, and that we can parent in that exact same way, you know? Right. Especially when the stakes are really small, you know? Yeah. And they're small when they're little, you know, and then there's, you know, they get progressively bigger as they age. Yeah. They age. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. But understanding that our kids are, you know, their own beings, they're their own selves, and we just want to be able to offer them, not control them and not, you know, for example, like with kids that are old enough to go to their friend's house, okay, what are they going to eat there? What, you know, my recommendation is you don't even try to control any of that.

Sheila (42m 39s):

Right. The whole idea is that you want to have instilled in your child at home. They, they know what's good for them and what's not good for them. And, and then they can make the choice and then they can live with the result in a, in a kind, you know, way that you're still supporting them.

Brian (42m 56s):

Yeah. You're like, bringing me back to my childhood. But I, I will say this as another example. I remember I was in high school, I think I was a freshman in high school. I tried a Marlboro red cigarette and I remember being outside of this guy's house and I think I took maybe a couple hits and I was just like, sick, beyond sick, dizzy, and never had a cigarette rest of my life. Yeah. Like, it just like, and I think the fact that I, you know, I made the decision to do it and then I just got so sick from it that I was like, done. I don't know that that was a, I'll never forget that. And I never obviously had a, an e-cigarette or anything like that again.

Brian (43m 39s):


Sheila (43m 40s):

Yeah, it's so, well we already, you know, our kids already experienced this with Yeah. Cigarettes, with alcohol, with driving, you know, that kind of thing. So they're already at some point, you know, experiencing these things as they age. Right. Yeah. So it's just teaching them, offering them help, understanding if you choose that, what do you think might be the downstream effect if you choose this, what might be the downstream effect? Right. Just gives them so much freedom and so much power. And so it's so empowering. It's so freeing.

Brian (44m 17s):

Yeah. Because whether you like it or not, your kids are gonna be, are gonna have these temptations and it's gonna come down to all the things that you've instilled in them over the years for them to make the right decision and hopefully follow down the path that you would want them to follow.

Sheila (44m 32s):

Yeah, yeah. And yes, and understanding, yeah, it's, it's a little bit of a wavy road, but that, you know, kids do wanna be healthy. Every single child I've ever talked to, they, they don't wanna be sick. They don't wanna feel bad. They don't, but they might not know, you know, what, what exactly to do. So, we, that's, that's our role, that's our job. And unfortunately in the current society that we're in, it's hard for parents. We are swimming upstream trying to keep our kids healthy. 'cause we are like, you know, no, no to this food. No to that food, no to that screen. No. It's just like, it's tiring and it's exhausting.

Sheila (45m 13s):

But, it is worth it for the parents to do that, to protect your kid and protect your kid's health. And unfortunately this is, the government's not helping us. And, you know, the food industry is not helping us. Just because foods are for sale does not mean they're safe. Just because these social media apps are available does not mean they're safe. And so this is, it falls to the parents because if we don't do things to protect our kids, the, they could potentially, you know, have some outcomes that we wish they didn't have.

Brian (45m 49s):

And And, what about, yeah, you just used the example of saying no to this. No, that is, that, is there, I mean, obviously using the word no all the time, I don't know if that's good, bad or too much, or, or if, you know, how do you go about, you know, you know, about rejecting things that your kids are keep bringing up?

Sheila (46m 10s):

Well, for me personally, I, depending on what it is, you know, I would say, you know, as your mom, it's my job to keep you safe. So I, I just can't in good conscience give you, you know, for me, I had this conversation with one of my son's friends who drinks Sprite, a kid. He loves to drink Sprite, and he drinks it a lot at home. and we, we went somewhere and he wanted to get a Sprite. Wow. I was just like, you know, if you look at the back of a Sprite, it's like 70 grams of sugar in one bottle or something. And so I just said no. And I said, you know, I love you so much. And I said, I just can't help, I just can't in good conscious do this for you.

Sheila (46m 52s):

But what's another option? Would you like a sparkling water? Would you like a regular water? Would you like a unflavored tea or so, you know, and then offer options. But you know what, I don't honestly feel, I don't feel bad that I'm saying no. Sure. Because I'm helping them, helping him, number one, And, you know, I would never say, oh, okay, just have, you know, have this beer. It's fine. I don't wanna say no all the time. Go ahead.

Brian (47m 26s):

Well do, do you find that a lot of times parents give in because they've just lost patience with trying to, you know Yeah,

Sheila (47m 33s):

Me too. Yeah. Sometimes, you know, just, you just feel so beat, beaten down in the, you know, depending on the rest of your day and your sleep and Yeah. And that's, that's normal. And this is where like marketing does not help us And, you know, the kids are seeing all of this stuff, and especially at social media, but you know, it's all portrayed as perfectly normal to give your kid all of these things. And so kids kind of expect it. And so it is hard. It's a change, you know. But I can tell you, if you're willing to, if you're willing to kind of put in the, put in the effort and fight the good fight for a little while, you will see changes in your child and it'll become much less of a constant battle.

Sheila (48m 20s):

And then eventually, you know, what I've seen in my son is he doesn't even want those things anymore. He, I heard him say to somebody the other day, oh, we don't drink soda. and we used to drink soda. I used to drink diet Coke and he would drink. I think we drank fresca. I don't even, you know, but we don't now. We just don't do that anymore. And, and he sees himself as a person who just doesn't drink soda anymore. Right. And so I think it's, it's a hundred percent possible, you know, and we just have to be willing to try fail a little bit, try fail, try fail, keep going. you know, and that's, that's also just hopefully parents are willing to keep going.

Brian (49m 6s):

Well, Sheila, this was great. I just got a masterclass in Parenting And, now I'm all ready. you know, this is an hour of free consulting, so thank you for that. Oh,

Sheila (49m 16s):

Parenting. Honestly, this is, you know, I have a 12-year-old, I've one child spend the best, the most wonderful thing in my life for sure. And, and I know parents love their kids. I've never met a parent who doesn't just absolutely adore and love their child. And I just want hope parents realize how powerful they are in their kids' lives, in the role that they can play for good. And, and, and it's so worth it to, to just try to make these little changes and help your kid.

Brian (49m 56s):

Awesome. Well, a lot of great advice today, Sheila, and this was, this was great. I'm glad to have you on and where's the best place for people to find you?

Sheila (50m 6s):

Thank you so much for having me on. I I really appreciate it. I have a website, it's my whole name, Sheila Carroll md.com. Okay. I have a free guide that people could download from there called How to Make Parenting Around Food Feel Less Hard, because this is a, this is a topic that every, a lot of parents struggle with, but that's the easiest place. My email's on there. I'm happy to answer any questions anybody might have specific questions about their family. Yeah. Thanks again for having me.

Brian (50m 39s):

Yeah, thank you so much. And I'll put Links in the show notes so people can find you and they can book a call if they want to talk to you as well. So yeah, I appreciate everything you do, so thanks for coming on.

Sheila (50m 50s):

Well, thank you.

Brian (50m 53s):

Thanks for listening to the Get, Lean Eat Clean Podcast. I understand there are millions of other Podcasts out there and you've chosen to listen to mine and I appreciate that. Check out the show notes at Brian Gryn dot com for everything that was mentioned, In, this episode. Feel free to subscribe to the podcast and share it with a friend or family member that's looking to get their body back to what it once was. Thanks again, and have a great day.

Dr. Sheila Carroll

Sheila Carroll, MD is a board certified pediatrician and an obesity medicine physician. She has been working in the clinical practice of medicine for more than 20 years.

After discovering life coaching, she applied what she learned to her own life and experienced an upleveling transformation. She then became a certified Life and Weight Loss Coach through The Life Coach School to be able to help other people experience similar life transformations.

She lives and works in Maine with her son Theo and their 14-year-old puppy Finn.


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