Dr. Adrienne Youdim
As an internal medicine physician, I treat adults, but on occasion a parent will drag in their adolescent or young adult child so that I can talk to them about weight loss. As a parent, I can understand the fear and worry that comes with noticeable weight gain. We worry about their health, but if we are honest, we are often worried about the social consequences they may experience from excess weight. More often than not, weight gain in a child will invariably bring up our own emotions and biases as well as any difficult relationships we may have with food or our own bodies. As a mother and a physician, I know we want to help our children but the truth is that trying to motivate them, much less dragging them into my office, will not only not help but it may even backfire.
There are two types of motivation, intrinsic vs extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation is the kind that comes from within the person themselves while extrinsic motivation comes from outside oneself, such as a parent or a spouse. External motivation can be positive and take the form of a reward or can be negative as in a punishment or threat, either way, positive or negative, extrinsic motivation does not work. (more…)