PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – As a mom, Dr. Wendy Schofer was worried about her family’s weight and health. As a pediatrician, dealing with a childhood obesity crisis, she realized writing prescriptions wasn’t working. “Back in my medical practice, primary care, I just always felt like there wasn’t enough that I could do for families to be able to really help them around nutrition and growth in the office.”

Her frustration led her to look beyond traditional medicine. She began to study the mind, psychology and motivation.

Dr. Schofer told WAVY she does not believe that a number defines your health. Whether that’s the number on the scale, Body Mass Index, A1C, or cholesterol.

“I get to determine what is healthy, you get to determine what is healthy for you, for your family,” Dr. Schofer said.

For her and her family that meant ditching traditional medical recommendations such as 150 minutes a week of sweaty movement.

“I gotta tell you I realized, I hate running! I stone cold hate running, but I was doing it all the time, in the military, as part of this… I need to get a certain type of exercise.”

Her kids hated it too, she said. They were always butting heads. So they made a change. Now they focus on the power of play. They do things like walking the dogs and dancing in the kitchen.

“Moving our bodies to be able to explore what they can do to enjoy our bodies instead of saying ‘Oh I gotta go do this!'”

Dr. Schofer explained that little changes in her family made a big difference. Now she’s coaching parents through a program called Family in Focus.

“We do have an opportunity for families to participate in the 8-week program for free, as we are studying the effectiveness of the program,” she said.

The program explores your food beliefs about weight and food, includes educational aspects, understanding motivation and coaching.

If you’re interested in learning more, contact 757-446-5099 or FamilyWellbeing@evms.edu