I remember when I hit puberty I began to gain weight like crazy. I was five foot six inches tall in the sixth grade, and I weighed one hundred thirty-two pounds. Had I stayed that weight throughout my life, I would be at an ideal weight always.
Of course I didn’t. I gained twenty pounds a year. By the time I was in the ninth grade I weighed one hundred ninety-six pounds. I was fourteen years old, fat, and sick and tired of hearing my parents, especially my dad, who was fat by the way, always criticizing me because of my weight. I joined Weight Watchers, lost fifty-five pounds, and my parents stopped tormenting me about being too fat. Suddenly, they were very proud of my accomplishment and proud of me.
Sometimes I still feel as if everyone around me is watching what I am eating, how much, and judging me. It is an awful feeling. It creates a need to hide food and binge eat, not to mention the guilt and sense of failure associated with being overweight.
I suggest that it is when your children are very small, even toddlers, you begin to educate them on proper eating portions and healthy food choices. As they mature, the approach becomes different. Children sense when parents disapprove of them. They never want to disappoint their parents.
Therefore, if you haven’t already ingrained good eating habits and choices along with portion control, and you are speaking to a school age child, the key to helping them understand and want to make healthy choices and live in a healthful manner is to address the concerns without judgment and reproach.
Instead of saying, “Don’t eat that…. You are starting to gain weight”, say to them, “How about some fruit instead or some… We as a family are trying to eat less sugar and more healthy fruits and vegetables. That (blank) is so bad for us. I think I’m not going to buy it anymore. Those types of food makes our bodies sick.”
Make it a family decision to eat healthier. And if your child looks at you and tells you they want to still eat (blank), tell them “Okay, but a small portion. It really isn’t all that healthy for any of us.”
You do not want to make your child feel guilty about food choices. Instead, you want to steer their choices into a healthier direction. Make making those choices easier by not buying junk food. Get it out of the house.
If despite your efforts your child is still gaining weight, then possibly they are emotionally eating. Try to get to the bottom of what concerns them so much that they use food to feel better. Remember, don’t make your child feel guilty. They don’t want to disappoint you. Tell them you love them no matter what their size and that your only concern is their health.
The most important thing you can do to help your children is to lead by example. I didn’t, and several of my children struggle with weight issues. No one says it’s easy, and we all know we need to live a healthy lifestyle. Your children will mimic you. You live healthy, they will live healthy.
Until we meet again, this is Linda Misleh Wagner, Future Former Fatty.
Tagged Control Cravings