I have been given a travel opportunity, product, and compensation in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own.
As a mom in my early twenties, I had two children. One was kind and loving, quiet and caring. The other was the reason I told people we had stopped at two. There was a 50/50 chance genetics would deal me another wild child. He spoke his mind. he was three and being watched by Charlotte the Great (his great-grandmother) when he told her, “You have ugly skin”. She cried and I had to find a new sitter for a few days. He was also my constant reminder that I was over-weight. I couldn’t go a day without my Zac saying, “Remember when you were the skinny mom?”
Zac was obsessed with weight. When he was five, his dream job was, “Working at Disney as the SKINNY Aladdin and when I get really good, moving to the Disney Cruise Ship in the Hamammas”.
There were days I went to bed in tears because this child I loved with all my heart and soul, couldn’t get past my appearance.
I turned to food. Not in front of him, heaven no! I became a closet eater and midnight muncher. That’s right; when my little angel went to bed and was sound asleep, I was in my kitchen shoving cookies in my mouth and washing ’em down with chocolate milk. He’d ask, “”remember when you were the skinny mom?” and I’d retreat to my bedroom closet with potato chips and Coca-Cola.
Two things happened from all this.
BOTH of my boys developed eating disorders.
Jake was the textbook child who developed his eating habits from his parents. His big moment was when he was 12 and beat his dad in an eating contest, gorging himself with more Burger King Whoppers than his dad. I was not privy to this until after the fact and I was upset my husband thought this was okay. The fact is, Jake discovered food was his bond with his dad and the two would inhale food.
Research shows kids watch very carefully what their parents do–not just what they say.
Jake would greet me at the door with groceries to lay “dibs” on food before his father.
This led to Jake being an overweight teenager. By the time Jake was 15, he was so ashamed of himself he turned to starving himself.
Zac, on the other hand, he was active and ate like a bird. He claimed he disliked most things.
My children aren’t the only children affected by poor eating habits.
The difficulty is that children as young as 5 years old consider dieting. By the time they are 8, over 20% of girls have tried restricting calories in order to control their weight. That scary thought has two trajectories.
(1) Dieting through calorie restriction at that age leads directly to eating disorders. By 10, over a third of the girls have tried purging to not gain weight.
(2) The second trajectory is that restricting calories leads directly to weight gain, not weight loss. So these young kids are setting their bodies up for being overweight or obese even before they are a teenager. They will carry that weight and a lot more for the rest of their lives.
I feel like with my younger children, I have this second chance. A chance to teach them better. I’m heavier than I’ve ever been, but I don’t make a big deal about it. I prepare meals that are balanced and I never use the word “diet” or talk about restricting calories. I want them to know, like life, food is about choices.
I’m living proof that doesn’t work. In fact, dieting is known to be the major cause of weight gain — weight regain — in adults. And we need to be hyper aware of how it affects our kids, too.
This time, I want to lose weight for me. I’ve ready to live life to the fullest and try an Undiet.
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