This is a comment from a mother in regards to babies and toddlers being diagnosed with obesity and the question was is it the parent’s fault.
I read this comment to my other half and he said “Yeah, she’s right, no?”
You’re looking at it now and can’t see any issues with her comment either, listen she means well, I’m not making a personal stab at her, or you. It’s the attitude towards food we have as a society on a whole is what’s wrong.
Her point is that children (and adults) should not be fed shite all the time and get nutritious food most of the time, and I don’t argue with that… in fact that’s what I preach!
But look at it more closely – the mindset. “Kids are allowed a treat… just like adults that have a diet our cheat night….”
All rules are made to be broken, right? But here’s the thing – most people who diet, and have “cheat days” usually end up binging on everything on their cheat days, throwing the energy balance out of whack, thus resulting in very little to no results.
I’m not talking about re-feed days or carb cycling or anything like that, I’m talking about general pop clients who want to lose weight and put themselves on a “healthy eating plan” of some sort and then sabotage everything one day of the week because they’ve “been good all week”.
Now look at the next bit in her comment – “My kids don’t get any crisps or chocolate or fizzy drinks until the weekend”
The “Been Good All Week” thing again.
The attitude towards food starts in the home and is passed from parent to child, through generations.
“I’ve paid good money for that, don’t let it go to waste”, “You’re not leaving the table until the plate is clear” “Hurry up I want to get the dishes done” “Eat it before it goes cold” “Think of the starving children in Africa”.
Or “You’ve been so good in school all week we’re going to McDonald’s today as a treat”
I’ve had countless clients come in my door and say that their diet is great during the week but when they get to the weekend they let go and eat and drink til their hearts content.
Listen, any sort of restriction in food (i.e the “bad stuff”) will eventually lead to a “moment of madness” – binging, stuffing your face until your belly explodes. It could be every weekend, or it could be after a few weeks, or months. Sure look at Physique Competitors – how many pics on Insta do you see of these lean athletes celebrating with a box of doughnuts after they come off the stage?
Treat Yo Self.
But you’re not a dog. And your kids aren’t dogs either. So why reward “good behaviour” with food?
By saying to your kids that you can’t have ANY sweets until the weekend, you’re setting them up with an unhealthy relationship with food into adulthood. They will actually look forward to the weekend when they can have all the goodies. I remember in primary school we got sandwiches Monday- Thursday but Friday our lunch was a huge chocolate muffin. How may kids missed school on a Friday? I’d imagine not too many.
Listen before you say “I let my kids have sweets on the weekend but I don’t let them gorge on it” I get that, but you won’t be able to control them when they grow up and can get junk for themselves.
If you’re currently “not eating any crap during the week” then Fri, Sat, Sunday it’s a free for all then yes, you do not have a healthy relationship with food.
Sorry, not sorry. It’s not your fault because it’s been ingrained in society – pretty much everyone does it if they have the opportunity.
If you “eat clean” 24/7 because you’re afraid of getting fat, or think carbs are bad or processed food will kill you then yes, you also have an unhealthy relationship with food.
If you “eat clean” because you actually ENJOY it, and in fact don’t like the taste of unhealthy or processed food then that’s fine, you’re very rare though.
In fact, whatever you’re eating, if it’s keeping you healthy in the most part and you enjoy it and not negatively impacting your social life then the chances are you and your food are good mates.
So what do you do?
Treat Yo Self – with life experiences and creating memories with the people you love. Not with food. If food happens to be around, enjoy it, but savour the memories you make at the event.
If you (or your kids) want a bar of chocolate regardless what day of the week it is, have the damned chocolate! Just don’t eat the whole multi pack in one sitting.
Educate and inspire yourself, your kids and the people around you that food is just food, although a balanced diet is nothing fancy, it is the only way proven to keep you healthy, happy and in control of your weight and attitude towards food. Eat real food, not too much, mostly unprocessed food – and allow for those “bad” foods from time to time. There’s more to life than living on chicken and broccoli.
Eat slowly, stop when you’re full. Regardless of what’s on the plate, what’s left on the plate or how much you’ve paid for it. Savour every bite, chew thoroughly and enjoy whatever it is. I’ll tell you right now eating out/ takeaways are unbelievably generous with their portion sizes and a standard Sweet & Sour Chicken with Fried Rice will feed two adults comfortably.
If you want to relax on the weekend but find that all you do is sit on the couch and are constantly eating anything and everything, find something else to keep your hands busy. Paint your nails, read a book, colour, knit, sip water. Or get up and do something if you can’t sit still and watch the TV.
Have crisps and chocolate if you want it – just don’t over do it, that’s all.
Don’t reward good behaviour with food and don’t use exercise as punishment for over indulging.
If you’re out on the lash but can’t face cooking with a hangover, plan ahead and make a one pot dish that can be reheated easily.
If you want to binge – go ahead. But do it slowly. When you slow down, you’ll notice a lot quicker that you’ve had enough.
If you feel that you let yourself go on the weekend, ask yourself “Why”, and how can you maintain a balanced diet most of the time, while still enjoying guilty pleasures some of the time?
If you want to hear more, pop along to my nutrition seminar on 23rd August.
Or if you need more 1-2-1 help with your nutrition habits, my next intake of clients is September 5th.