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Parents’ relationship with food as compared to their children’s – Part 1

I have recently posted an interesting Time.com article on the bellaSavio wellness and weight management system – it informs readers about quite an interesting study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. The study focuses on the spread of vegetarianism among teenagers lately and whether this actually is the new disguise for an eating disorder. Interesting study, and makes you think about how inventive teenagers have become trying to lose weight and manage it.

The research results point into the direction that young people might not be that keen on the idea of actually preserving the poor animals as they are embracing vegetarianism as a way to keep their bodies slim without being bothered by worried parents. I have always respected any choices people make about eating or not eating specific types of food. It is a very personal thing. And yet, if teenagers are preoccupied with weight issues and become vegetarians just to stay thinner, this might be getting really a bit alarming for parents…

Going through a bunch of similar articles on the same site, like the one about food items our children should try to stay away from and use healthier substitutes instead, really tickled my guilty conscience. It is by all means parents who are responsible for creating and nurturing young children’s relationship with the surrounding world, and in this case – with food in particular. Things cannot always go by the book but we should find a smart way to raise them as healthy and positive as we are capable of. So, what if parents have some more twisted relationship with food themselves? Mine, for instance, is not perfect at all. How about my kids, then?

I tried to think of all the items my children (a 2nd-grade girl and a 9th-grade boy) have reached for, say, in the last seven days.  My husband and I are live with the hope that we are serving predominantly healthy food at home. We both are on the overweight side (lots of computer work throughout the day; larger portions; yo-yo dieting; and tons of other excuses, excuses, excuses…) so we really do not want our kids to have that same experience in their lives.

Both our son and daughter are in excellent shape, though. At least for the time being. Our son’s gym classes of fierce running and weight-lifting keep him fit; our daughter has always been a giraffe-look-alike girl, thin and leggy. Sometimes I feel I am not looking much like their mom, after all – I am bulkier and I would love to donate some part of my flesh but nobody wants it. So, having coexisted with my weight issues all my life, I feel highly responsible for the health and looks of my own children.

I have often wondered how come skinny moms have heavy daughters. Wouldn’t they like to have healthier kids? Or maybe they are skinny not because they have healthy life-style but due to some weird way they have invented to keep weight off?

I know a lady who denies having any eating disorders - she once spent endless months on a liquid food diet that had almost made her incapable of swallowing harder food parts again. She is now “maintaining her weight” by eating tiny little pieces of fruits or vegetables throughout the day, plus a mini-salad for dinner, accompanied by dozens of cigarettes and strong coffees daily to totally suppress the taste of any food she might feel (interesting approach, eh?).  She is an intelligent, highly-educated lady, a fan (or maybe victim) of fashion and modern looks. And yet, that is how she manages to successfully keep her weight off and she feels very proud f it. Her daughter, though, has always been seriously heavy and probably her mom’s approach to eating is not helping her much.

I know another good-looking lady, slim and fashionable too, who is also applying her own method for suppressing her appetite – cigarettes and strong coffee again, but in her case accompanied at dinner-time (the hardest time of the day when trying to eat less) with some hard alcohol (gin or vodka, on the rocks, pure and strong).  She told me this combination helped her feel no urges to eat at all. If you have not read a word about food so far (no matter healthy or otherwise) – yes, you had it right; food is almost non-existent in her diet plan. Her two daughters are both on the heavier side and cannot find a way to balance their weight.  So, the ladies I know got inventive how to cut off eating to as little as possible. Working out is not an option in either case – well, maybe occasionally and to show off some fashionable expensive exercise outfit. But not as a weekly routine.

I am the last person that should criticize anyone. I myself belong to the weight-problem-having team of women. I have never been able to keep a steady weight for a long time. If I sit and write all my excuses for doing so, they will probably constitute a larger volume than Moby Dick…. I have always been one of the best theoreticians when it comes to healthy eating and exercising; I could motivate everyone around me; I could lecture and I believe I might have helped a few people while doing so. But not myself. I have my huge excuses.  And they always sound reasonable.

Therefore I am worried if I have paved the right way for my own kids to eat right and grow up healthy young people. Greatly worried…