Monday, March 26, 2012

My thoughts on "Weight Watcher" in Vogue's April issue: 7 is too old too finally hand your kid a veggie and a kid-size meal

I've read a couple articles today about this upsetting article in Vogue and they are within this post.

Okay look out. This is kind of long. Ironically last night I was reading an article in Vogue called Weight Watcher, written by and about a mother who puts her 7-year-old daughter on a strict diet. The first thing that crosssed my mind when I saw the article was the photograph of the mother and child who didn't look very Vogue-friendly to me, in the sense of being skinny minnies. Then, with the photo in mind and I imagined the day of the shoot, the mother saying "Okay we are going to do a photo shoot for an article I wrote about you being overweight."   :(

I thought about this little girl, being known by her friends and friend's parents as the girl who lost 16 pounds in a year and the ignorant parenting her mother put her through. The writer/mother had her own issues with weight and food and body image and asked "who was I to teach a little girl how to maintain a healthy weight and body image?"  Um, hello mommy, that IS what you are suppose to try to do as a parent!

I didn't like the article, it made me have morning sickness. It just showed me the type of parent I don't want to be. And not because she put her daughter on a diet--diet is a harsh word but it was the way she did it. According to the article she had been feeding her kids well-balanced meals, but while knowing her child was "polishing off adult-size plates of food" and blaming her three year olds weight gain all on social gatherings, I couldn't pity her. Perhaps her child was getting chubby, but the writer/mother admitted in the article that her child ate too much, and then blamed it on all the influences around, bad cafetaria food and all the sweets given to kids at school and social gatherings that involves treats and and cookies as the story went on. WTF. I see people smoking all the time it doesn't mean I'm going to start.

This is not so-called modern parenting! So many parents piss me off these days by the way.

Also the article didn't mention that the child was involved in any activities or sports before the "diet" started. If not, why not? Why wasn't that option available to her child from the moment her child could walk? Climb the jungle-gym, play hide and seek, playing, moving around, exercising, instead of nibbling and eating and eating, this is where you start balancing out unhealthy lifestyles and healthy! She could probably handle eating some extra calories or that extra cookie and not get chubby if she played tennis or swam or played soccer, went for a walk with her mom every day? Does the kid have a hobby? An interest besides what's for dinner?

As parents, it's about giving your child opportunities and showing them there's opportunities out there to explore, not every kid has to play a sport but to eat and eat and eat and not be active, well, your going to gain weight. When I read about how she gave her daughter dessert every night or how she stopped giving her daughter dessert every night, I thought to myself, "I didn't get dessert every day or a cookie every day as a kid." And I don't feel like I missed out, because I was too busy to care. Also I found enjoyment eating healthy things because I have a taste for it, and had it since I was able to eat solid foods. We all know a few parents who give there kids a cookie every five minutes and make unhealthy choices celebrated. I still don't get dessert every night and could care less.

Your kid can have a cupcake on a classmates birthday, but is your kid active or a slouch on the couch, how active is your child? Say to your child "Oh it was so and so's birthday, happy birthday and you have have that cookie or cupcake but that's it, nothing else this week." Sugar control. It's also about portion control. Parents also give their kids snack after snack as if to cuddle their own insecurities about wanting to snack and snack or laugh over how the toddler is able to hold a full size ice-cream cone and down it.
Let's be smart. Let's have some common sense! Duh, if you give your kids massive chocolate milk then obviously they are not going to want the milk without chocolate and you've shown them that chocolate makes natural foods taste better. :(  Then there's salt and massive mayo and etc coming up next.

Also I think parents spoil the shit out of their kids and not just with candy, and so many kids do not have manners these days and do not understand the value in what they have and appreciate it.

If your child is still hungry after dinner, first of all they should eat whatever you made because THAT's what's for dinner, and make sure what you are feeding your child is healthy, yummy and filling.  Duh, you'll fill up on a veggies faster than chips, so if you are giving your child a well balanced meal and your child is still hungry try feeding your childs mind with something creative or an activity. Even as an adult, sometimes after a meal you "think" you are still hungry but really your mind is just looking for something to fill up on. Read a book, put together a puzzle, get busy with something and usually you'll see that your not really hungry.

You can't control everything your child will see and the influences around, but you can prepare your child with confidence and a mindset of healthy eating habits. So they grab an apple not a candy bar every day. Also you represent what your childs eating habits will be. So if you are going to eat fast food and have unhealthy eating habits then you child is going to be influenced by that!  Your child will struggle with making a change and will need support but a sudden okay let's go on a diet solution, doesn't mean the kid ate too much on purpose it means you also contributed. (And it's VERY hard to change a lifestyle of eating unhealthy foods for a child that's been eating it for years and into adulthood )

Take your child to the Farmers Market, go Apple picking, plant a garden. Teach your child about nutrients and not just about how much healthier your body will be but also how much better you will feel inside and out and how your mindset will be healthy also.

Being pregnant I think about what I eat a lot. Before I eat, asking myself if I'd want my baby to eat this, but mainly nothing has changed. I enjoy fruits and veggies because I grew up on carrots and string beans and pastas. If your consuming food that isn't healthy when your pregnant then you're already starting to get your child to adjust to unhealthy eating habits. Right now I'm waiting for Fresh Direct to arrive, yay! so I can enjoy (give my baby) some fruits and veggies. It's not easy to be 100% all the time. Sure I'll have a few cookies sometimes and chips and salsa and love mac and cheese, a lot of cheese, but growing up eating veggies and fruits has helped me make good eating habits. Everyone gets down with the sugar and calories sometimes while enjoying the yummy tastes of this world, but enjoying food to me isn't just about enjoying dessert and grease..I actually enjoy the taste of fresh veggies.

I think it's important to watch what your child is consuming, and sure, to communicate with the parents of your childs friends that "she already ate lunch, had dinner, brought her own snack" if you want, but to understand that life is all about choices and starting your child off enjoying the taste of healthy foods will hopefully start them on the right track to good nutrition habits that last a lifetime. And get your kids ACTIVE!

What if that writer/mother didn't put her child on a diet, what would have happened? Can we be sure the child would grow up to be overweight? Due to the study mentioned in the article "...80 percent of overweight adolescents are still obese at age 25. If a child becomes overweight by the age of 8, his or her obesity in adulthood will be even more severe."  Some kids are bigger boned and no matter how much dieting or how careful they are eating and staying active they will be just more curvy. Most people are not skinny minnie, most are what the fashion world calls plus-size or bigger. The article shares the mothers issues with her eating habits and lack of her activity level, so she wasn't much of an example to her child but I wish the article shared more on how it's not just about monitoring what your child eats and saying "No," but making it a common sense thing to enjoy a healthy eating lifestyle. Just like you can crave sweets you can also crave healthy choices...if you're used to them.

My child will not be getting a cookie every single day, hell no, but I'll have that bag of veggies and fruit and string beans ready, and enough to share!


Some help with getting balanced meals going:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

According to my psychology teacher from college, most people aren't fully grown until they are 25-27 years of age. Which is why being obese before that, especially in the early 20s is dangerous.