I am not unique when I say this but my dieting obsession has controlled my life for too many years and enough is enough. For those who follow my blog, I made a BIG confession a few months ago about my battle with Bulimia when I was younger. My dieting obsession started when I was 8 years old and it was silly school yard banter that started me on a down hill spiral. I had shed many tears, hated the image in many mirrors, seen the inside of many toilet bowls and hated myself too many times to count.
I am now a fully functional non-dieting (most of the time) woman in her 40’s (early 40’s – really really early 40’s) who wants to lead by example for her children. Growing up my mum was perfect in my eyes but in her own eyes she was anything but perfect. My mum’s dieting obsession soon became my dieting obsession but I took it to the extreme.
I DO NOT WANT MY KIDS TO ALLOW FOOD TO CONTROL THEIR LIVES.
Recently I attended a seminar at the school Ashlea attends and it was all about dieting and the messages we are sending our children. This seminar was brilliant and over the coming months I will be writing more about this topic, as my dieting obsession, like so many others, maybe destroying our children and we do not even realise it.
- eating without feeling guilty
- awareness with what you are eating
- fitting activity into your lifestyle
- not depriving yourself
- improving self-worth
Dr Rick has been working successfully in this field for over 17years and his expertise in our diet obsessed world was a breath of fresh air. There was no ‘blaming’ anyone for the quick, easy lifestyle many of us choose. Instead, Dr Rick got back to basics, taking the focus away from negative eating to positive fulfilment.
Our obsession with having the perfect body (whatever that actually is I do not know) but stories like this do not help.
Some interesting facts about how our diet obsessed world manipulates even the healthiest of children:
- Body image is the No.1 concern with girls in Australia
- Body image is the No.3 concern with boys in Australia
- 3/4 of all food advertising on television in children’s viewing hours is high in fats and sugars.
- 95% of people with eating disorders are aged between 12yrs to 25 yrs.
- Parents who focus on their child’s size actually increase weight issues, whereas parents who focus on eating for health, decrease weight issues.
- nearly 60% of teenage girls feel pressured to be a certain weight
- 50% of primary school children want to weigh less.
- Food advertisers are using the words “guilt free” to replace ‘fat free’ putting a negative connotation on food.
Our children are surrounded by negative food advertising, unrealistic reality television, photo shopped pictures and celebrities who do not live in the real world. No wonder this dieting obsession is slowing breaking down our children’s resilience. The only area WE as parents have some control is what they hear and see at home. If my children hear me saying “Do I look fat in this?” or “No, I don’t eat foods like that as it will make me put on weight”, or “What diet am I on this week?” they will begin to see food as the enemy.
It is never too early to
teach show your children that food is needed for our health and we can eat what ever we want as long as it is eaten in moderation. As soon as you deny your children certain foods, that is exactly what they want to eat.
9 TIPS for parents to help promote a healthy body image in our children:
- Be a good role model as children learn most of their eating habits at home. If you diet, they will diet. If you eat healthy, they will eat healthy.
- Talk about food in a positive way, focusing on what benefits food does for your body. Don’t talk about dieting, talk about changing eating habits
- Encourage your children to eat slowly and enjoy their food. When we eat on the run, we don’t have time to process the flavours of the food until the food is gone.
- A great quote from Dr Rick “I can have it if I want it, but do I really feel like it?” Ask your child what it is they are feeling – hungry? bored? tired? thirsty?
- Don’t force your child to eat everything on their plate if they are claiming to be full. However, if they do not eat everything, no other food is offered.
- Getting active as a family is a great way to stay fit and healthy. Not only do we burn off energy (which is great with active kids) but this can be a great opportunity to bond together as a family.
- Avoid sugary drinks, especially with meals. It has been proven that drinking sugary drinks with meals actually suppresses the appetite.
- Get your child involved with the food preparation, allowing them to make choices. As a parent of young children, this can be difficult to do but as your child gets older, they become more independent and you want them to consciously make the healthiest choice available to them.
- Finally, learn to love the skin you are in. We all come in different shapes and sizes and one isn’t better than another.