So many people don’t understand the dramatic impact they have on shaping their child’s ability to be a lean, fit adult.
But think about it, because if you are/ever plan on being a parent, you NEED to understand this about the choices you make. Your child’s mind is growing and shaping big time and they are looking at as many external factors as possible for personal growth and understanding how ‘how things work’.
But here’s the thing. I don’t have kids. So, i’m not going to talk about effecting kids. Instead, I’m going to talk about how your parents probably affected YOU. Here are some common issues with eating that we see from people’s past that are hard to break.
What it is: Finishing your plate
Why your parents thought it was good: Your heart might be in the right place. So many starving kids and my child has access to such abundance. Yepp, they do, and that’s why at this rate there’s an 80% chance they grow up overweight.
The problem is that your child isn’t a garbage disposal. And really, food is fuel. So if you’re teaching your kid to overeat and overfuel, the “excess” that would’ve gone into the garbage can now sits on their belly as extra fat. Which is worse?
Fast forward to today, and look at packaging companies, plate sizes, and portion sizes at restaurants. You finishing your plate when there was 500 calories on it 20 years ago means that you’re finishing it with 2500 calories on it today. Remember that guilt your parents made you feel when you left food on your plate? Hey, now it’s being stored somewhere other than the junk yard—your waistline!
What it is: Eat this, then get that
Why your parents thought it was good: Hey, at least if they eat their sandwich or their veggie or this fruit or (whatever), then they can eat some extra junk.
The problem with this is that you reward filling yourself (sometimes when not even hungry) with more eating! So, eat this, then eat that. You’re also creating a situation where all you have to do is eat to get a reward. And the reward? More food!
Fast forward 20 years, and after a long, stressful day, what do you want to do? Eat? Drink? Yupp, you are using the same reward mom and dad gave you ice cream after you “finished your pasta dinner”.
What it is: Shut up and take this
Why your parents thought it was good: Okay, this one is kind difficult to justify people thinking it was good. It’s not good. Using food (specifically junk food) as a means of keeping you quiet as a child send this message: I’m too busy for you, and instead of finding comfort elsewhere, find it in food. Specifically, junk food.
The problem is that our parents just didn’t think about it. The obesity levels were lower, and it’s convenient to hand us a sucker or a popsicle to “shut us up”. Parents are busier and busier, and instead of kids being the priority, sometimes the kids shutting up is the priority. By any means necessary (cue 5 ice cream cones!)
Fast forward 20 years and you probably will do the same to your child. Only with more calorically dense foods, and the habits get passed down from generation to generation.
How can we shake these habits that our parents imparted into us?
To be honest, I don’t know if we can. I think we can build new habits that mask these habits, like stopping eating when you’re full, or chewing your food more thoroughly, or rewarding yourself with exercise.
But you’ll still want to clean your plate.
And you’ll still want a reward for a long day’s work.
And you’ll still, on some level, be a product of your parents choices they made FOR you.
So, why bother writing this? Simple.
We as a generation of people who have the knowledge we have need to stop this cycle of horrible eating. There is absolutely no reason to have obese kids with the information, quick food, and resources at our disposal. There are more leagues for sports and more parks and nicer neighborhoods and more school sports then ever….
We know more, can move more, and are in a generation of choice.
As a (future) parent, you can teach your kids proper eating habits. It’s really in your hand exclusively. If you don’t want your kids to be fat, don’t teach them to be fat. If you don’t want your kids to be made fun of for being slow or overweight or un-athletic, then don’t let them be. Your parents might have done really well, or really poorly by you. But it doesn’t matter, because your turn to shape human beings and their relationship with food is coming and that’s the important thing.