As adults, we know what we are doing wrong and if we don’t, we should. It should not come as a shock that there are consequences to our actions. We know that we should move more and eat less but why is this so hard? Why are there so many fad diets and fad workouts? Why are we always crash dieting for an event and then binging at the event itself? (By we, I mean I.) Why does a healthy lifestyle make so much sense and yet seem so hard? Why is our culture’s relationship with food screwed up enough for the Jerry Springer Show? What are we teaching our kids by our words and our actions that so many of them are, or are at risk for becoming, obese. Parents love their children even when they are unlovable. We all want the best for them. We want them to be healthy. What are we doing wrong? I don’t know but it is Friday and since I am not up to double checking facts, I am just going to give you my opinion on what I think, we, as a nation, as a society, as parents could do better. Feel free to disagree.
1. McDonalds is not the enemy – we can blame the fast food chains all we want, but who is waiting on line at the drive thru because the kids don’t want to get out of the car? It costs more, it tastes horrible, and it leaves you feeling like you sucked all the tyramine out of a twenty pound turkey. On top of that, you get a toy with it. Great message … eat crappy food and as a bonus, you get a crappy toy. Fast food and junk food is bad for you, but the relationship we have with food is really the enemy.
2. Organized sports – how much exercise is your child getting in one hour of an organized sport? I’ll tell you that it is probably not enough. Sports are great but they can’t take the place of good old fashioned, get out of the house and come back when the street lights go on kind of play. Do kids even know how to play manhunt or climb a tree? You can blame the world. You can say that it is not as safe as it used to be and they can’t just play on their own. This might be true but we also might have to take a good long look at our own neuroses and hang-ups and give our kids some room to run.
3. Snacks – what is the deal with the snacks? Do we really need to assign a snack parent for every event? Are we afraid that they will wither away to nothing if they go a whole hour without shoving something into their mouths? Why are we so hell-bent on making sure that they never experience a hunger pang? Even if it is a healthy snack, we are sending the message that no moment is complete without something to eat. This is a bad message about food. It is necessary and enjoyable but it does not have to always be available.
4. Rewards/Punishments – Finishing your vegetables is not a punishment. Food is not a prize. Withholding food is not a punishment. Food is just food. We need it to live and it tastes good. If we give it too much power, it can literally start to organize and control our lives. We need to stop obsessing about it. Kids should not be made to finish everything on their plate. They are not going to starve. They will eat when they are hungry. Getting to eat something that is sticky, processed and comes in a bag should not be the reward for good behavior. Teaching kids that they deserve a treat can be a slippery slope. Just let them have a treat once in awhile and do it in moderation. Again, food should not have power. We need to stop making such a big deal over it.
5. Video games – I don’t think I am breaking any new ground on this one. My kids have a computer, a Wii, an iPad, an iTouch, three iPods, a couple of DS things and we have a bunch of TVs in the house. OMG! I never thought of it like that. That is like me having a masseuse, a hot bartender, a chauffer, a cook and a liposuction specialist on call at all times. Why would they ever want to move? I am lucky they haven’t already had a heart attack.
Clearly, I have some adjustments to make there but I think I will deal with the kids after the holidays.
I have a bigger problem. I am going on vacation next Saturday and will have to be in a bathing suit. Of course, I will pack more coverups than swimsuits but I would still like to feel a little less like a bloated tick. I have one week to get myself together and misery loves company.
So, Join me??
Next week I am blogging one week of healthy living before we propel headfirst into Thanksgiving. Five days and I promise it won’t be hard. (I can’t make it hard because I am doing it too and I have the will-power of a goldfish and I hate exercise.) I promise you will look and feel better by next Friday. It will be boot-camp lite! Get some friends to do it with you.
In preparation for the next two days, I will not eat or drink anything that does not have a relatively close expiration date. For instance, eerily, we may all expire before the bag of Doritos in my pantry and some of the processed cheeses in my fridge. The wine presents a problem but I guess it will have to either be really cheap or really old. Hmmmmmm.
Have a great weekend! I plan on eating some really good food, drinking some really good, old wine and seeing some really good friends. Check in on Monday morning for Da, Da, Daaaaa – Boot Camp Lite.