Do Most Parents Program Kids To Be Overweight, Obese?


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Do Most Parents Program Kids To Be Overweight, Obese?
© Doug Champigny, http://flirtingwithfitness.com
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Most parents want what’s best for their children and do their best to raise happy, healthy kids. Unfortunately most parents may be programming their children during their formative years to be overweight or obese in later years without realizing it. Earlier generations seemingly did the same, quite possibly resulting in today’s obesity epidemic and the ongoing struggle with weight loss.

Is Obesity Programming Started In The Highchair?

Are Children Programmed For Obesity Starting Before They Can Speak?

Your constant battle to lose weight today is the result of actions that started before you could even speak. Babies have little memory or past experience, so they have to rely almost exclusively on instinct. When you were hungry, you cried so as to be fed. When you weren’t hungry, you had no interest in eating, right?

Enter the ‘airplane game’… A well-meaning parent figured you had to eat right then, probably because they were. Since you weren’t hungry and didn’t want to eat they turned it into playtime. With a spoonful of food hovering around in the air in front of you, your parent imitated the sound of an airplane. Surprised and pleased, you smiled – and your parent zoomed that food into your open mouth. This was great fun and quickly became a regular mealtime game. BAM! You just learned that eating, when you’re not hungry, can be fun!

As you get a bit older, dessert becomes a part of most dinners, and sometimes lunch – but it also becomes leverage. No matter how hungry you are or aren’t, your plate is filled and you’re expected to eat it ALL. “There’s no dessert if you don’t finish your dinner.” How many times did you hear that growing up? Or “You’ve been good – I guess you can have a treat…”? BAM! You just learned that high-sugar-content and high-fat treats are a reward to be given or withheld based on how good you are.

When you fell off your bike, skinned your knee or were just really sad, did they give you a treat to help? Come out with a bandage and some frozen, flavored sugar-water to make you ‘all better’? BAM! You just learned that sweets are comfort foods, designed to help you feel better when physically or emotionally distressed.

Almost every child goes through these events repeated times during their formative years – the period in our lives when we’re programmed for our future patterns. And we’ve been taught that sweet, high sugar foods are comforting rewards if we’re good – and a refuge for us when others are nasty. In the high-stress world we live in today, is it any wonder that so many struggle with weight loss, yo-yo dieting, Type 2 diabetes and obesity?

Each of the ‘lessons’ we learned above is false, and your conscious mind knows that now as an adult. But your sub-conscious may well retain those memories and create urges for bad foods when you are upset or hurting – or even when you’re really proud of an accomplishment! You may or may not be willing and able to remap those urges into a healthier result, but at least you need to be aware of them and fight them when they raise their ugly, health-destroying heads.

Quite simply, your mind and body form an amazing machine well-suited to everything you normally need to do, and food is simply the fuel for that machine – nothing more and nothing less. Give your body the cleanest-burning fuel you can, learn all you can about healthy nutrition and be careful not to program YOUR children with emotional attachments to food that will lead them into their own obesity, weightloss crisis, diabetes or worse.

Eat well, live long and help your children do the same!

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2 Responses to Do Most Parents Program Kids To Be Overweight, Obese?

  1. John Antaya says:

    Now that I’m grown up and my wife and I raised 5 children I can remember my wife and I doing the same things you mentioned to get them to eat. While I eat when my body tells me to eat and not because its supper time or lunch time I can’t say the same for my children. They like these fast food restaurants which is no help when it comes to obesity as well as eating everything and anything at any time which is not good anyway. You need to listen to your body as it will tell you when its time for nourishment. Yes Doug you are right when you said how parents play games with their babies when trying to feed them. The way you explained it sounds more like force feeding and this stays in their memory and continues through their life. Wow! what a thought this has been.
    John
    John Antaya recently posted..How to Become an Alternative Medicine PractitionerMy Profile

    • You’re right on there, John! Unfortunately I did the same when my kids were small – it wasn’t until getting heavily involved in teaching fitness & nutrition that I started to recognize the patterns that lead to obesity start in infancy, continue through our formative years (in large part because of the heavy fast-food advertising on television) and have become entrenched by the time we reach adulthood. Hopefully, over time, more & more people will see what’s happening and start back on the path to a healthy lifestyle for themselves and their children!

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