I’ve been reading posts from moms who are worried that their kids might gain weight. The links are too numerous to list. Just Google “Alle needs to save everyone.” A telling example comes from a parent who posted that she worries more about her child getting fat than having an eating disorder.
To which I say sadly, your child already has an eating disorder.
As concerned parents have most likely discovered, lecturing children about food groups and healthy fats, putting them on diets has no power. According to Dr. Donna Bevan-Lee of The Legacy Center, neither will saving your own treats after they have gone to bed. Instead, she suggests:
- Sit down with your child and a plentiful bowl of whatever you have discovered hidden away in their room.
- Ask them to help themselves.
- Sit with them and chat while they eat.
- Do your level best not to make judgmental faces nor to eyeball what they consume. (Side note: I was once on a binge at party. Stationed by the seven-layer dip, I scooped chip after loaded chip, stopping only when a friend literally grabbed my hand with a “Stop!” Try not to do that to your child.)
- Repeat process, day after day, until your child says, “No thanks,” and happily trots off to play.
- Join in the snack.
And there’s the rub. Most people argue with me about the health and viability of the process, but only at the final bullet point do they flat out balk or glaze over and change the subject. I find it so much easier to worry about my children’s food and fat than about my own eating, not eating, carb counting and burning off of each extra bite. Such might the case with another blogger, who posted that she tenses up every time her children ask for ice cream.
Some conventional wisdom:
- Most bulimics are average weight or ten to 15 pounds heavier than they feel is ideal.
- Unless you are also bingeing and purging, being ten to 15 pounds over your self-imposed ideal weight presents no real health risk.
- Most women who “look great” over-exercise, vomit, use laxatives, and/or undereat.
- A person need not be technically anorexic to be undereating.
- Your body doesn’t know the difference between purposeful starvation and regular ol’ starving to death.
- Starving people aren’t generally kind to their children.
- Addiction is not necessarily linear.
Think of the number of people you know with alcoholic parents who never touch a drink. Funny, though; they seem overly wrapped up in work. They also might spend way more than they earn, they might always end up with “the wrong guy,” or wonder aloud, “Why are all the good guys taken?” This is called addiction.
They might be fat, yet their partner is in excellent shape, and possibly always yammering about every carb that goes into everybody else’s mouths. They might be thin- to normal-weighted, but their parents are fat. Their kids are fat.
This is called passing it on to your kids.