Today’s article in the New York Times, speaks of the dangers we are facing in terms of a national health crisis for our children, if we do not reverse, forget stabilize, the numbers of obese children.
Now you know, I am all for eating. You know, I am all for eating chocolate, cake, cookies, candy. We have always, and always will love these foods. But when are we going to finally figure out, that we simply need to eat less of it all.
When are we going to figure out, that the portions of a chocolate bar, are double what they were 20 years ago. That the portions in restaurants are double. That the big Gulp drinks, fill out the calorie equivalent of a day’s worth of eating for a kid. I am not sure what the mystery is. We really are a Fat Nation. I just got back from Berlin, and I have to tell you, I did not see one fat person. Of any age. They too, have McDonald’s, Dunkin Donuts, and other fast food franchises. I am a little sick of hearing the blame shifted to all these businesses.
I am not saying that I endorse eating McDonald’s every day, that is simply bad news. Who can’t figure that out? Do we really need a degree in nutrition to figure out that eating McDonald’s every day will make you put on weight? Or a movie? Give me a break. We really have lost our marbles when it comes to weight and food. We just eat too much.
So, along with decreasing our amounts of junk food intake, let’s teach our kids to in fact, not eat everything on their plate. Sure there are starving kids in other countries, but that ain’t happenning here. We are training too many kids to be Members of the Clean Plate Club. As picky, small eaters, they need to remain connected to their small appetites, not taught to eat more, because Mommy says so.
As teenagers, they may need to be taught to eat less. To cut back. To snack less. To perhaps even, feel hunger. So many kids eat out of boredom and habit, that they get habituated to larger amounts of food, signaling their brain that they are ‘done’.
So many parents are terrified that they will induce too much shame, if they use the word ‘fat’. It has become what I call, the new “F-word”. I think more parents are comfortable saying the swear word in front of their kids, than the word: ‘fat’. But I don’t care what you call it, overweight, ‘You are taking in more food than your body needs which is not healthy’. We need to be able to have a dialogue with our kids before they spend too many years eating too much and putting on too much weight, where they can learn to eat less.
There is too much at stake. Let’s take the fear out of the F-Word, and begin a dialogue.