Now that you are not sitting in front of the stupid box 5 hours a day, you should have some free time on your hands. Let me suggest that you use some of that time to think a little bit about what you feed your children.
Consider these FACTS:
- Childhood Obesity has tripled in the last 30 years. In 2008, one out of every 5 kids is the U.S. was Obese. This is not overweight – this is obese – FAT.
- Of these obese kids, about 70% of them have one or more risk factors for Heart disease. Seriously… 5 year old kids with risk factors for a heart attack.
- It is projected that the “baby-boomers” (people currently retiring) will be the first generation with a shorter life-expectancy that their parents (because of Obesity). This is especially concerning for the current generation of kids.
- Obese kids are much more likely to be obese adults. Obese adults are more likely to have the Diseases of Affluence – cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. All three of these shorten both the duration and more importantly quality of life.
The Real Tragedy
So Obese kids turn into Obese Adults. As a parent though, this is not what really bothers me. No, the fact that our already over-burdened medical system will likely collapse under the weight of the obesity epidemic is not the real tragedy. Neither is the fact that most of the these obese children will not see 60. Nor is the fact that the last 30 years of their life will be spent fighting debilitating medical illnesses. No, the real tragedy as a parent is the social stigma that your children will endure. Consider this:
- A classic study asked kids if they would rather be fat or have a leg amputated. Nine out of ten kids said they would rather have their leg amputated!!!
- This was confirmed in another study of previously obese adults who overwhelming chose other disabilities (deaf, blind, dyslexic, diabetic, heart disease, and leg amputation) to being obese again.
- Another classic 1961 study asked 10- and 11-year-olds to look at six pictures of other kids and rank the order in which they would like to be friends with them…. “The pictures depicted a child in a wheelchair, one on crutches, another with an amputated hand, a fourth with a facial disfigurement. A fifth photo showed an average-weight kid with no disabilities and a sixth showed an overweight kid. The overweight child was resoundingly sixth in order of preference, and spurning of the overweight child was prominent. Overweight children are regarded with disdain, branded as lazy, ugly, stupid, and sloppy.”
- This study was repeated in 2003 and the response to overweight kids was even worse.
- This process of alienation, discrimination, taunting, and down-right meanness toward obese kids begins at age three.
- Obese kids have a three-fold increased risk of suicide.
This is the real tragedy of the childhood obesity epidemic. There are enormous social and psychological consequences to being the Obese kid in the class (which only gets worse when you become an adult). There is probably no single way you can help build your child’s self-esteem (and keep others from tearing it down) than to help them maintain a healthy weight.
How to keep your child from choosing leg amputation
The Nutritional Gatekeeper
Dr. Wansink is an expert on modeling and the development of food habits. He estimates that we make over 200 food related decisions every day. This is mostly a learned (habitual) process. This process is established and crystallized very early in life. His research shows that the Nutritional Gatekeeper (MOM) of a home influences an estimated 72% of all of the food their family eats.
So if your pantry is full of chips and cookies and you think the refrigerator is mainly a place to keep your sodas and ice cream… don’t be surprised when your kid struggles to maintain a healthy weight.
Be a Role Model
The single best way to help your children maintain a healthy weight is to model healthy eating habits for them through your own food choices. In general, what kids eat now is what they will continue to eat for the rest of their life. If you eat fruits and veggies now, they will eat fruits and veggies for the rest of their life. If you eat frozen dinners, Doritos, Oreos, and wash it down with a 44 ounce Big Gulp… don’t be surprised when they end up doing the same.
Let me be clear… I do not particularly care for broccoli but I eat it all the time because I want my kids to eat it. I also don’t care for apples, pears, mango, and a whole list of other fruits. However, I eat these because I want my kids to eat them.
Remember… Your kids are what YOU eat!
The Real Problem
You probably have no idea what it means to eat healthy
I know this because after completing a 4-year degree in Biomedical Science (with a full semester of Nutrition), going through 4 years of medical school, and finally 4 years of medical training… I had no idea what it meant to eat healthy.
For a while it was South Beach… then it was Atkins… then they told us to eat only carbs… now they say no carbs??? Unless you have spent your life studying nutrition, you likely have no idea what it means to eat a healthy diet. There are just too many conflicting reports from the various forms of media that disrupt our daily lives. Each of these sources has its own agenda, most of which is to take your money (not make you healthier). Now that you are less influenced by the stupid box, you should have some free time to educate yourself on healthy eating habits.
Stop eating cows all day
Have you every thought about what you were designed to eat? Matters little whether you are a devout Christian or just finished reading Darwin’s On the Origin of Species (Evolution). They share common ground on the idea about what we are meant to eat.
In the Bible, God put Adam and Eve in a Garden, saying you may eat freely from the Garden. He did not put them on the King Ranch and tell them to sacrifice a cow and derive all their sustenance from it (milk, cheese, yogurt, butter, baby formula, steak, hamburgers, roast beef, etc.)
If you asked Darwin what we evolved to eat, I am certain he would agree with God on this one. It was not until recently that we even had access to animal products on the scale that we currently do. In moderation, animal products are an excellent source of protein. In excess, they are an excellent source of heart disease.
To really have success here, you need to learn what you should eat instead of cows. There are lots of books out there and I suggest that you read several. Books by Dean Ornish tend to be pretty good and I also find the PaleoDiet and The China Study interesting. Reader beware though, while these books all have excellent nutritional advice there is a bit of weirdo weaved into a few of the chapters.
Learn to eat FRESH fruits and vegetables … all of them.
If there is one single thing you could do to lose weight and live longer it would be to follow this simple rule. Start all meals with veggies and finish them with fruits. Eat as much of both as you want. There are so many healthy things contained in fruits and veggies. Science and Medicine have only scratched the surface to unlocking these mysteries. Study after study show that people all over the world who are the healthiest are also the ones who consume to most fruits and veggies.
Many people complain they don’t like veggies. Remember taste is mostly a learned process. You have been taught (mostly by the stupid box) to prefer other things to fruits and veggies. This process can be unlearned. In fact, the more I eat mangoes, apples, pears, etc., the more I realize that they are actually very satisfying and naturally tasty.
I suggest that you only eat the Dean Ornish diet for 3-4 months. Be hardcore about it and you will learn to like fruits, veggies, whole grain, beans, and nuts. I have no idea why anyone would want to eat this way FOREVER. However, it is an excellent way to change your preference from heavily salted artery clogging fried foods and diabetic coma inducing sugary treats, to the much healthier options provided by nature. My wife and I did this a few years back. We both lost 20+ pounds in 4 months and never felt better.
Home cooked meals
If one of the adults in your household cannot cook, then you and your kids are in trouble. There is nothing that beats cooking at home from both a nutritional and a financial perspective. Cooking need not be time consuming or complicated. If you have not already, I would strongly encourage you to invest in a pressure cooker with the respective cook book. You will be amazed at how useful and quick this devices is for preparing delicious, low cost, healthy meals using fresh veggies.
Take the Challenge
Beware - your kids will probably hate you while you implement this challenge. Don’t worry!!! It is not your job to make your kids like you. It is your job to be their parents… and this means training them to be healthy, functional adults.
Join the 21-day Challenge