My family is getting healthy. Over the past few months, we’ve been following what we call a "nutritional plan." We all drink a nutrient-packed smoothie in the morning (kale and pumpkin seeds included!), we're exercising and we're just making smarter choices at dinner time. It’s not a diet, but we’re doing our best to get those essential nutrients and vitamins in our bodies, monitoring our unhealthy snacks, and consciously eating leaner foods. And yes, this includes our 12-year old son, Adam.
For me, being healthy means feeling confident about what I'm putting into my body and more important, how it makes me feel. But teaching our kids about nutrition comes at a risk, right? My husband and I talk about what message we're sending our son. We want him to make smart choices and to be conscious of what's healthy and what's not, but we don't want to overwhelm him either. Even more, we don’t want him feeling insecure or any pressure to "diet."
I'm not sure if you've heard about the Vogue Magazine article about a mother who made her 7-year-old daughter lose 16 pounds with a strict diet. It was called Weight Watcher and I couldn’t believe what I was reading. Not because this mother wanted her daughter to get healthy, but because of the extreme measures and public action she took in the process. Once, according to the article, she deprived her daughter of dinner after learning that she consumed up to 800 calories while celebrating French Heritage day at school. Another time, she grabbed a hot chocolate out of her daughter’s hand when the coffee shop barista couldn’t tell her exactly how many calories were in it. This ridicule and public embarrassment is extreme and reeks of potentially hazardous side effects. When teaching our children about healthy habits, this cannot be the right message.
In this family’s case, the young girl needed to lose weight for her health, according to the article. For us? We're just trying to teach our son how to make healthy choices. Instead of the macaroni and cheese, opt for lean protein and greens. If you have to order pizza, take some of the cheese off first. We also got rid of soda. But around his friends, we don't restrict, and we let him choose what he wants, hoping he will someday enjoy the more healthful path.
What did you think of this Weight Watcher Mom? How would you help your child lose weight, if medically necessary? And do you think parents put more pressure on their daughters to be health conscious – than their sons?