More than 50 percent of children with overweight parents become overweight.
By far, the best part of getting the weight off is knowing my girls won’t struggle because I broke through while they were still young. My family’s legacy of being heavy, and battling the bulge (or, hell, just succumbing to it) is officially over, and it ended when I decided I would once and for all do what it took to address my own weight challenges and alter my life (and, therefore, the lives of my girls). I have changed the course of life for future generations in my family, and like the generations and generations of women before me who lived on one end of the health spectrum and struggled with obesity, my girls and future generations will live on the other end of the spectrum: I conquered the monster.
Research has found that weight runs in families, but it’s not just because of genetics. How families spend their time together, what we do and don’t do together, what we eat together, and how we organize ourselves as family sets our kids on their health tracks (going in the right or wrong direction) from the start. If we are heading the wrong way, we take our kiddos along with us . . . and that inevitably leads into a vicious familial cycle that is hard to escape.
I have a friend whose son was born with a cleft in his soft palate. When it was time for his repair surgery, the plastic surgeon went over the list of foods he could and couldn’t eat over the next year. He had just turned one and loved cheerios and fish crackers, like most kids his age. But it was crucial that he eat only soft foods for an entire 12 months after the surgery. So no crackers, chips, or other rigid, potentially sharp food items. My friend says she has never forgotten something the doctor asked about the purpose of feeding her baby crackers and similar items: “Why would you want to feed your child something with no nutritional value?” Isn’t it the truth?! What are we thinking? We start messing up their health right out of the gate when we could be feeding them super foods such as berries and veggies, but we dull out their palates with food with no nutritional value and we expect success and health for our children? Food serves as the fuel that propels our mind and body through every day, fuel that equips our bodies with the best defenses against disease and illness, fuel that regenerates weary cells.
Another example of early trouble is when another set of friends was getting ready for the delivery of their first baby, and were at their breastfeeding lessons. The instructors told them that at about six months of age, it was important that they allow others to feed the baby so they could “start socializing her.” Argh! It sent chills up my spine to hear that we start sending confusing messages about what mealtime is about at six flipping months old. A big part of the health struggle is that it has become entertainment, it has become social, it has become fun. All the many parts of us that promise a long, healthy life (our heart, our mighty brains, our cells) aren’t reliant on us fueling them under social circumstances or pressures, or by any constraints at all other than the best nutritional value per consumable calorie, when needed.
Check out this quote from chef Jamie Oliver: “Homicide is 0.8% of deaths. Diet-related disease is over 60%. But no one f*cking talks about it.” We have to start talking about it! And we have to start doing something about it or we will keep setting our kids up for disease-ridden, and shortened, lives (ten years shorter than our own at this rate). Our children’s generation will be the first time in recorded history that human life expectancy will become shorter than the generations before. Well, not for my children. How about yours? #100lbsGone