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Old 03-21-2012, 03:14 PM   #1
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Default Avoiding this cycle for our children?

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to help our children develop healthy relationships with food, exercise, and weight?

None of my children are overweight, but as my oldest daughter nears puberty, I worry about her. I don't want her to go through the starving and binging that I did as a teen. I don't want her to hate herself because she's convinced she's fat even though she's a healthy weight. I want her to know how to eat all foods in moderation and to enjoy exercise as a normal part of daily life.

Overall, I try to model these things for here. I have not done the best job of it for the past while. I working at it again, for myself first, but also for my children, especially my girls.
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Old 03-21-2012, 03:45 PM   #2
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Hi only -

I totally understand where you are coming from! My daughter is 7, and I want to make sure she's developing good habits. Same for my son, who is 13, formerly heavy, and now skinny as a rail (which is no excuse to eat junk). I try to do the following:

Not give or treat food as a reward
Really limit take-out/fast food
Encourage them to eat healthy foods and snacks
Encourage them to eat a sweet every once in a while - dessert, a cookie, something in moderation. They can have treats, just not more than 1 serving, not more than once a day.
I don't tell them I "can't" eat something - it's a choice. Ex - "Mom, why can't you eat bread?" "I CAN eat bread, I just choose not to/eat less/etc".

You may feel you're not doing "the best" (whatever that means) but you are doing YOUR best. Can your best be better? Maybe - that's up to you. Your heart is in the right place - keep on doing it for all of you - you are worth it! Good luck

Trying like crazy not to fit into my genes.

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Old 03-21-2012, 06:50 PM   #3
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Try to set a good example. I think thats all we can do. I have the same fears for one of my sons
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Old 03-21-2012, 07:37 PM   #4
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Limit media. No fashion mags, not too much TV stuff, etc.

Serve healthy meals in correction portions. Have water in the fridge, cut up fruit and other healthy snacks.

Don't make a big deal about your own looks/diet stuff.

Include them in family fitness -- a walk at a the park for instance. Frisbee, bikes. For pleasure.

Praise their skills more than their looks. Creativity, strength, personal relationship skills, friendliness, honesty, etc. Esp little girls -- it's like nobody ever thinks of anything DIFFERENT to say than "Oh, you look so cute!"

And let them be them without projecting your stuff on them. They will be ok.

Hang in there!

Started Jan 2016:

Last edited by astrophe; 03-21-2012 at 07:38 PM.
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Old 03-22-2012, 07:21 AM   #5
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I wish I had a good answer. We're trying to do things very different than what our parents did for us (DH and I both have struggled with our weight) but my daughter is 3, so who knows how it will pan out in the long run?

We both believe, though, that the more information the better. So we're honest with her even at her young age about the effects of different foods. For instance, if we make dessert and she wants more we tell her that dessert is ok in limited amounts but eating too much will make your stomach hurt. Also when she questions why DH or I eat more than her we explain that the size of a person matters when it comes to how much we eat (and I point out to her that DH eats more than me).

We've been careful not to associate junk=treats. Often we have "special surprises" but that can be a wide variety of things (often just fruit) so in her mind fruit is something special, not just chocolate.

I try to include her in cooking too and I'm hoping to make sure that she learns how to cook healthy.

Like I said, I have no clue how this will work out in the long run being that she's so young. We live in a country where there's a lot of focus on your body and there's the highest % of plastic surgeries in the world so it's a big concern of mine. I also know (if she ends up looking like me) that she might have body image issues because I'm built quite differently than the average Brazilian (taller, large frame, large breasts, small hips) so in terms of her body she might look different. My hope is teach her how to dress her figure when she gets old enough and instill confidence in her body through that.

ETA: I strongly agree with astrophe on fitness too! We talk about the importance of exercise, on how it helps you grow up strong. Often if one of us is in the gym the other will stop by with her and let her look around (it's in our apt building so often we're the only ones using it if it's an off-peak hour). We walk often as a family and are hoping to sign her up for either soccer or dance soon.

Starting Measurements (B/W/H): about 51/40/46, 240 lbs Goal Reached Pre-Pregnancy: 39/29.5/38, 156lbs Current: about 43/34/42
Started at 240
Onederland 199 (Jan 6, 2010, exactly 2 years after my previous due date!)
Overweight BMI 185 (Aug 3, 2011, one year after joining 3FC!)
Pre-pregnancy weight 175 (Oct 18, 2011)
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Last edited by runningfromfat; 03-22-2012 at 07:24 AM.
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Old 03-23-2012, 12:40 PM   #6
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DH and I both grew up in households where you sat at the table until you cleaned your plate. The most difficult thing we battle is not doing that to DS12. We require that he sit at the table with us during dinner, but he serves himself the portions he wants (he does have to take at least one bite of everything) and if he's not hungry, we don't force it. Admittedly he is a rare bird - a foodie galore like his parents who will eat anything that doesn't run fast enough to get away! (If it doesn't taste good, try putting hot sauce on it. If that doesn't work, try mushrooms. Beyond that, maybe a dash of vinegar, or curry, or ... you get the idea)

And we just talk a lot - about nutrition news, about health and longevity studies, about stress ... and active, happy lives in spite of the typical American lifestyles (as presented to us by the mass media). I love to stay on the cutting edge of nutrition studies; DS and DH are happy to let me pass on what I'm learning. DH manages the garden, the little fruit orchard, and now the beehives - DS is required to help out with that.

Modeling is best - but in the times that you can't walk the talk, then at least do the talk and point out where there's opportunities to make better choices so that your knowledge is at least getting passed on.
~ Becky ~
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Old 03-25-2012, 06:46 PM   #7
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DH and I often talk about the same thing. We have two boys, 5 and 2. Our 5 year old is very lean, but he is a picky eater. Our 2 year old is a healthy weight, and also refuses a lot of what we give him. Maybe that's the age?
I grewup in the most unhealthy home in American, I firmly believe this! I was morbidly obese as a child. NO activity was encourage, if anything I was told sports were for "dumb kids", a waste of time and to focus on my studies.
We sat sat sat sat....And OMG the food we were served. Soda with every meal, all whole fat dairy, only veggeis were canned, and often we'd get a TBsp full at best. Breakfast was sugary cereal or buttermilk pancakes with syrup and butter, or a trip to the donut shop or Mcd's was a breakfast treat.

In my home now as an adult, we are exampling a healthy eating foundation.
Breakfast items are whole grain, low cal cereals, oatmeal, eggs, toast...any pancakes or waffles are homemade whole wheat (I don't add any sugar or sugar substitute) and served with fresh fruit. 90% of what we eat is whole foods, whole grains, brown rice, quinoa, coucous, fresh veggies, leans meats. I still buy the kids chicken nuggets from the grocery store, but I pay a little extra for the "healthier) ones, (lower calorie, lower fat, no added sugars, no added weird mystery stuff, all white meat)

We don't eat at fast food burger joints. We ALL drink water with every meal. The kids usually have milk with dinner, but DH and I drink water for all three meals. No juice. And no soda. We do order pizza once in a while, maybe once a month or less. Still no soda.

Our snacks are bananas, yogurt, goldfish rits crackers (with or with our natural PB). I keep one box of mini vanilla wafers on hand. The kids get a few cookies every now and again. Oh and I keep single serving half the fat ice cream in the fridge. And they have ice cream maybe twice a month.
We don't keep any other junk in the house. No oreos (yum! lol) or fruit snacks, chips, cheese doodles. Nothing like that. The kids (well my older one, little guy is too little) doesn;t ask for it.

Occasionally they pick out a treat at the grocery store, which they usually like M&Ms or Reeses, and I let them have it. Also at bday parties they have cake of course. If we go out to a restaurant, they usually get ice cream after their meal.

Nothing here is fried. All my cooking is healthy. We don't keep sugar or white flour in the house. No lard, lol. Everything is not smothered in butter and salt, like it was for me as a kid.
My kids are still kids and still like typical kid foods, like hot dogs, and mac n cheese, I just try to buy the healthiest ones, and of course, my favorite for portion control of those foods...If my son has had a typical portion of mac n cheese and wants more, I tell him if he's still hungery he can have {insert healthy option here}...most of the time he declines and is done. And I realize how many times he would have eaten another helping just because he can. Occasionally, he accepts the healthy option, like a piece of fruit or whatever, and I know, ok he was really still hungry this time.

I have relatives that are a healthy weight and grew up with a healthy eating example is that is pretty much how it was. It was the norm for 85% of their eating and at home environment to be healthy, sensible.

I am a runner and DH has gotten into biking. DS is in soccer and "runs" with me, he young so its short distances. But we make sure that being actuve is a part of our lives, and hopefully the kids will grow up seeing sports as a good, normal family thing, rather than a poor choice like I did.

I try not to obsess about eating infront of them, which is doable now since they are still so yonug. I have a starve/binge ED and I am currently trying to manage it and heal, so I do spend a lot of time tracking what I eat. But my hope is to be further a long with healing in the years to come, enough where I can appear "normal" in front of my sons.

I really feel for you with daughters. NOt that boys can't have ED, but I am actually scared of having a girl, that she will have ED issues because I some how subconscienciously pass it to her, or gentics too....

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Old 03-27-2012, 02:58 PM   #8
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I, unfortunately, have no children of my own - and I always feel so much for you parents going through this. My niece and nephew are 11 & 7, both skinny as rails and super-active with two great role models - but I still worry about them.

I can tell you, however, that I think a big reason I grew up with issues (I was convinced in school that at 5'6 and 130 lbs, I was "fat") that I truly did learn it from my mom. She was my role model, and in the absence of all other family (I grew up almost 1,000 miles away from my extended family and I lost my older sister when I was only 12) - she was all I had to look up to and she did not like herself at all. She constantly hid from cameras and always, always made comments about being "fat" and "ugly" and "wanting no photos of herself taken." She hated shopping for clothes, she hated dressing up and going out, she never thought she was beautiful or worthy, at all. It makes me tear up even thinking about her low self-esteem...and I do NOT blame her for MY problems...but, she is who I learned everything from. My mom is an amazing woman, who fought through so many challenges in life that I cannot even comprehend. I have no idea how much she weighed back then, but at 5'5, I would guess she was probably 160-175. She wasn't huge, she wasn't ugly and she never believed it (even with my dad telling her she was gorgeous all the time!) - she still doesn't.

You're a great mom for realizing this and trying to make sure it doesn't happen to your kids, most definitely! But I'd have to say one thing you can do for them is be a role model in every way - no negative talk about your own looks (or others), smile huge in every photo (even when you feel fat), always partake in life (no matter what your size) and be self-accepting always.
The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender.
~ Vincent T. Lombardi ~

Last edited by Lunula; 03-27-2012 at 02:58 PM.
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Old 03-27-2012, 03:11 PM   #9
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I'm still mulling this over in my mind. Dh likes watching weight loss shows, eg. Biggest Loser, X-weighted. A couple of months ago, I noticed after watching with him one weekend, my 8yo started talking about losing weight. She's a stick and quite active (she rarely sits still), and I don't particularly want her to even have weight loss or weight for that matter in her mind. I've since talked to him about not watching these shows around the kids, he stopped turning them on while the kids are in the room, and the 8yo has since stopped talking about her weight after multiple assurances that she is the perfect weight and perfect size and what's important is being active and eating healthy foods most of the time. She talks constantly about whatever is on her mind, so I'm fairly sure she's moved on to other things. I've just been thinking about it and how to set them on a healthy path since then.
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