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The Lure of Forbidden Food

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Old 04-24-2014, 07:57 AM   #1
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Default The Lure of Forbidden Food

In this New York Times article the author discuss the effect of restrictive food practices in young children. Children are naturally inclined to be intuitive eaters but it's easy to derail that natural process of hunger and satiety by imposing food rules, restrictions and/or unwarranted access to unhealthy foods. The basic principle is to surround a kid with good food and allow them access to it, kind of like what we should be doing!

http://mobile.nytimes.com/blogs/well...orbidden-food/

A very interesting part of the article that I'd like to read up on some more is the consequences on a child of a parent who is dieting. Some parents are very restrictive with themselves and their kids and it's easy to set up a kid to respond very strongly to forbidden foods.
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Old 04-24-2014, 03:03 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Wannabeskinny View Post
In this New York Times article the author discuss the effect of restrictive food practices in young children. Children are naturally inclined to be intuitive eaters but it's easy to derail that natural process of hunger and satiety by imposing food rules, restrictions and/or unwarranted access to unhealthy foods. The basic principle is to surround a kid with good food and allow them access to it, kind of like what we should be doing!

http://mobile.nytimes.com/blogs/well...orbidden-food/

A very interesting part of the article that I'd like to read up on some more is the consequences on a child of a parent who is dieting. Some parents are very restrictive with themselves and their kids and it's easy to set up a kid to respond very strongly to forbidden foods.
Very good article. I grew up in a house with an abusive mother who was always "dieting" and very restrictive on food. I remember feeling like I couldn't eat in front of her because she would say things like, "you're going to get fat like me," and "nobody likes a fat girl." HER insecurities led me to sneak food from the kitchen, hide in the bathroom, and scarf it in secret. I was starving at meals because of her! Obviously I can't cook anything in the bathroom so it was always junk. What happened is that I gained a lot of weight and came to see food as an emotional comfort. It took me YEARS to break that cycle and I'm now slowly, but steadily, losing the weight as well as learning what is good to eat and what is good to avoid. I 100% blame her for my weight issues as she was my primary care giver as a child (dad was Navy) until she left us when I was 9. By then the poor foundation had been laid
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Old 04-24-2014, 08:02 PM   #3
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I do not have children. However, I see some things in my family that annoy me. They put a plate of food in front of a kid, which may or may not include a healthy variety of foods, depending on the parent. Then, when the kid doesn't eat as much as the parent thinks they should, they try to force more food into the kid. So the child is full, and now you're making that child stretch the stomach out, confusing natural food signals, and making the child less aware of their own feelings, simply because they didn't eat enough to satisfy the parent. I see how children eat. It's natural, it's normal, and somehow, some parents I have seen think that we need to change it. I wish I had the intuitive eating patterns I once had as a child. I am still confused about whether I am actually hungry or not sometimes, or whether I should be done eating. Sorry I got off topic from the article, but this was another food practice I have witnessed firsthand that I think contributes to children having weight issues.
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Old 04-24-2014, 08:24 PM   #4
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I keep my kids (and wife) out of my diet. I eat separate meals. They are most welcome to try (one of my son's loves my canned fish) but if they eat fried chicken and ice cream so be it. My diet is my problem. Not theirs.
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Old 04-24-2014, 08:50 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by stunningsparkle View Post
Very good article. I grew up in a house with an abusive mother who was always "dieting" and very restrictive on food. I remember feeling like I couldn't eat in front of her because she would say things like, "you're going to get fat like me," and "nobody likes a fat girl." HER insecurities led me to sneak food from the kitchen, hide in the bathroom, and scarf it in secret. I was starving at meals because of her! Obviously I can't cook anything in the bathroom so it was always junk. What happened is that I gained a lot of weight and came to see food as an emotional comfort. It took me YEARS to break that cycle and I'm now slowly, but steadily, losing the weight as well as learning what is good to eat and what is good to avoid. I 100% blame her for my weight issues as she was my primary care giver as a child (dad was Navy) until she left us when I was 9. By then the poor foundation had been laid
I hope you will take this in the respectful and friendly tone it is intended. Saying you blame your mother 100% for your weight problems is not helping anything. Assigning blame is rarely helpful anyway...but you have to take responsiblity for your own issues if you ever hope to get past them. We each have to be responsible for our own thoughts, actions and eating...especially now as adults. Your mothers issues probably contributed to your overeating as a child and to the habits you developed...but you are an adult now and you make your own choices.
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Old 04-25-2014, 01:44 AM   #6
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I hope you will take this in the respectful and friendly tone it is intended. Saying you blame your mother 100% for your weight problems is not helping anything. Assigning blame is rarely helpful anyway...but you have to take responsiblity for your own issues if you ever hope to get past them. We each have to be responsible for our own thoughts, actions and eating...especially now as adults. Your mothers issues probably contributed to your overeating as a child and to the habits you developed...but you are an adult now and you make your own choices.
True 100% is harsh. I am an adult and yes I do make my own choices. However, many of our choices as adults are heavily influenced by the foundations that are laid down as young children. My first instinct as a child was to survive her abuse and get food. I was put in situations as a child that nobody should ever be. It took YEARS to come to an understanding of what happened in my childhood and how it impacted so many aspects of my life.

I am losing weight because I chose to put good foods into my body. I am losing weight because I finally understand that food is not meant to comfort, it is meant to sustain. I am losing weight because I chose to go exercise and do something good for my body. I am losing weight because I am an adult and I make my own choices.
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Old 04-25-2014, 06:58 AM   #7
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I do not have children. However, I see some things in my family that annoy me. They put a plate of food in front of a kid, which may or may not include a healthy variety of foods, depending on the parent. Then, when the kid doesn't eat as much as the parent thinks they should, they try to force more food into the kid. So the child is full, and now you're making that child stretch the stomach out, confusing natural food signals, and making the child less aware of their own feelings, simply because they didn't eat enough to satisfy the parent. I see how children eat. It's natural, it's normal, and somehow, some parents I have seen think that we need to change it. I wish I had the intuitive eating patterns I once had as a child. I am still confused about whether I am actually hungry or not sometimes, or whether I should be done eating. Sorry I got off topic from the article, but this was another food practice I have witnessed firsthand that I think contributes to children having weight issues.
Indeed it is very upsetting. Think about the role of food in a baby's life. When I was breastfeeding my son I would do so on demand. Every time he cried he would be fed and he would stop crying. There was no schedule (I know a lot of people formula feed and try to get their babies on schedule but you cannot do that with breastfeeding), so it was at all times of the day and night that he would be fed at his discretion. This went on for about a year and a half and we introduced food around 6months but it wasn't a big deal.

But as soon as most kids start eating they get rules imposed on them. You can't eat this. No you can't have a snack, you have to wait until dinner time. You have to finish all your food. One more bite, one more bite. You can't have dessert unless you eat your broccoli. If you do what I tell you to do you can have a cookie.

My toddler now is getting very difficult around food and has been refusing to eat any dinner at all! Last night he wanted me to bathe him and I found myself saying "there's no bath unless you eat some dinner." Which is horrible, I wouldn't want anyone telling me to eat or not eat or whatever but at the same time a mommy doesn't want to see their kid skipping entire meals regularly so it's a tough call!

There are some decisions I've made that I will not cross

- I never tell my kid to finish his meal
- I try never to force him to eat
- I don't nitpick his eating. I'm pretty happy if he tries the food and then leaves it.
- if he doesn't like what we eat that's all that is offered, he can't have something else
- I never argue with him if he says he doesn't like something
- I try to keep wholesome snacks around and allow him access to them

The only time I feel utter stress is when he refuses food outright and it's been several hours since his last meal. I do hate to send him to bed without food.
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"Binging is a descent into a world where every restriction... is cut loose. At its core is a feeling of deprivation.. a feeling you can never get enough. Binges do not signify a lack of willpower or inability to care for yourself. On the contrary, binges are a urgent attempt to care for yourself when you feel uncared for. They are the voice of survival. Binges are the mark of the self that says, 'I am tired of feeling deprived, of being told I am wrong, that I am bad." - Geneen Roth
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Old 04-25-2014, 07:01 AM   #8
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I keep my kids (and wife) out of my diet. I eat separate meals. They are most welcome to try (one of my son's loves my canned fish) but if they eat fried chicken and ice cream so be it. My diet is my problem. Not theirs.
I'll never do this, meals are meals are meals, there's no separate in our house. Dinner is together and I try to model good eating habits for my son. Since he was 6 months old he's been eating exactly what we eat at the table, he never received separate meals than us or vice versa. This is exactly what the article is saying about dieting behaviors having a negative effect on children.
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"Binging is a descent into a world where every restriction... is cut loose. At its core is a feeling of deprivation.. a feeling you can never get enough. Binges do not signify a lack of willpower or inability to care for yourself. On the contrary, binges are a urgent attempt to care for yourself when you feel uncared for. They are the voice of survival. Binges are the mark of the self that says, 'I am tired of feeling deprived, of being told I am wrong, that I am bad." - Geneen Roth
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Old 04-25-2014, 09:29 AM   #9
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I never separated meals with my boys either and they are now 28 and 30, both wonderfully comfortable with food and healthy weight. Mealtime was and remains a family bonding highlight of the day, I prepare one meal and we all enjoy it with some eating more of one thing or others. My boys are both amazing cooks now and send me pics of the beautiful meals they prepare and I'm delighted to see they appreciate the healthy color of lots of vegetables.

My mantra always was eat what you want, stop when you're full. We ate healthy. It not over the top with treats here and there. I'm just glad I did these things.
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Old 04-25-2014, 09:55 AM   #10
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I'll never do this, meals are meals are meals, there's no separate in our house. Dinner is together and I try to model good eating habits for my son. Since he was 6 months old he's been eating exactly what we eat at the table, he never received separate meals than us or vice versa. This is exactly what the article is saying about dieting behaviors having a negative effect on children.
No its not. The article talked about food restrictions. IanG is welcoming his kid to give it a go, but not forcing anything in either direction. Kudos to you Ian. Just like workouts, there isn't necessarily a one size fits all for family models for food, and a household that is loving and welcoming is eons greater than what many of us have experienced.
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Old 04-25-2014, 11:09 AM   #11
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No its not. The article talked about food restrictions. IanG is welcoming his kid to give it a go, but not forcing anything in either direction. Kudos to you Ian. Just like workouts, there isn't necessarily a one size fits all for family models for food, and a household that is loving and welcoming is eons greater than what many of us have experienced.
Well, it is kind of. When you're modeling a certain kind of eating and allowing a different of eating then that's problematic to me. If Mommy is constantly "not allowed to eat cake, fried chicken, etc" you're undeniably sending a message that some food is good and some food is bad. It all depends on your goals however, my goals are to model a good relationship with food for my kid.
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"Binging is a descent into a world where every restriction... is cut loose. At its core is a feeling of deprivation.. a feeling you can never get enough. Binges do not signify a lack of willpower or inability to care for yourself. On the contrary, binges are a urgent attempt to care for yourself when you feel uncared for. They are the voice of survival. Binges are the mark of the self that says, 'I am tired of feeling deprived, of being told I am wrong, that I am bad." - Geneen Roth
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Old 04-25-2014, 11:43 AM   #12
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Well, it is kind of. When you're modeling a certain kind of eating and allowing a different of eating then that's problematic to me. If Mommy is constantly "not allowed to eat cake, fried chicken, etc" you're undeniably sending a message that some food is good and some food is bad. It all depends on your goals however, my goals are to model a good relationship with food for my kid.
How is this a reflection of goals? Instead its a different means for the same goal - I have no doubts myself that IanG wants his family to have a good relationship with food as well. All he is modelling is choice - he chooses to eat what he eats and he's allowing his kids to also choose. They happen to choose different things.
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Old 04-26-2014, 06:30 AM   #13
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My two cents because I think this is an important topic. First, I appreciate all opinions here and feel everyone is trying to find their own healthiest way to be. So the following is simply based on my life experiences, especially being the father of a 3.5 year old.

I do truly believe that food is the most powerful medicine in the world. A spinach leaf, as just one example, took millions of years to evolve and probably has tens of thousands of compounds in it. It is by far much more complex than the most complex human developed medicine ever. So, to me, if you want cutting edge medicine eat good food.

Mommy and daddy for our daughter do not eat cake anymore. We don't explain it as 'forbidden' and that actually doesn't come up. But if it did we would say we choose not to because it isn't good for us. We do restrict foods, much more for us, than our daughter, but that actually doesn't come up. Why? There is such a variety of food in our house I don't think any of us, including our daughter find it restrictive.

Just one example. We have 85% cocoa dark chocolate. Our daughter loves it and that is her chocolate. We are teaching her at an early age though that there are 'good' and 'bad' foods if you want to say that we tell her there are foods that are good for her and make her healthy and strong and growing big and strong and happy. And we tell her there are foods that will not make her feel good and will not help her grow big and strong.

But she is not grain free. We are heading that way but we are not so restrictive now. We allow her much more fruit than we allow ourselves. That is fine. She can handle many more carbs than my wife or I can, but we do not allow fruit juice..ever. We also realize that fruit now is much sweeter than it used to be. This isn't GMO but just breeding. There are many articles out about that. So we don't allow her unlimited fruit.

One big change we've made is an egg for every breakfast. We were giving her oatmeal long after we both went grain free. She was having some overly active behavior at school. Not so much on weekends when we had more time to cook breakfast and never had oatmeal.

So we cut out the oatmeal. She was happy and good natured before. She is now even happier and more good natured. More involved. She has blossomed since the food change. It might be coincidence it might not. Both my wife and I though are much happier and have much better sustained mental energy on our WOE. So why wouldn't that apply to kids as well?

In any case in our house food is both enjoyment and the most powerful form of medicine we take. And to us that we can take. She is growing up learning about both aspects of food. We feel this is the healthiest way. And as I said there is such a wide variety of food to choose from she has never said or implied she feels restricted.

That being said we do not restrict her to our level. She is going to a party today and will have cake probably and pizza. But at home she eats what we eat and is a very happy and healthy eater. Her chips are pork rinds, we bake with coconut, almond, and tapioca flours, so she has baked goods.

But asbolustely a core lesson we are teaching her is that there are healthy and unhealthy foods. But there is a WIDE variety of healthy foods that taste great and those are the foods we choose to eat. We don't want to eat the unhealthy foods because they will make us feel bad (physically and mentally but not feel bad as in guilt) and are not good for us.

And our N = 1 with our daughter she is much happier and healthier 24/7 since we have restricted her foods more than before. Not as much restriction as us, but more than before for her. So if you want to call choosing healthy foods, as we see it, for her most of the time as food restriction, so be it. It is hard for me to feel that way simply because there are still so many hundreds, thousands of foods for her to eat and we are always creating new recipes. In any case, it seems to be working wonderfully for her.

Also there is literally no dieting in our house. Before we restricted food groups there was. We had to try to restrict calories when we were eating grains and more carbs. To try to get healthier, it didn't work for us. Now our weight loss is a totally organic experience. Mommy and daddy eat as much as they want, they are just so full that doesn't come up. She never hears either of us tell the other you took too much or you shouldn't have that or any of the topics that ironically used to come up all the time when we were not restricting foods. Now because we are choosing healthy foods all the time and so much fuller on fat those topics never come up. Never thought of that till now. Pretty ironic that counting calories and not being happy with our food choices doesn't come up now that we've restricted food.

So I guess I am saying it works for me, my wife, and my daughter. And we don't restrict her food amount intake AT ALL. When she is hungry we let her eat, any time of day or night. If it is healthy food we have no problem with that at all. Just like we have no dieting at all for us. She is never going to hear that word from us at least ever. It is all going to be about Way of Eating.
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Old 04-26-2014, 10:20 PM   #14
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How is this a reflection of goals? Instead its a different means for the same goal - I have no doubts myself that IanG wants his family to have a good relationship with food as well. All he is modelling is choice - he chooses to eat what he eats and he's allowing his kids to also choose. They happen to choose different things.
I can't speak for IanG and I don't doubt that he wants his family to have a good relationship with food. But I can't agree that he is just modeling choice, there is a lot more being modeled here than just choice. Just because we allow our kids to eat what they want and do not force them to diet along with us does not mean that they are not learning our behaviors. We model what we eat. Kids eat what we eat. I don't think any good can come out of scaring kids into "good foods" and "bad foods."
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"Binging is a descent into a world where every restriction... is cut loose. At its core is a feeling of deprivation.. a feeling you can never get enough. Binges do not signify a lack of willpower or inability to care for yourself. On the contrary, binges are a urgent attempt to care for yourself when you feel uncared for. They are the voice of survival. Binges are the mark of the self that says, 'I am tired of feeling deprived, of being told I am wrong, that I am bad." - Geneen Roth
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Old 04-27-2014, 01:50 PM   #15
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I have a different take on this because of my very ill childhood years, which were littered with various doctor-imposed food restrictions. They were all meant to help (lots of food allergies suspected, and then lots of different approaches taken that acknowledge food as a powerful medicinal tool), but to a little one, it was just endless restriction and so unfair. I snuck-ate a LOT of junk food. I'm sure I secretly undid a lot of the good efforts being expended. It's so very sad to think about now, but I don't blame anyone, including me. Harsh restriction - even when it's for "good" reason - is just so very tricky for kids.

In the last few years I've snuck-ate "bad" foods (junk, food that I know makes me ill) only when I was being my most restrictive diet-wise and had limited calories strictly for a prolonged period, which was helpful in the sense that it was eye-opening. I generally have a great relationship with food now and rarely if ever feel deprived by all the things I choose not to eat - I feel great as an adult, choosing my choices and all that. But I do think back on childhood with a lot of sadness - I'm not sure how anyone could have done better, but it's still sad.
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