Here is a diet plan written by a 7-year old girl.
There could not be better proof about how unhealthy our relationship with food has become.
We our caught between two compelling forces pulling on us from opposite directions. The first is that food engineers can make food that overwhelms our control. Starting in the 1980’s, the food manufacturers’ scientists worked out ratios of sugar, fat and salt that trigger our evolutionary starvation reactions.
Some of us are slightly more vulnerable than others, but none are immune. Shouldn’t people just use more willpower? Shouldn’t they just stop after one?
Imagine a person who was hooked on heroin and was trying to quit. In this scenario, imagine heroin was available at minimal expense from every gas station, restaurant, vending machine, restaurant and supermarket. Imagine that everyone this person knew and saw was using it 3-5 times daily. Now here’s the real catch: imagine that if you did not at least take at least small doses of it, you would die of starvation.
However, food is harder because we are unable to stop it completely.
The other compelling force is we are exposed to more and more unrealistic images of how a human body should look. Did you know that if Barbie was life sized she would be 6 feet tall, 100 pounds and possess a 18 inch waist? GI Joe would have 27 inch biceps. Remember Mark McGuire? His steroid fueled arms were 20 inches.
Nearly every picture of celebrities we see these days in movies or magazines have been elaborately airbrushed.
Here we are being chemically manipulated to eat more than we should to aid the bottom line of the food manufacturers while simultaneously being given unrealistic targets for our appearance.
It is estimated that 80% of kids under 10 feel bad about their physical appearance and growing numbers develop eating disorders, boys and girls alike.
For ourselves and our children, where is the balance between avoiding harmful food but not creating unhealthy obsessions?
I don’t have a perfect answer. It takes communicating to evaluate the delicate balance.
Many end up rebounding if given too strict dietary controls. Yet ignoring constraints is not a solution.
The best approach for most is managing automated routines yet not stressing about occasional variations. Keep processed foods out of the house and off the normal daily menu. Don’t worry about the ‘polite bite’ when socializing. There are many where the biological drive is so strong, complete avoidance actually is easier to maintain.
You may want to take some time and journal yourself and talk to your kids about these issues.
How do I feel about my body?
Which foods will I stop eating when I’m full?
What types of fun exercise and movement do I do regularly?