What was your experience of food as you were growing up? Your parents approach to healthy eating? Your parents thoughts about dieting? I hope it was a positive one.
For me I grew up in a house where we ate the same foods each week and we weren’t very adventurous although to be fair much of this was because my dad worked a more than full time job and cooked because my mum was well enough to. When I had concerns about my weight in my teenage years my mum exclaimed she wasn’t having me getting worried about weight things at my age. Our food was not unhealthy but my weight certainly was.
So since my early teenage years I have been unhappy with my weight and have tried different ways of losing weight including several years of Weight Watchers and Slimming World. In those years I learnt that somethings you shouldn’t eat and somethings you should. The ‘shouldn’t eats’ became more appealing, FAR more appealing. The ‘shouldn’t eats’ were things you only had a treat or on special occasions and when you did have them it was GOOD.
So in the times of losing focus, losing motivation, losing heart, feeling overwhelmed, useless, a failure, fat, lonely and not worth the effort, I would turn to the shouldn’t eats, the treats, the things you only have on special occassions, and eat them without care.
Problem is that I would come back from those times of lost focus or come out of my overwhelmed state to find myself more overweight that I was and so having further to go to fix it.
It frustrates me and annoys me that I have made my journey longer and harder but at the same time I know there’s nothing I can about it. Except learn to not lose heart when things are tough. I can also learn from the experience and I can share that with others.
I already wrote a post on things being permissible but not always being beneficial which is certainly on of the big things I have learnt BUT it’s also taught me a lot about the treats and special occasions food mindset. (See that post here)
If we teach our children that sweets and chocolates are a treat and only for special occasions we do not teach them moderation and we make them more appealing and tempting. If we teach our children that we can have these things whenever BUT we have to have them in moderation we teach our children that these things are just another type of food but to be wise with how much we have of them. When something is BANNED I want to have it more.
Maybe that’s my mindset but I have seen it with my biggest boy, Zachary. I have never had bans on when Zac can have certain food because of how I viewed food and knowing the impact that it had for me. Zac can have a little bit of chocolate or some sweets when he asks nicely, sees someone else with something or when I need to blackmail him with something (!). He knows he can only have a little (often saying ‘just a bit’) but actually rarely asks for them despite knowing where in the cupboard they are.
Don’t get me wrong I know he’s not yet 3 and he’s not a scientific study but at the moment he has a healthy approach to ‘treat’ like foods that we will continue to instil in him in the hopes that as he becomes old he will have ingrained in him a healthy mindset, even if it’s something he forgets for a few years in between when he first starts buying his own foods.
I guess it’s similar to a friends experience of alcohol. His parents didn’t allow him any alcohol at all as he was growing up so when he hit 18 he spent much of his time drinking too much, being irresponsible and not recognising the impacts of alcohol on his system. This in comparison to someone who has tried alcohol at home with their parents in a safe environment, recognising when they’ve had enough that it perhaps is changing they response is less likely to binge because alcohol is a new experience but more likely to do just it just because they want to. Hmmm perhaps that argument is a little light but hopefully you get the gist of what I mean!
Anyway, the whole of my post is just to encourage you based on my experience to not make foods banned, shouldn’t have, special occasions food but rather to make them everyday, normal, in moderation food.