Growing up I can remember the times my own Mam was on a diet which looking back, seemed like constantly! Although I’m sure it wasn’t. She always had the smallest portion and you knew she meant business when the Rivitas came out. Of course I’m talking about 30 years ago and I think when you went on a ‘diet’ in the eighties, you ate Rivitas and very little of anything else. Let’s not forget the at home aerobics sessions also. My Mam has always been petite and I guess at 4 foot 11 and three quarters (don’t forget the three quarters!) she had to be conscious of her weight if she didn’t want to be little and dumpy! Her words. So I get it.
I think as parents we have to be conscious of the message we are passing down to our kids about physical appearance as well as what we class as good foods and bad foods otherwise with the increasing pressure of what we see in social media we are going to raise a generation of body and food haters. I can remember two incidences in my childhood that have stayed with me into adulthood. One, already mentioned in my bio of the distant relative who on a family visit stated I’d always be the fat one. This still makes me shake my head to this day. Who says that to a child?! Seriously. I reckon I was around 10 years old. The second incident was on a routine visit to the hospital to check up on the nocturnal epilepsy I had as a child (which I thankfully grew out of) as part of the appointment I was always weighed and measured. At the end of the appointment the doctor prodded his pen to my tummy and said ‘and we’ll have to do something about this’ yep, there it is. Shake my head incident number two. Honestly, I wasn’t even that overweight. Looking back now, in my head I was way fatter than I actually was. I’d like to think that people these days, especially medical professionals are more politically correct when dealing with chunkier kids. Maybe, maybe not?
I guess the point in this post is that I’m trying my best not to make my kids conscious of how they look and what food they should or shouldn’t be eating. I’d love my son to eat more fruit and vegetables. I’m not going to get hung up on it though as I didn’t like any veg until I was well into my teens and now there’s very little that I don’t like. Tastes change and I don’t want my son to develop a hang up just cos I want to force feed him veg! My daughter on the other hand loves it and even eats sprouts and raw cauliflower. Seriously, they’re like chalk and cheese when it comes to food, which of course makes for complicated meal times. Ha!
I don’t think for a minute that my kids are aware of me sometimes having a slightly different lunch to my husband or that I’m frantically hula-ing with my weighted hula hoop to get a smaller waist. They think we’re just having a hula hoop competition and Mammy is joining in with the fun. Likewise they don’t realise I go for a run with the dog because I’m trying to burn fat, they just think Mammy and Daddy are taking the dog out. Hopefully they’ll just learn that these are healthy choices we make and not a dreaded diet or health and fitness regime we endure.