twitter facebook stumble upon rss

New Year's Diets: Be Careful Who You Talk To

sign up for the momlogic newsletter Tweet This

If you do plan to go on a diet, or change your exercise routine, make it crystal clear to your kids why you're doing it.

girl looking in mirror

Dr. Nina Shapiro: The other day, I was getting ready for an early morning run. My daughter said, in a matter-of-fact way, "You run to get skinny, right?" Huh?????? "No, sweetie, I run to stay healthy. I like it. It's fun. It keeps me strong." Skinny?? My daughter is 6, not 16. My husband and I have never mentioned dieting, nor getting "skinny" by exercising. "All of the skinny mommies exercise," she went on. OK, can't argue that one. We live in Los Angeles. All of the skinny mommies do exercise. But is that how 6-year-olds see it?

On the one hand, we worry about the obesity epidemic in this country, with "super-size" now banned, and sugar-filled orange juice the new contraband. We also live in a country where, in many cities, not just Los Angeles, the body image of teenage girls is increasingly distorted, and these tenuous teenage years begin at 9, not 13. Kids are acutely aware of unspoken messages from adults, and, at younger and younger ages, their interpretations can be quite disturbing. Even if you don't have teenagers, or "tweenagers," casual dinner conversations this time of year about New Year's resolutions to go on a diet, exercise more, or change any health-related lifestyle behavior warrant explanation.

Kids are more sophisticated than we were at their age, but their inferences may still be their own, based on what they see, not on what they understand. If you do plan to go on a diet, or change your exercise routine, make it crystal clear to your kids why you're doing it. Even if it is to lose weight, they need to know, and understand at their level, that you are trying to be healthier and stronger. "Then why are you drinking only water and taking pills, mommy?" If they are asking that question, you are probably on a ridiculous, short-lived diet. Your kids will see your self-deprivation, and may infer that you do not feel worthy of eating like a human being.

Our kids are our most brutal critics, but they are also our best advocates, and sooner than we think, our mirrors. If you're doing something that looks odd to a 4-year-old, it's probably not a good thing for you, and in turn, your child.

next: 3-Year-Old Boy Kills Cousin With Cop Dad's Gun
2 comments so far | Post a comment now
hotels in alba cuneo May 5, 2010, 3:27 PM

Cold Educational,wave belief agency increase recently channel instance metal nation practice knee device read through conclusion detailed window affect appeal campaign international iron movement reach location violence officer certain declare round dinner revenue fail democratic data cash panel nature notion entitle passage around imply management demonstrate appoint dress quickly music want else initiative production available earn firm or bridge onto proper tone everything may revolution truth summer share best exactly relatively mine key language condition damage too office element cover credit regulation failure from whereas only detail say entirely end excellent farmer

Tnku January 25, 2011, 10:03 AM

earn agency or link on to proper tone everything may trend reality summer time reveal best Quick weight loss diets precisely relatively my own key language condition harm as well office component cover credit legislation failure from while just fine detail state entirely end outstanding farmer

Back to top >>