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Thread: Parents Promote Paunch

  1. #1
    cathyweeks
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    Parents Promote Paunch

    Parents Promote Paunch


    A couple of weeks ago, I had an encounter at the grocery store that has haunted me ever since.

    I was in the checkout line, and the woman ahead of me was eyeing my produce, sneaking looks at the greens, the fruits, and the like that I was buying.

    It was one of those grocery stores where you bag your own groceries, and the woman ahead of me had a lot more groceries than I did, so she was still bagging her stuff, as I was finishing up.

    In addition to checking out my purchases, she was a chatty customer, and after glancing once more at my broccoli, said "I've never seen a more healthy batch of groceries in my life." (I guess she didn't notice the refrigerator biscuits). Then she gestured to her own bags of chips, bottles of cola, and the snack cakes, shook her head and said the haunting phrase: "I have kids at home."

    I didn't say anything. But I should have said,"yeah, so do I. They are 8 and 16." I wonder what her response would have been?

    Or what if I had said, "you are an enabler." I'm sure that would have gone over well.

    Does having kids mean you leave your good sense at home when you go to the grocery store? Does it mean you automatically buy junk food?

    I'm certainly not immune myself. Despite what my kids say, it's really not like I don't allow them goodies. My husband buys corn chips (his one real food weakness). We regularly keep Dove chocolate squares in the house, and we might have 1 after dinner. I occasionally bake, and I make a mean strawberry ice cream. And it's a ritual to go to the Ben and Jerry's next door to Whole Foods when we happen to shop there instead of the more convenient stores. But I'm struggling (and if you know my daughter's sweet tooth, you'd know why I use that word) to instill in them that treats are just that: small and occasional. To borrow a phrase from my own mother: Everything in moderation.

    I didn't know what to say to the chatty woman. Her kids are her own business. But they are learning their eating habits from her purchases, and she does have the power to not purchase the junk food. I had a co-worker who told me her 6' 6" tall, 18 year-old son regularly polished off a half-gallon of ice cream at a time, despite her telling him to knock it off. I wondered why she kept it in the house if the kid wouldn't follow the rules. Both women were enabling their kids to eat poorly.

    We are a nation of overweight people, and the epidemiologists are predicting that today's generation of children might be the first generation in a 100 years to live a shorter life than their parents. Instead of being treats, those chips, snack cakes, and half-gallons of ice cream, are becoming staples in our children's diets. Is it any wonder that 1/3 of school kids are fat?

    I know I'm probably coming across as holier-than-thou, and I'm sorry for that. It has actually been a tough road, getting our kids to eat a healthy diet. They resist it kicking and screaming. But at least they aren't like my son's friend who eats nothing but meat and processed food, and who, as far as I can tell, doesn't like any vegetable at all. My kids'll likely leave my house and eat nothing but crap for a few years. But at least they like veggies and fruit. So when they decide to eat well on their own, they have that safety net to catch them.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Lou Schuler's Avatar
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    Parents Promote Paunch

    Great article, Cathy!

    I was particularly struck by the story of the kid eating a half-gallon of ice cream at a time.

    I was curious about how much food that is, exactly. So I pulled a carton of store-brand vanilla ice cream from our freezer and looked at the label.

    A half-cup serving is 160 calories, with 9 g fat (6 g saturated), 17 g carbs (13 g sugars), and 2 g protein.

    A half-gallon would be 16 servings, which is 2,560 calories, including 144 grams of fat and 272 grams of carbs.

    My 14-year-old son eats unfathomable quantities of food, but even he would never think to eat that much ice cream at once. (Well, he might consider it, but in our house he knows he'd never get away with it.)

  3. #3
    Administrator Roland Denzel's Avatar
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    Parents Promote Paunch

    Nice, and it all rings true.

    BTW, my kids typically choose their own "desserts" for home. My daughter's ice cream is 270 calories per half cup! At least a pint of it lasts her for a week at the least and it often gets all gross and icy that she tosses it out.

    My son, on the other hand would finish it in one sitting and ask for another carton the next day (or more dessert that night). Therefore, he gets more rules and is watched much more carefully.

  4. #4

    Parents Promote Paunch

    To be fair, though, the ice cream isn't 1/2 gallons anymore.


    :tongue

  5. #5
    Administrator Roland Denzel's Avatar
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    Parents Promote Paunch

    Quote Originally Posted by "Aoife":xefgtwky
    To be fair, though, the ice cream isn't 1/2 gallons anymore.


    :tongue
    It's a crime. Yogurts have mostly gone the way of Yoplait, too.

    I saw an ice cream the other day that said "new larger size." 1/2 gallon.

  6. #6

    Parents Promote Paunch

    I dont get this. Well...I do, but I dont.

    Having kids has been a big driver for me to get into shape, and to eat well. I want to set a good example for them. I love them and want them to grow up healthy and strong. Now, I suspect on some level parents like this are of the 'I love my kids so I give them what they want' persuasion, but how is that doing the best by your kids? Surely when you love someone you want whats best for them, and whos best to make those decisions for kids, them or their parents? It feels like a lazy, copout kind of love to me.

  7. #7

    Parents Promote Paunch

    I think we can definitely limit junk and what is brought into the house. Like BjsAust's motivation, I changed my lifestyle from sedentary obese to what I am now nearly 13 years ago, when my children were very young.

    I do believe that if we give kids NO "junk" then they go out of their way to seek it out, so everything in moderation is key. However, in regards to the 18 year old who ate all that ice cream, it's VERY hard to set a limit once a kid has their own money and freedom. The mom doesn't have to buy the ice cream, but in my house, my DD would just buy her own chips or ice cream when I didn't. She'd bake cookies if I didn't bring them into the house (which is lovely, but hard for ME to resist when she did that!).

    DD had a job and a car - so all you can do at some point is hope that you've taught and role-modeled well enough for the kids to make decent choices. Obviously, that mom in the grocery store wasn't there... yet.

  8. #8
    janie_o
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    Parents Promote Paunch

    Quote Originally Posted by "cathyweeks":150sh0iv
    Then she gestured to her own bags of chips, bottles of cola, and the snack cakes, shook her head and said the haunting phrase: "I have kids at home."

    I didn't say anything. But I should have said,"yeah, so do I. They are 8 and 16." I wonder what her response would have been?

    Or what if I had said, "you are an enabler." I'm sure that would have gone over well.
    I have this discussion with clients (and potential clients) all the time. They will say their kids won't eat anything healthy and I have to remind them that they are entirely in control of the food their kids have to choose from. Kids won't eat junk food if you don't keep it in the house. If a parent is buying junk food, it does mean they are the enabler.

    People are stunned when I mention we took the kids out for sushi... and they actually ate sushi.

    I have to add, even we do occasionally buy 'junk food'... (frozen yogurt, low fat chips, etc), but as mentioned before... everything in moderation.

  9. #9
    BetterMeIWillBe
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    Parents Promote Paunch

    Thanks for putting this out there Cathy. Sort of hit home when I started to think about what was available to me as a kid at home compared to what I put into my own grocery cart today.

    I know growing up we had junk food, not tons of it but it was there. I have always struggled to keep my weight under control, even as an adult. I don't know how things would have been different had my parents handled our food/beverage consumption with more focus on healthy foods.

    I do know that if/when I do have kids of my own I will be paying very close attention to what they eat and how much. Dealing with a weight issue as a child, a teen, a young adult and then as an adult was very difficult. I would lose weight and then gain all back and then some and that made it even worse. I was always able to laugh it off, poke fun at myself and take the "razzing" with the best of them. Thing was, that was all an act and I hated being fat. I hated the way the weight made me feel and there is no way I enable that to happen to the children I have one day.

  10. #10

    Parents Promote Paunch

    In our house, we do have treats (more because of the husband than the kids), but my kids (ages 5 and 7) know the difference between healthy food and junk. Sometimes they want the junk, but most of the time they make healthy choices. There is always fruit or veggies and dip for them to snack on. I make one meal, and they are expected to eat what is put in front of them, taking at least one bite of each item ... and to their surprise they find (after a few tries) that they like nearly everything! Just like we talk about what to do if a stranger approaches them, we talk about healthy food and what happens when you don't eat healthy food most of the time. We also make staying active together as a family a priority (soccer in the back yard is a favorite right now along with hiking). Hopefully that will keep them away from the weight issues I had struggled with since puberty ... but considering my childhood diet was mostly frozen pizza, Spaghetti-Os, and PB&J sandwiches topped off with Doritos and candy, I'm hoping that just being exposed at a young age gives them the tools to become healthy non-obese adults.

  11. #11
    Bill2380
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    Parents Promote Paunch

    Junk is bad....no argument from me. But let's throw something else out there as a reason for childhood obesity.....inactivity. If a parent today fed a child the same amount and type of foods that I ate as a child they'd have a blimp on their hands. I'm going to sound like a crotchety old man here, but we moved all day when I grew up. We walked to school, played in the playground before school, at recess and at lunchtime. Then we walked home, played whatever sport was in season 'till dinner and played again 'till dark. In the summer we left the house at about 9:00 am and played something all day with only a short break for lunch. Contrast that with today's children that are driven to and from school, to their friends house to play video games and maybe to , God forbid, soccer for an hour three times a week. I won't even get into how I feel about soccer turning the nation's children into sissies. So, the moral of this rant is that a mom today can feed her child the same amount of food she remembers eating as a kid 30 years ago and still turn them into little fat asses because they don't move enough. While I'm ranting, let me say how amazed I am that the NFL has an advertising campaign to encourage kids to play.....wtf?

  12. #12

    Parents Promote Paunch

    Bill, there is also a much higher urban population than there was a few decades ago, and outdoor playing opportunities are either non-existent or dangerous for some of these kids.

    We have some nice open areas around our house but the neighborhood is genuinely too risky to leave them out there alone. Plenty of drug use, public sex and violence here on too regular a basis.

    This isn't true for everyone, of course. But for many families it's a reality of 21st Century American urban life.

  13. #13
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    Parents Promote Paunch

    I think Bill's statement is true for kids and adults. We're not as active as we once were. That can't be the final answer though, just like red is saying times are different. We can't use the same solutions our parents used because it's no longer a valid strategy. We HAVE to make a special effort to be more mobile and we HAVE to make a special effort to eat better than we do now.

  14. #14
    piper
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    Parents Promote Paunch

    Quote Originally Posted by "Bill2380":2s6j146v
    I won't even get into how I feel about soccer turning the nation's children into sissies
    I agree with everything you said in your rant, except for what you say about soccer. When soccer is played correctly, it is certainly not a sissy sport and is great exercise for kids and adults alike. I am 44 now and have been playing since I was 12 so I know what I'm talking about. It takes skill and endurance to play soccer and even if a kid isn't great at it, it's better than the kid sitting home eating donuts.

  15. #15
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    Parents Promote Paunch

    Good article. I was reminded that I read recently that the current generation may be the first in years that will not live longer than their parents, due to obesity and other issues.

    It also brings to mind the numerous times I have been in a restaurant and seen parents fighting with their kids to eat their food. The kid touches next to nothing, but is, of course, rewarded with dessert. What kind of message does that send?

  16. #16
    Bill2380
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    Parents Promote Paunch

    Quote Originally Posted by "piper":uywyuequ
    I agree with everything you said in your rant, except for what you say about soccer. When soccer is played correctly, it is certainly not a sissy sport and is great exercise for kids and adults alike. I am 44 now and have been playing since I was 12 so I know what I'm talking about. It takes skill and endurance to play soccer and even if a kid isn't great at it, it's better than the kid sitting home eating donuts.
    Sorry, the soccer rant is mostly teasing. I understand that it does take skill and endurance and I respect you for still playing. My son was almost the only boy playing football and wrestling in our semi-upper-middle class neighborhood and I was regularly told that I should get him some shiny black Umbros and shin guards so that he wouldn't turn into a Neanderthal like me. My response was usually that I'd rather he be a Neanderthal than a grass fairy.

  17. #17
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    Parents Promote Paunch

    Quote Originally Posted by "Bill2380":scuh5rye
    Sorry, the soccer rant is mostly teasing. I understand that it does take skill and endurance and I respect you for still playing. My son was almost the only boy playing football and wrestling in our semi-upper-middle class neighborhood and I was regularly told that I should get him some shiny black Umbros and shin guards so that he wouldn't turn into a Neanderthal like me. My response was usually that I'd rather he be a Neanderthal than a grass fairy.
    I've met you. You ARE a Neanderthal. :tongue

  18. #18
    Bill2380
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    Parents Promote Paunch

    Quote Originally Posted by "Mahler":5b6n8tek
    I've met you. You ARE a Neanderthal. :tongue
    You're too kind.

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