or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Natural Living › Nutrition and Good Eating › musing on scheduled feedings & obesity
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

musing on scheduled feedings & obesity

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
So, I was thinking... Most of us here feel that feeding babies on a schedule and insisting that they eat a particular amount, rather than feeding when they're hungry as much as they want, is bad because it teaches them to ignore their bodies' cues in favor of following externally imposed rules. Well, MrBecca and I were talking about this and how it continues once children can feed themselves: "No snack now, you'll spoil your dinner!" and "Clean your plate!" are both ways of saying, "Ignore what your body tells you, and eat when and what and how much I tell you to eat."

Suddenly it clicked in my mind with something I learned in a health psychology class: On average, overweight people are more likely to eat in response to external cues than are normal-weight people. External cues are things like being offered food, seeing a clock that indicates it's mealtime, seeing an ad for food, etc., while internal cues are things like a growling stomach!

Could it be that children raised with rigidly scheduled feedings are more likely to be overweight later in life? It seems logical, given that they've been taught to ignore their internal cues and obey external cues. Once away from the parent who puts healthy balanced meals in front of them 3 times a day and allows no other eating, they'd have no defenses against the TV saying "Hurry into Wendy's and get a burger!", the vending machine offering a nice cold 300 liquid calories, the co-worker eating a candy bar who "makes" them want one too, the endless variety of convenience foods marketed to allow people to eat in every possible situation....

I'm not saying this is the only cause of obesity; certainly there are many factors. I'm also not saying that anybody is truly helpless to resist unnecessary eating, or that resisting is never a problem for demand-fed babies. But I think it might be another good reason to respond to baby's cues instead of forcing a schedule. What do the rest of you think?
post #2 of 5
I think the Becca family is pretty smart! That sounds dead on to me.
post #3 of 5
I think it's possible. Whenever I've eaten what I wanted when I wanted to, I've never had weight problems. I don't really have weight problems now. My parents didn't force us to eat anything and never made food a big issue.

However, I really get tired of running to the fridge every time my 3 year old decides he's hungry- especially when he doesn't eat much at mealtimes. Maybe a loose schedule is a good compromise- 3 healthy meals and 3 mostly healthy snacks.

And what about when this 3 yr old turns 13 and turns into a raving food maniac who eats us out of house and home?

Yes, I think rigid food rules are not a good idea (assuming that we have prosperity and abundance), but there should be some definite food guidelines.
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
Good point, Leafylady. Eventually (and around 3 seems about right, IMO) a kid has to learn to let hunger build up for a little while, in order to be able to tolerate times when it's not possible to eat immediately. Also, satiating every tiny craving immediately may lead to eating more food overall than if you wait a while.

One way to teach this is to have foods that take a while to prepare. Then you can say, "This will be ready in half an hour. I'm glad you're going to be hungry for it!"
post #5 of 5
Quote:
Originally posted by EnviroBecca
satiating every tiny craving immediately may lead to eating more food overall than if you wait a while.
This could just be boredom. Also, my DD likes to imitate mommy and sometimes I open my fridge to clean it!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Nutrition and Good Eating
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Natural Living › Nutrition and Good Eating › musing on scheduled feedings & obesity