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Originally Posted by mamazee View Post the same time she knows it will be easily corrected now and will be harder the longer she ignores it, and looking back as an adult she feels like she wishes she had thought to start watching how much she ate earlier.

My feeling is that there is no good way to have this conversation, and all you can do is have more active family time - like play tennis instead of go to a movie - and buy better food to keep in the house.
I think that the advice to not have a conversation is misguided. Obesity is an growing concern -- 18% of teens are obese, and 30% are overweight. The stats just get higher with age, and they increase every year. I think while the potential for this conversation to go terribly wrong is huge, that we as mothers have an obligation to figure out how to talk to our children. All of our children are at risk for becoming obese because the rates just keep going up and up (if the rates of obesity continue to increase they way they currently are, all Americans will be overweight by 2048)

The notion that we shouldn't talk to our children/teens because it is difficult to figure out how to do so seems like a cop out when this is, for most of our kids, this is the most likely cause of health problems for many, many years for them.

I talk to my daughters about weight, food, theories about obesity, body image, etc. It's a topic I'm interested in and I share with my children what I learn. We talk about what kind of nutrients are in different foods, and what kinds us foods leave us feeling hungry sooner (carbs) and what foods help us stay full longer (protein and fat). I don't believe the food pyramid is a healthy way to eat, and my kids know why. (Basing a diet on grains is a recipe to get fat and have blood sugar problems).

I think the big thing to avoid in a mother/daughter conversation is any notion that one should have a particular body type to be attractive, acceptable, or loved. None of that is true. However, we need to eat right so we can be healthy and feel good, and the way we treat our bodies - even in our teens -- has an impact on our adult bodies. I also think it is helpful to find ways to be active that we all truly enjoy -- not exercising to look at certain way, but enjoying being in our bodies and using them to do fun things. I personally find it helpful to stay away from talking about what you should do, and instead focus on overall trends in the US and around the world. Making it less personal, staying away from "should", and moving toward looking at the actual studies keeps things low key.

I think that the line that to loose weight one should "eat less and move more" is bogus because there is so, so, so much evidence that it does not work. Eating less causes people to be hungry and eat more later, and moving move causes people to be hungry and eat more later. Most people who loose weight on reduced calorie diets regain it. We need to eat *differently.*

I think there is far more pressure on teens to eat junk food than there is on adults, and I therefore feel it is very important to make it extremely easy to eat healthy at home. I don't think the burden should be on an 11 year old to "watch what they eat," but rather on the parents to watch what they bring home, what they prepare, what habits they model. I also think that "watch what you eat" is very, very vague and therefore not helpful. The daughter won't get anything helpful from that, but may start feeling self conscious about eating in front of others, especially her mother.

There is no consensus of what is "healthy," and the FDA recommendations we've been taught were designed to be helpful to farmers, not to our health.

On the other hand, learning about the changes in our food supply (wheat belly is a fascinating book) and learning what recent studies show (there are several interesting lectures on YouTube, such as this one on "why we get fat"

BTW, we eat Paleo at home, but my kids eat all kinds of stuff when they are out of the house, which I am fine with. I don't have any desire to be controlling with the kids about food, but I do feel the need to balance the pizza and sodas they have out of the house with grass-raised meats, deep green leafy vegies, and healthy fats at home.

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Originally Posted by Sphinxy View Post

All the recent studies are showing that our "war on obesity" completely misses the mark, and is just fueling the food manufacturers sales of crappy empty calorie diet foods and the drug manufacturers sales of diet pills and "supplements".

I agree with you completely.

It should be a war (though I hate that term) on inactivity and crappy choices. BUT being active and making better food choices is not always going to make you skinny, nor should it. People come in all shapes and sizes - we need to get over it and stop judging each other (and ourselves) for how we look. The research clearly shows that an active overweight person is more healthy and will live longer than an inactive skinny person.
There is a difference between between "skinny" and being at a healthy weight. Healthy weight is a range for the very reasons that you mention -- people come in different sizes and that is OK.

However, being overweight or obese IS a problem. It is heavily linked to a verity of health problems. We live in a country that changed the name of a disease from "adult onset diabetes" to "type II diabetes" because now so many pre-adults are diagnosed with it. In ability to control one's weight in a healthy range is a public health issue.

It isn't healthy to be fat. It really isn't.

And while an active person who is overweight is healthier than a thin person who isn't, it is more difficult to be active when one is overweight. It is harder on one's joints. Teen girls, especially, feel self conscious about being active, wearing a swimsuit, etc when they are overweight.

The healthiest option is to figure out what your body needs in the way of food to maintain a healthy weight, and also be active.

Originally Posted by meemee View Post

this is where i disagree with ya :) sorta

our children are getting bombarded with weight all around us. as parents we dont need to add any of that.


dd and i have talks on weight and food. not because its the teens, but its something we have always talked about. it is just as much as our conversation as talking about the latest movie we saw.

dd just started middle school. i see what a huge impact it has on her life.

i understand where you are coming from Linda. i get what you are trying to say. recently dd went through allergies which restricted her diet. it had such a HUGE social and thus psychological impact on dd. THAT made me aware of how important it is HOW we talk to our children. and thus i feel instead of talking first ACT. make the changes. dont bring crap in teh house (that is non food packaged in the form of food) and as a family get active if you are not.
I think we agree more than we disagree. We both have frank conversations with our kids, and we both feel that the primary responsibility lays with us.

Of course our children and teens hear about this topic from a variety of sources, but we all know that much of what they hear will be complete BS. I'm just saying that we need to have our voices in there too.
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