Friday, March 30, 2012

Your Turn

With the whole Vogue mom thing this week, there has been a lot of discussion about children and diets. I would love to know your thoughts about them. When is it necessary? When is it too much?

38 comments:

bflogurl said...

I'll go first:

We have 4 children, 2 boys and 2 girls. The boys couldn't be any leaner- and they can eat up a storm. The girls on the other hand (like most women) have a tendency to have some extra... um, softness. They are also going through puberty which doesn't help matters.

We wouldn't put any of them on a "diet" per se, but are very frank about what foods are great for their bodies and which ones are not... we basically push whole, unprocessed (preferrably organic) foods and the other stuff should be consumed at a minimum. Catch phrases around here are "If man made it, don't eat it" and "Garbage in, garbage out" meaning- anything you can hunt for, fish for or pick= great choices.

Having sad all that- I have to go see what this Vogue Mom thing is....

Cathy said...

If the pediatrician says the kid is overweight, or the parents realize that they are outside the healthy range, then a change needs to be made. But I am terribly against calling it a "diet" - that could cause the kid to get a complex, or for them to think of it as a temporary thing. It should be referred to as something along the lines of "making healthy lifestyle changes" and increased physical activity should also come along with healthier eating.

Lauren said...

Well, without giving away too much about myself, I have to say that in my line of business, I see a lot of obese kids. Not pudgy or chunky, but obese. I have a memory of one kid pointing out a "honeydew melon" to his mother, who quickly corrected him and told him it was a papaya. It was actually a pineapple. I don't think a diet helps a child, I think they only see it as some sort of punishment, especially if they have been rewarded with treats most of their life. However, I do think kids need RESTRICTIONS. And that means all children, not just heavy set ones.

Lauren said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Janet296 said...

If your kid is obese and borderline diabetic, then a change in diet is the right thing to do. I think she took it too far. Constantly complaining about the fat and calorie content in food probably isn't the best way.

DixieTheNoble82 said...

My daughter is 9 and loves to eat but is also super active. Only way she'd be put on a diet is if she became unhealthy. I also won't allow her to diet "just because" before she is 18. The earlier you get a girl thinking she has to restrict her eating for no reason what-so-ever the worse, IMO.

hunter said...

My mom always made us super healthy food and it sucked but we were never fat.

She also told us that it is natural to get heavier right before a growth spurt, which may be true.

The Vogue mom thing (she was an asshole), she should have left her kid alone.

DixieTheNoble82 said...

Forgot to add that we are also very open with her about what foods are good & bad for you like @bflogurl is with her kids.

EmEyeKay said...

Many times I've wanted to punch a Vogue writer in the face.

I see quite a few overweight kids at the middle school but it hasn't been an issue for me and mine. We do talk a lot about healthy choices, but I try to balance what we eat and not put a ban on all junk food. That's how it was growing up for me, swore I wouldn't do that if I became a parent. Tell a kid "you can't have this" and that's ALL they will think about.

DueDiligence said...

"Diets" rarely have a lasting impact because the very concept of it is that you are engaging in a temporary change to achieve a goal.

All parents need to get educated about what healthy eating really is. It is not merely a matter of WHAT you eat, but WHEN and WHY as well.

Any time poor eating habits appear, there needs to be a change made (regardless of whether or not the child is over weight).

AKM said...

@Lauren - I don't understand the melon/papaya/pineapple story...

Oh, and I'm not a parent, so I'm not going to weigh in on this topic, pun intended.

Maja. With a J. said...

I think you guys have said everything that needs to be said. If your kid is unhealthy, then yes, of course, introduce them to better foods, but I really think the D-word should be kept from children. Especially little girls. They have enough pressure even without their parents teaching them how to count calories.

Maja. With a J. said...

AKM - the family was unfamiliar with fresh fruit, is how I interpreted it.

billybob said...

I’m not a parent but know never to mention the ‘d’ word in front of the kids in our family/social group.

Lauren said...

@AKM, sorry, I got pulled away from the computer and didn't realize the story wasn't finished.

I just find it sad that the kid and their parent didn't even know what fruit they were looking at. The kid was obese and the mom was obese, and if memory serves me, so was the grandma. Just a sad commentary, I guess.

MISCH said...

My grandfather was overweight, my mom said my grandmother didn't actually have her and my uncle on diets but no soda, juice was slightly diluted , no bread on the table with meals, healthy snacks lots of fruit .
And since she was a stay at home mom she really kept tabs on what they ate...but for some reason they never felt they were deprived. And weekends were a free for all..
To this day she eats that way.

Pazitively Hot said...

Growing up, my mother always said "there's nothing wrong with a *little* anorexia".

Best advice I ever got.

Thanks mom.

chickieboo said...

I'm with Lauren.

Little Miss Smoke and Mirrors said...

I don't know anything about "Vogue Mom," but I've been reading "In Defense of Food," whose mantra is "eat food, not a lot, mostly plants." It's really a takedown of the whole food industry and the prevalence of processed foods. The correlation between eating-related disease in the West and the rise of processed foods we eat is astonishing. It really has me rethinking what I eat. It's not a diet, it's just common sense. "Don't eat things your grandmother wouldn't recognize." I've been playing around with it and have noticed the more I eat real food, the more satisfied I am, and I therefore eat less.

Jasmine said...

Okay *big breath as I wade into this* sooooo....

My mom and dad were always thin and appeared healthy because they had fit bodies BUT they smoked and drank and my dad is a chronic weed smoker.
So they're unhealthyness was less apparent than an overweight person.

My mom taught me some valuable life lessons I still take with me, such as not keeping soda/sugary drinks in the house and drinking water copiously throughout the day. GREAT things to teach kids, as soda seems to really be a way people pack on that unhealthy belly weight.

HOWEVER, she kind of had an attitude of live and let live with my eating, and so I DID become overweight because I ate how much and what I wanted, for the most part.

So I think there should be a careful balance of educating your kids by example of what YOU eat and also giving them some leeway to make their own decisions.

Saying all that- I think not every kid is going to be lean and athletically built. And I firmly believe those BMI charts at the doctors DO NOT take into account different sized people who may have bigger bones. And I also think everybodies idea of what "healthy" is should also be more fluid for the child's sake. I think every parent should be very careful how they monitor their kid's bodies and food intake.
For instance my dad (at my biggest) lifted my pants up and say he could fit into them, as a joke. And my mom made pointed comments about how much food I was putting on my plate.) All things that ARE NOT conducive to forming healthy eating habits as this only made me want to eat secretively- which is a big no no and can lead to real serious eating disorders and habits.

All that aside- I think the MOST importnat thing PERIOD, with a thin or fat child is let them KNOW that you see them as the most beautiful person in the world. Could my mother have given me more food boundaries? FUCK YES. But everyday (no joke) she told me before I left the house that I was beautiful, and although I suffered my fair share of being teased for being overweight at school I ALWAYS remembered that, and it gave me strength. And now I know I am beautiful and I dont hide who or what I am.

EmEyeKay said...

@Jasmine - your mom is the BEST.

I tell the short one the same thing every day, and it's true. I can only hope it sinks in. Apparently it worked for you, so I have a little hope now. Middle school is rough.

Jewels said...

I try not to eat foods that contain ingredients I can't pronounce... We all eat in as natural state as possible, so much so, that our daughter has become picky in a way where since the age of 5, she asks for real cheese in her grilled cheese sandwiches (she will not eat those processed cheese slices...). We don't diet, but do follow a healthy lifestyle. And this doesn't mean we won't indulge in junk food every once in a while, but it's certainly not a staple in our home.
Now, what's this about the Vogue mom??

Krab said...

I have two children. One is a teen boy who is 6'5" and 160 pounds. One is a teen girl who is 5'11" and 260 pounds. Growing up, I was tall and skinny, but my mother always told me I was fat and put me on diets. (Because SHE needed to go on a diet. If you can't control your own weight, control your child's!)

I have always tried to teach my kids to eat healthfully, but my daughter has been chunky since she was a toddler. I tried to emphasize better food choices, but my son eats junk. My daughter eats better, but she's still obese. It's all a can of worms and depressing. Believe me, you're considered a failure in America if you have a fat kid.

Lizzie said...

Sometimes, doctors don't always help with self image. My daughter was always on the thin side. When she was at a check up, her doctor asked her if she was a dancer? I said no, and I must have had a weird look on my face, because he went on to say, he wondered, cause she was 5 lbs under weight...
2 years later, she had enter puberty. He was very concerned, cause she was 2 lbs over weight...What??? He had such a thing for people wieghing exactly..exactly what they should..just weird. And what a mixed message to send.
Well balanced meals, and correct servings are important to just do, not discuss all the time..just do it.
And people come in all shapes and sizes, what diet is right for one, can be horrible for another. As a society we need to get beyond labels, and instead of making people feel bad about themselves, lets help by encouragement, and example.

Krab said...

Plus, when you have a child who the entire world disapproves of because of her size, the last thing you as a loving parent wants to do is join in the chorus. Let her have one person who thinks she's perfect as she is.

seaward said...

When I was in junior high, I had a friend whose mom constantly had her on a diet. It was ridiculous. She wasn't really skinny, but she was TALL, and just had an athletic build. All the kids at school made fun of her for it ("haha her mom has her on a diet! Can you believe it?") Kids are BRUTAL, and after seeing the way she was treated, I would never ever put a kid on a diet. Maybe more guide them in the right way and lead by example, but no diets.

Nutty_Flavor said...

Mother of a 7 year old. We eat healthy meals and have the "big four" rule for snacks: you can have a piece of fruit, some chopped veggies, a piece of wholegrain bread or a glass of milk. If you're not hungry for one of the big four, you're not really hungry.

Nutty_Flavor said...

Btw, we are American expats living in Europe, and have found that Yanks who move here almost always lose weight. There's just fewer weird chemicals and hormones in the food. Plus, food is at least twice as expensive, at least in Northern Europe, sometimes 3 times as expensive. A 12oz/half liter bottle of Coke that costs 5 bucks is not all that appealing, and you are certainly not going to drink more than one.

Me said...

well my kids are in the opposite end of the issue, 1% in weight for their age. i think part of this is just natural body type. i've only known one child that would really fall into a problem weight, and both of her parents weighted ove 300 lbs. so really, is that any surprise?

i don't think i would ever put my kids on a diet. my ex is fond of telling one of the kids that ahe is fat. i brought her peditrician into the loop to show her that that is NOT the case. took about a year for her to accept it. i think we are done with the obsession about food and calories with that one. kids are SO sensitive. it seems any focus is distorted and gets things off balance.

Mango said...

I just googled and read the article about the Vogue mom and it said that she "publically humiliated her daughter". She sounds like an asshole. She did get the girl to lose 16 pounds but how does her daughter feel about her now? What is their relationship like? I guess it doesn't matter because the NY socialite now has a daughter with a healthy body mass index and that's all that really matters.

I have a good friend who has an 11 year old son who is really big. The kid is an phenomenal eater. My friend doesn't like to cook and makes all sorts of excuses (stove is broken, no groceries, too busy, whatever) so they eat out. A LOT. The kid is ENORMOUS. He looks about 3 years older than he is. And what's worse is her baby daddy is Polynesian (and well over 300 lbs) and those folks can be genetically large and their culture is all about family gatherings and lots and lots of eating. One night we met for dinner at a friends house and our hostess set out a wheel of brie and some fruit and the boy parked himself in front of it and was cramming cheese and biscuits and fruit down his throat like he was starving. Then at dinner My Friend made a big show of having him taste what the adults were having for dinner. (She makes this big deal of having him try everything when, trust me, there needs to be some foods that this kid just won't eat). I later found out that he'd had a DOUBLE fried filet of fish sandwich before they arrived. It's all I can do not to say something (she'd bite my head off) but she is enabling him. So I dunno, maybe Vogue mom is not so bad after all.

Shallow Gal said...

My daughter is 12, dances competitively 5 days a week, and is still overweight. We try to keep it healthy at home and we stay out of the fast food places, but I REFUSE to EVER shame her in public for her food choices. Believe me, it won't keep her from eating something she shouldn't, she'll just go underground with it and become a closet eater.

With Vogue mom, her daughter was young enough to where mom could have put daughter on a diet without her even knowing it. No reason to shame or humiliate her.

I would never say it's okay for a child to be overweight, but you must tread so carefully on how you chose to deal with it. I think the little girl could have lost weight without her mom acting like such an ass.

thistleflowers said...

My daughters are both very fit and athletic kids, but still struggle with feeling like they are fat. It's ridiculous. Their friends started telling them they had fat legs (they have beautiful, muscular legs) when they were in kindergarten. We never use the "F" word in our house. I have always emphasized eating well to be healthy. We talk about making healthy choices and that being super skinny can also be unhealthy. My daughters are only 9 and are already feeling the pressure from their peers to look a certain way. We don't have cable, so my kids rarely watch tv (by choice). I know that they're not being influenced by the tween shows, but most of their friends do watch unlimited tv. Do you think tween shows are exacerbating body image issues in young girls?

LynGBH said...

I think it's best to provide tasty healthy food, encourage physical activity, without forcing, and not worry about your kid's weight.

I also think it's truly fucked up to project your own body issues on to your kids.

The "Vogue" mom is batshit crazy.

NYCGirl said...

Ugh. Just reading a couple of quotes from the article made me sick: http://moms.today.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/27/10884819-putting-7-year-old-on-a-diet-responsible-or-reprehensible

Del Riser said...

I never had the problem. Our daughter was always extremely active, and preferred fruits and such for snacks on her own.

Our son was a bottomless pit. I'd put meat in the fridge to thaw for dinner and come home to find he had eaten it as an after school snack.
He rarely gained an ounce. He must have a lightening quick metabolism.

Children should be given good wholesome food in normal quantities and encouraged to exercise, through play, sports or dance. If a doctor feels there is a weight problem then illness or a rethinking of the foods eaten should be a given.

I don't advocate "diets" for children.

Lisa said...

I'm overweight and it's been a miserable part of my life. I swore I would teach my kids how to cook and how to eat properly so they wouldn't have to experience this. Sofar so good. My teen cooks for his friends. They are clueless. The teen girls have no idea what's what. They don't cook. They don't eat. I know a number who eat multi vitamins and think that's good enough. They won't eat veggies to save their lives. They're stick thin. My son's girlfriend is a size zero. She teases him about being 'pudgy'. He's not. He's healthy. 5'9", 160 pounds. He eats right. It's very frustrating to see how poorly these girls eat and are stick thin. It's got to catch up with them eventually. I think we've got to educate our kids all the way around. Thin doesn't mean healthy.

reticulation said...

I think if your child is overweight, take them to their doctor, see what they say, and go with the professional medical opinion. Doctors are trained in this stuff.

kelgela said...

If your kid is 3 and 250lbs, then yes, you kinda have to get your kid on a diet. ( I saw an episode on Maury about overweight kids.)