“If you want to lose weight then eat less”. From my experience as an obese child, that’s easier said than done.
By age 6 years I was eating large amounts of food, at times as much as my Father, an extremely active man in his late 30’s. By age 8 or 9 years, I was “sneaking” food, such as candy, chips and cookies. At age 10 years I weighed 140 pounds. For me at that time, an active lifestyle was almost impossible to achieve (I think I would have needed a personal trainer to get any kind of motivation).
On reflection, I can see three main influencing “forces” at work in my childhood.
Firstly, I was not a happy child. I became severely depressed, to the point of contemplating suicide. It was only the fear of death that stayed my hand.
Secondly, my parents wanted me happy, and eating large amounts of food at meal times accomplished this. I also desired my parents’ approval. Finishing up all my food got their approval. Consequently, by overeating everyone was happy and I had my Parents’ approval.
Thirdly, eating snacks laden with sugar, salt and fat that took my mind off everything else going on in my life became a habit.
The lessons I have learned from my experiences as an obese child include:
Habits and Human Nature.
Food is a means of gaining pleasure which must be disciplined from a young age to prevent eating beyond that which was normal and healthy.
In my opinion, healthy (disciplined) eating habits need to be set in place from birth. It is imperative that children are raised to understand the relationship between food, pleasure and good health.
The Relationship Between Nutrition and Health.
As children growing up in the ’60’s it was taken for granted that all our nutritional needs would be met from our food. Yes, we had Vitamin C tablets for prevention of getting a common cold and Cod Liver Oil capsules, but we did not think of “supplementing” our diet much beyond that.
Today, however, things have changed dramatically. Modern farming and food harvesting, storage, processing and distribution methods have resulted in what is often referred to as, “Nutritional Bankruptcy”.
Therefore, our food no longer contains all the elements required for optimum health and wellbeing. It is my sincere belief that children today will need to supplement their food intake with nutrition products.
I see two key foundations for preventing childhood obesity; the formation of disciplined eating habits and the use of nutritional supplements. With these as a solid base to work from, the active lifestyle can follow as a natural consequence.
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