Children and Calories

Following on from one of my first posts about adults adversely affecting the mental health and self-esteem of their children, I wanted to see if anyone else had experienced anything similar at their local gym.

I was in the changing rooms last week, and there were several children in there after their swimming class. A couple were eating cereal bars as they waited for their mum. I couldn’t help overhearing however when the little girl (who was about 6 or 7 years old) sidled up to her mum and said ‘How many calories does this have? Is it 100?’ The little boy joined in, firing random numbers and playing a ‘guess the calorie’ game. And for him it was a game; he was a little younger and didn’t have a full understanding of a calorie. But I could see for the little girl that the calorie content of that cereal bar was very important to her.

This got me thinking – where the hell did someone so young learn about calories? In addition to adopting a negative body image to the point of needing to count them? This really upset me. I was concerned about the unimaginable harm this would be doing psychologically, and at the same time wondering how this had happened.

When I was a child, I had no idea about calories and diets. I only became aware of such things in my third year of secondary school, which was when I developed an Eating Disorder. Before leaving Primary School, I had never been aware of my body image. I was a child; I was more concerned with what I was doing, where I was going, who I was playing with. The fact that I was so severely affected by society’s crippling aesthetic pressure when I was double this little girl’s age makes me worry about her future. Increasingly, girls and boys of younger ages are developing Eating Disorders.

For me, children and calories are not a good mix. Where do we think this is coming from? Have you heard your children talking about calories? Have they learnt this from school? Or do you make a conscious effort to make them aware of nutritional content in food? Please share your thoughts.

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‘Diet’ – A Dirty Word

I really dislike the word ‘diet’. Instantly, it has negative connotations – what is the first thing that pops into your mind when someone says diet? Hunger, eating vegetables, being miserable in order to ‘look good’. A diet also suggests something temporary. They go against common sense; they encourage you to be unkind and damaging to your body in order to achieve a short term goal.

Yes, some diets are effective in helping people lose weight. But at what cost? Rarely is the weight loss sustainable; as human beings can’t live properly in a malnourished state for very long. Yo-yo dieting is on the increase because of this, a vicious cycle of losing the weight, putting it on, losing it again. This can lead to various long-term illnesses, digestive problems and hormonal imbalances. The emphasis is all wrong – and there is no focus in any media on being fit, strong and healthy.

After joining the gym I have gained 10lbs. My measurements are exactly the same, if not a little smaller. But I feel physically better than I ever have done before – mentally too. Laying store by a number on a scale does nobody any good. How many diets focus on how you feel? Not many? How many instead focus on what you have to lose? Lose 3lbs, 5lbs, 10lbs in 2 weeks. The unfortunate truth is, you may lose a lot more than pounds.

I’m posting links and articles with notes on wholesome, nutritious food and recipes. Feel free to contribute! Share your success stories!

Rose xx

Cherry red summer apple isolated on white

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