How do your weight-loss resolutions affect your children?
By Aimee Heckel
A New Year’s resolution to lose weight may seem like a personal decision. But if you’re a parent, your behavior around food can also affect your child’s own attitude toward it.
Losing weight is the No. 1 resolution for 2014. Staying fit and healthy is No. 5.
And that’s great. Keep your resolution. But remember, how you express it to your children is important.
We talked with Tabitha Farrar, Eating Disorder Consultant who runs the website Anorexiaspeaks.com, to gather expert advice on to approach weight-loss and exercise resolutions smartly and safely, as a parent.
1. Use your words wisely.
Make sure your children understand that you still love food and that it’s a vital part of loving your body. Explain that you are helping your body even more by making healthy food choices.
“Your commitment to your children can even help you stay honest to your own self by making sure that you live by example and eat plenty of healthy fats and vegetables with your children,” Farrar says.
Avoid the word “diet,” and instead talk about healthy eating.
Try not to refer to any foods as “bad,” Farrar says. Instead, focus on the positives about the healthy food that you are eating.
2. Educate yourself.
Believe it or not, pleasure is an important part of digestion. Studies show it enhances the nutrients you get from the food you eat. Don’t eat things that you dislike but think are good for you. Find healthy, unprocessed food that your taste buds enjoy.
9. Allow treats.
Sweet things are fine in moderation. Restriction can result in a binge, Farrar says.
10. Avoid processed foods.
This includes avoiding low-fat or artificially sweetened foods. These send conflicting signals from the gut to the brain, so you won’t realize your body is satisfied as quickly as with full-fat versions, Farrar says.
11. Give yoga a try.
The mind-body communication can help you learn how to better listen to your body and identify what it needs.
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12. Talk to a food counselor.
“Many of our cravings and behaviors, such as binge-eating or night eating, are psychological in nature and not really about food at all,” Farrar says. “A professional can help you understand the hidden language that your eating habits are showing.”
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