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Keeping my holiday food battles to myself

Yesterday marked the peak of the two-month period when, each year, my eating goes to pot. It starts with a few extra Snickers on Halloween and ends with one too many glasses of champagne, but the biggest disaster is always Thanksgiving. There is something about the stuffing and the gravy and the pumpkin pie that absolutely does me in.

This means that I end up spending the bulk of the winter worrying about my slowing metabolism and growing gut. But even as this worry has grown with each passing year, it's something that I've had to keep more and more to myself. I have a couple of kids, and the last thing they need to do is take my annual Thanksgiving willpower struggle and turn it into their own body-image issue.

I'm not ready to blame "society" or "the media" for spreading the message that we should be obsessed with losing weight. I figure most kids aren't convinced that they don't look "right" because Taylor Swift is a twig. If elementary schoolers or tweens have weight on their mind, it's probably because parents are diet-obsessed.

My perspective received a little boost this week, when University of Central Florida researchers said that even though a half (half!) of 3- to 6-year-old girls are worried about being fat, watching movies with stick-skinny animated princesses doesn't predict which girls will be worried. This may be good news for movie-going tots, but it reinforces the idea that kids are probably getting their body image issues somewhat closer to home.

I did manage to skip the second piece of pumpkin pie and the yeast rolls yesterday, which I count as a victory. But I kept it a quiet victory. After all, I want my children to know that the holidays are a time for family and merriment, not body anxiety.

By Brian Reid |  November 27, 2009; 7:03 AM ET  | Category:  Food , Health
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Comments


I can see this is a HOT topic! Is everyone still in a turkey coma or out shopping?

A little exercise and self control go a long way, for kids and adults. Reminding kids that eating cookies first thing in the morning is not a good idea, no matter what grandma and pap let you do at their house, is a start.

Good luck with the exercising during the holidays, it is the only way to keep your sanity!

Posted by: cheekymonkey | November 27, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Usually, I'm so busy with the cooking that by the time dinner is ready, I just want to go to bed. I never eat that much at once, so a Thanksgiving food coma isn't in the cards. Plus, I love that late night turkey sandwich.

Tonight could be the tough one. We're visiting family in KC and I have wanted to go to Bluestem ever since I heard about it on The Splendid Table (PRI). So, I'm eating light in preparation for a fun and filling evening.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | November 27, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

My step-son is completely obsessed about being fat and who is fat and saying that people are fat. It has gotten to the point that we have actually had to put the word 'fat' in our bad words list - along with other random words that he has obsessed about. If we didn't he would be continually going on about how the cat is fat, his sister is fat (she absolutely is not) and so on and so forth. I am waiting for him to call me fat - the one person in the house who actually is overweight.

I have no idea where this is coming from as you can practically count the ribs on this kid. I don't think this is coming from me because he says things about eating that I know I have never uttered and in some cases, don't even believe (so I know its not from actions speaking louder than words). My husband thinks it is coming from school. If that is the case, they need to lighten up. That child is completely obsessed with the topic and as a result, it wouldn't surprise me in the slightest that other kids his age (7) are also worrying about food and body image.

Posted by: Billie_R | November 30, 2009 8:22 AM | Report abuse

fr Billie_R:

>...I have no idea where this is coming from as you can practically count the ribs on this kid. I don't think this is coming from me because he says things about eating that I know I have never uttered and in some cases, don't even believe (so I know its not from actions speaking louder than words). My husband thinks it is coming from school. If that is the case, they need to lighten up. That child is completely obsessed with the topic and as a result, it wouldn't surprise me in the slightest that other kids his age (7) are also worrying about food and body image.

More than likely it IS coming from school. I've a 9 year old niece on my wife's side who's "father" is actually telling her that she is "fat". Granted, B has chunky calves (so does her mother, my SIL J)but the kid has now developed an eating disorder, thanks to Jeff (her "father").

Posted by: Alex511 | December 1, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

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