We live today in a world where finding balance can be difficult in regards to weight control and eating habits. Statistics show that obesity rates are rising, as well as eating disorders, among young females. Obesity and Restrictive eating are similar, in that they are both destructive to a person’s physical and emotional health. The media portrays many mixed messages concerning “diet” and a healthy body image, which can be confusing.
Parents with good intentions can create problems by putting their children on “diets” or forcing them to rigidly exercise in order to lose weight. Exercise for children should be vigorous play that is fun!
Children should be taught to focus on the four food groups and portion control, not “dieting.” The word "diet" has negative connotations. Additionally, praising a child for being “thin” or losing weight, instead of praising them for their talents and gifts can be dangerous. Perfectionism and low self-image can develop from a rigid view of food and weight-control. Children tend to focus on what they believe is important to their parents. Modeling proper eating and exercising habits for overall health is the best way to teach our children.
On the other side of the spectrum, some parents attempt to love their children with sugary, fatty foods in hopes of managing behavior, which in turn hinders children from developing healthy eating habits. By doing this, parents are teaching their children to eat based on feelings, not fullness. Sugary, fatty foods make children lethargic, creating inactivity and over time may result in obesity. Scheduled family meals (yes mom, you need to sit down and eat as well) with regular balanced exercise, is vital in maintaining a healthy weight.
We don’t hear much about underlying emotional issues that drive unhealthy eating habits, whether it is restrictive or excessive in nature. Overly restrictive eating can be a result of unresolved issues and a lack of control in other areas of life. Excessive eating can come from a desire for comfort. Pushing feelings deep inside creates an emptiness that is never satisfied.
When you feed the desires of the flesh, you starve yourself from your lifeline to freedom! What this means is, whether you are over eating or restricting to cope with problems instead of dealing with them, you stay entrapped in this cycle of destruction. Practicing extreme measures in either direction is unhealthy.
Instead of using food or extreme weight control to ignore or mask emotions, acknowledge your feelings by talking or allowing your Creator to penetrate deep into your heart for complete restoration and healing. Balance will follow!
Legacy strategy Blog
Legacy Strategy, Inc. is a private counseling practice in Kennesaw, Georgia.