February 21, 2008

Do your loved ones follow your lifestyle?

Last night on The Biggest Loser, the contestants went home to their families for the week. The idea was to see how they would do in their home environment. Most of the contestants had big parties thrown for them by their friends and family, and most of them included some food that was definitely not diet-friendly.

Now, I think it’s pretty insensitive of the families to do that to the contestants (though I’m also guessing that the producers supplied the food for the parties and purposely put those in, just to create drama. Otherwise, I don’t see how the families could be so heartless). If your loved one is trying to lose weight, you shouldn’t be putting all kinds of crap in front of them, naming desserts after them, and teasing them about drinking water while you’re downing alcoholic yummies.

However, I think it’s equally unfair to go on a tirade about treats and dump trays of cinnamon rolls into the trash can, forbidding your little kids from eating one ever again. The key is moderation. And if your only way to stay on a diet is to try to make sure that no sweets come into your environment? Go live in a bubble; you aren’t ready for the real world. Just because you are on a diet doesn’t meant everyone else is. Yes, children should be taught that you can’t just munch on sweets at the expense of healthy food, but I also don’t think it’s right to suddenly take that away from them when they’re too young to even understand what’s going on.

For the record, while I’m all for the laws requiring calories to show up on menus, I’m against the trans fat ban that currently exists in NYC. I try to avoid trans fats, and I like that I don’t have to worry about them, but I don’t think it’s fair to say that no restaurant can make them. I would much prefer to see a law that says you must label every item on your menu that has trans fats, and then people can make their own decision as to whether they still want to eat that item.

Kids are too young to make decisions like that, but if you’re living with adults who are perfectly capable of making their own decisions, it’s not up to you to dictate what they can and can’t eat. Tell them the facts about how crappy those desserts are and how much better they’ll feel by eating fresh fruits and veggies. But if they still want dessert? Let them eat cake. It takes a much stronger person to turn down a treat that’s within reach, and until these contestants learn to do that instead of simply avoiding their cravings, I really don’t respect them all that much.

What do you think?


7 thoughts on “Do your loved ones follow your lifestyle?”

  1. *this, hopefully, is a little clearer

    I’m in complete agreement. We make the choice to live the way we do. I think what isn’t preached when it comes to healthy lifestyles is the moderation part. Is Burger King good for you? No. Will you take 10 steps back if you have a Whopper once in awhile? For most, that would probably be no.

    I’ll stop before I break my ankle jumping off of my soapbox.

  2. IT really bothers me to see overweight children because well let’s be honest they aren’t buying their own food. That being said I totally agree you can’t prevent a kid from ever eating a cinnamon roll! They have to learn moderation or they’ll just go crazy when they can make their own food choices.

    I did think the food at those parties was a little strange, but then you heard people say “Well I’m not on a diet” … so I just don’t think people really get it.

  3. I was thinking the same thing about the biggest loser. How heartless. You can look at those families and see why people are so obese. It may be in a lot of cases that it takes a village to get and stay fat. My family is a classic example. When we are together, we eat the crappiest food. Tastes good and for some backwards reason we have all equated it with love. Funny, we have all had weight problems. I bet we could all pick the biggest losers that will be the most successful longterm based on the cooperation of their families.

    Arrgh, guess you struck a nerve.

  4. KIDS will make the healthy choice when it’s A) provided and B) they’ve been taught that way. Adults could learn a thing or two from them (or just remember what we were taught in health class so many years ago…)

    We have sweets and specials at the house, but several times this week BOTH of my kindergarteners chose milk over Kool-aid at least three times, asked specifically for water between meals (instead of Gatorade) and honestly and truly prefer CARROTS and FRUIT over cookies most nights as their “special” for eating a good portion of their dinner! Not to mention that they both play basketball and baseball and take karate and they practice constantly without reminders. At 6!

    So, while they don’t necessarily follow *MY* new ‘healthier’ lifestyle, they have a good start on a healthy one all their own (with decision-making skills *I* apparently need to learn!!)

  5. Hi Laura,
    We love Biggest Loser in this house. I never have trouble going to the gym on Wednesdays.

    I was sad to see all the junk food at those welcome home parties; but like you, I suspect the producers had something to do with it. That said, it is a just test. Food like that is everywhere. It is much more difficult to eat healthy.

    Our extended family thinks we are nuts. Our food is great, just modified. We still eat desert, but it is sugar free and low fat. We still eat potatoes, they are just baked or roasted with a bit of olive oil instead of fried. If our families made just a few small adjustments to what they already eat, they would loose weight and gain energy immediately.

    My kids (17 and 9) have grown up eating a mediterranian diet. We spent 4 years in Europe. I still have treats in the house and I don’t make a big deal out of food. They are active and growing, but they can certainly handle a bit more sugar than I can. They also need more fat. We just make sure that the sugar is mostly natural sugars and the fats are healthy fats. We don’t forbid things and we don’t send messages that certain foods are bad, just not the best choice. When we can, we modify foods so that they meet our criteria. Ultimately, we try to raise our boys to eat as athletes (which includes more fats and a balance of carbs and proteins). They both play soccer and both of us run…alot.

    By the way, I love your recipe ideas.

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