First lets start with the “what not to do list”:
- Do not discuss your own, weight, diet, exercise plan or body & weight concerns, around your children.
- Do not make comments about other peoples weight or diet, for example “she is so fat,” or “you look great have you lost weight?”
- unless you have a medical reason to follow a special diet, do not make special meals (fat free meals, low calorie) for yourself, this gives the impression that some foods are bad and should be avoided.
- Get rid of the scale! If you are weighting yourself frequently, chances are, so is your child. Do not define yourself by a number on the scale but instead on your health and how you feel and all your other positive attributes.
- Do not make your children eat everything on their plates. You are responsible for what they eat but not how much of it they eat. In other words, you get to decide what is an appropriate & balanced meal, but no one should be forced to eat beyond his or her own level of comfort & satisfaction. Encourage children to be open minded by modeling open-mindedness and explore new foods, they should be encouraged only to taste the unfamiliar food.
- Protect your children from adverse media: food, diet & weight messages, for example fashion, and body building & dieting magazines.
- Do not ban certain foods because you think they are unhealthy, think about moderation instead. Some foods are meant to be fun and as long as they are not replacing a balanced diet, you should not worry about the “fun” foods. Otherwise, your child may hoard these foods or eat them in secret.
Instead, model good self-esteem, and eat a “normal” balanced diet! I will write about what normal looks like in a future blog.
If you have other suggestions to add to this list, please place them in the comments below…