Monday, July 6, 2009
The Devil and the Diet
I was reading an article from a writer here in Fauquier County, Susan McCorkindale. She has found out that it is Cankle Awareness Month. Check it out. Check her out. She's hilarious. Susan McCorkindale
It sparked a memory:
I have dreaded heading to the doctor for my daughter's checkup each year since she turned one. She is consistently in the 3rd to 5th percentile. Meaning, of all the kids in the states, her weight consists of only 3% of the population. Basically, it means she's petite and thin. But, the doctors have still put us through quite a lot to prove she is okay even though they look us directly in the eye and say "we know she is fine". When it first started, she had no fear of having her blood withdrawn. Now, she cries before she sees a needle.
My directive is to put butter on everything. Up the calories in any way I can. I actually went through a phase where I perused the grocery isles looking for the fatiest foods. A very odd thing for a girl who has been taught to control her weight. I've often thought this was a farce. Especially since this country has so many obese children. And, are these children being compared to mine? I don't know but my daughter's weight has always been an issue.
So, you can understand how concerned I was when she belts out at the age of six, "Mom, I want to be on a diet!". I immediately went into hyper mode. Where was she getting this? We don't talk about weight. In fact, I'm pretty happy with myself but I also try to make sure she never hears the "f" word even if I'm just having a moment.
I knew I had to have the conversation. No, not that one but the food conversation. The one my mom had with me when I went off to college.
"Your body is an engine, Jenn. It needs fuel to run. If you don't give it fuel then it will shut down and nothing will work properly. And, then when you decide to refuel, it won't be able to process it properly and will store it as fat." Scary? Yes. So, I gained the freshman 15 instead.
I told my daughter food is a wonderful thing. Enjoy it. Everything in moderation is the way to go. Yes, you can have donuts (her favorite food) but just not too many or too often. You have to fill your body with good fuel. etc. etc. etc.
On this went. Every few days, she would reeiterate the need for a diet. Her dad and I were concerned but didn't want to make a big issue out of it.
And then. It all became clear. She and I sat on the family room floor playing a game with the t.v. on. Food Network. For someone who loves having the t.v. for background noise, I considered this channel to be a safe one for the kids. A nutrisystem commercial came on. My daughter's head turned to watch it. I watched her watch it. Then she looked at me and said, "See Mom, if you go on the diet, you get free desserts!"
Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you. She's just a normal 6 year old! But, it did remind me of something important. The obsessive marketing of our society. Diet commercials on a food channel? Turn the t.v. off. Now we listen to hip hop instead. My husband says its narcissistic. Man, it's always something!