|Look at the pure joy and excitement for what’s to come!|
As parents, we are continuously teaching our children. But every now and again, these precious, little people surprise us with their ability to teach us. The other day, I came home with my son after going grocery shopping. After I placed a watermelon on the counter, he gets a stool and picks it up awkwardly. He then wobbled over to Husband and me and said, “Look! I’m strong!” How often do we acknowledge our strengths like our proud children? This type of confidence is typical in many kids. But it’s lost, for many, in the scuttle towards adulthood.
I attended an event hosted by Carylynn Larson, Founder of Rock Recovery, where I learned that my kids have been teaching me more than I knew about self-confidence, exercise, and having a healthy relationship with food. How? Kids eat when they are hungry, they stop eating when they are full, they indulge themselves without guilt, and they run because they want to have fun; not to burn calories. They are the perfect models.
Heather Baker, Founder of Prosperity, further explains how kids teach us how to eat healthy:
“Kids listen to their bodies. If they have cravings, they typically fulfill them and move on. They don’t assign value or judgement to foods, which means they are naturally healthier in regards to portion control and enjoying the eating experience.”
Heather continues stating that unfortunately, as adults, we may be “reading labels, cringing at calories, judging ourselves and our bodies in the mirror.” So while our children are the better role models, we are the ones reversing these healthy instincts. If we want our children to continue their healthy relationship with food and positive sense of self, we need to model it for them. As Heather Baker explained to me, “Our kids are watching us all the time (we aren’t as sneaky as we think we are). We can be a gateway to a healthy lifestyle, or we can inadvertently tell our kids that food is the enemy and image is everything.”
Heather further suggests that we “try to avoid making food comparisons, especially image-oriented ones. For example, don’t say, ‘Wow, Molly sure is thin. She looks great,’ or, ‘Suzy has really put on some weight. That’s too bad.’ Judgments like this aren’t helpful with promoting a positive self image in our children.”
With that in mind, try to learn from your children. You can still be carefree, secure, and enjoy food like you once did. I like to keep an anecdote in mind as Christie Dondero, from Rock Recovery, said:
“If you’ve ever seen a child eating cake on their birthday…There is just sheer joy and pleasure in the eating of the cake, not calorie counting with each bite, mental calculation of the amount of extra time they need to spend at the gym, or any amount of guilt. When was the last time you ate your birthday cake like that?“