Healthy Ageing

Overweight parents who buy treats for kids

Meyken Houppermans, PhD. CrossFit Level 3 Trainer.
Founder and Head Coach
Overweight parents who want to lose weight, but keep buying snacks for the kids. These very parents are ideally suited to serve as drivers to a healthier generation.

Gold in hands

Overweight parents who want to lose weight are mentally focussed on a healthier lifestyle. Therefore, these very parents can be the drivers to a healthier generation. Unfortunately, that is often not the case. Parents who want to lose weight but buy snacks for the children are complicating their weight loss because of all the temptation they bring into the house. Moreover, they are sending a confusing message to their children: You can have unhealthy snacks, but I cannot because it leads to weight gain and that is unhealthy.

Instead of condemning these parents for bad parenting because they keep buying snacks for their children, it can be more productive to reinforce their confidence and raise their awareness in a positive way: These parents have gold in hands to change not ontly themselves but also the next generation.

In my practice I coach overweight parents who want to lose weight. Often their excessive weight *is the resuilt of an unhealthy lifestyle: They eat and drink too much and cannot resist temptation. ‘Unhealthy’ temptations, as they call it, such as the treats they buy for their kids or fast food meals when there is little time or no energy for a home cooked meal.

I have great admiration for these parents. They are brave to take on the battle with their weight. They dare to be vulnerable and reach out for help. They take matters into their own hands and consciously choose a healthier lifestyle.

Most of them are aware of the fact that snacks, soft drinks and fastfood or instant meals are not healthy. They know these products not only lead to extra pounds, but also may have a negative affect on the body in the long run. Yet they keep buying these products for their children. And millions of people with them.

Relationship with food

It is not necessary to eat extremely healthy 365 days per year. It is more iportant to have a healthy relationship with food, rather than an exaggerated fixation on what is or is not healthy. A healthy relationship with food means being aware of what is healthy and unhealthy; and developping a well balance diet and eating pattern that also includes enjoying a snack every once in a while.

Double trouble

Overweight parents who want to lose weight but still buy unhealthy products for their children are in ‘double trouble’. On the one hand, they get themselves ‘in trouble’. Who is able to resist all the temptations? Food that is in the house, will be eaten. Whether it is on a difficult moment or because the children like to share their cookies. .

On the other hand, the ‘trouble’ is in the confusing message that these parents unconsciously and unintentionally pass on to their children. With their choice to lose weight they make clear that it is important to take care of yourself. Healthy eating and a healthy weight are part of that.

At the same time, they’re sending the message that it is ok to buy unhealthy products on a regular basis. Products that can lead to being overweight. Products that these parents also prefer not to eat themselves and label as negative, but do give to their children (“dad can’t or won’t eat that because that’s not good for him, so you eat it”). This is a very confusing message for children, which in the long term can contribute to a situation whereby those kids aren’t able to make healthy choices later in life, or develop an unhealthy relationship with food.

Unhealthy became normal

Every day, we are being overwhelmed by food temptations. You can buy food anywhere. The packaging of treats is often very attractive for children and for parents it can be very tiring to constantly say no. The Dutch Alliance Stop child marketing of doctors and health organizations fights against child heroes and cartoon characters on unhealthy products.

It became normal and acceptable to always have snacks available, while these products actually shouldn’t be a component of the daily routine. These products should be an exception, liker a cookie was firty years ago. However, many everyday situations arelinked to unhealthy eating. Cake to celebrate something, a cookie for comfort or reward, a snack to keep the kids busy or simply to stop the whining. (an ipad to keep them busy)

Healthier generation

Overweight parents who want to lose weight consciously choose a healthier lifestyle. And because of that they can be the driving force behind a healthier generation.

Parents often underestimate how much their child savours. What children do or eat outdoors or to what temptations food producers subject us, is ‘out of our hands’. But what happens at home and what temptations there are in our own kitchen, is something we determine ourselves.

Especially these parents who are so ware of a healthier lifestyle, can teach their children what is healthy and  unhealthy eating, and what is a healthy relationship with food. By sending children the good message and setting a good example, these parents not only help their children but also themselves. They can function as a role model. They can create a positive joint mission that connects the family; that functions as a big motivator for their own weight loss and that can prevent children from having negative associations with food and weight and a disturbed relationship with food in the long term due to unsuccesful weightloss- attempts of parents.

The brave decision of these parents to lose weight can have far reaching positive effects. If only they realize it! That is why it is important not to condemn these parents for their weight or for the shopping they do for their children. We need to reinforce their confidence and raise their awareness in a positive way. They can make a huge change!

Create your own health!©