Sins of a Fat MotherPosted: July 3, 2011
…And will they be visited upon the son? I worry about this every day. Now that I have lost “the weight,” my focus has shifted from my struggle (although that will always be with me) to that of keeping my son from following in my footsteps and getting fat. I so desperately want to spare him from the pain of being teased by the perpetually thin, and viciously mean, SOB’s that roam the land. The pain of too small clothes and limited options for friends and girlfriends. Being fat in this country, despite the growing numbers of us, is still a gigantic bummer.
So far, he is very lean. He is a bright, curious eight-year-old boy. He is active and loving. Lately though, I have noticed the fatty tendencies (see post) creeping in. He LOVES all manner of carbohydrates, including chips, donuts, cookies, and anything sweet. He loves all of the foods I loved when I started to put on weight at his age–weight that would stay with me for most of my adult life.
The situation feels so hopeless and overwhelming given the toxic food culture we live in, especially for kids. It is almost as if kids are steeped in processed foods and the advertising that goes with them. Trying to have him eat healthfully is a daily struggle and a Sisyphean task. I get so tired, and my guard gets let down. I also don’t want to be a nag or a food cop, taking the fun out of everything with strict rules. After all, it is one of the most pleasurable things in the world to give your child something tasty to eat.
With all of this baggage and the feeling that he was following in my fat footsteps, I decided to take my son for a consultation with a nutritionist (Cassie at Nutritional Weight and Wellness). I felt like I needed to take some charge of the situation, but I also wanted another adult to tell him learn about his body, how it works, and how food affects it. We went for a two-hour consultation. Cassie has two kids, so I knew she could empathize with me and give me good tips for foods and recipes.
It is the best thing I could have done. It was very empowering for him and me. He left with language to articulate what he needs to eat (protein, fat and carbs), as well as an understanding of why it means so much to me that he eats healthfully. The session was also a bit of counseling for the two of us. So much bad feeling had built up around the topic of food, that I felt like I was turning him off to healthy eating. He was sneaking the cookies from parts unknown just to spite me.
When we returned home from the appointment, we sat down for lunch together. He had a great midday snack, and even attempted to eat his veggies at dinner. I felt hopeful, once again, that he might be able to break a very entrenched familial cycle of obesity. I also know that he will not be able to eat perfectly all of the time. And I am OK with that. I think shooting for perfection in anything will lead to the exact opposite outcome from that of what you hope to achieve.
For now, I feel like I have taken decisions about my son’s food life back. That is, until the next sleepover or pool party.