Hey mom, are you guilty of the Double Standard?
Here's a question for you- is it more important that your kids eat healthy, you eat healthy, or both?
This probably sounds like a weird question and most likely your answer will (hopefully!) be both. The reason I ask, is because the more women I work with, the more I see that many fall into one of two double standards when it comes to eating. So, before you solidify that answer, let's see if you identify with one of these scenarios.
1. Nothing but the best for my babies: This is the mom that only feeds her kids healthy, organic, no added sugar (or as little as possible), lot's of fresh fruits and veggies and no junk food, unless it's an extremely rare treat. Sounds all well and good until you find that mom herself, is struggling with achieving and/or maintaining a healthy weight, and she's not holding herself to those same standards of eating that she's put on the kids. After she packs a beautiful meal for the lunch box, complete with veggie faces and fruity smiles, she grabs a Special K Protein Meal Bar, for example, because hey, it's got protein, so the must be good right? And it's a meal! A meal called chocolaty chip! AND it only has 170 calories! How awesome is that. Well...Considering that the second (sugar) and fourth (corn syrup) ingredients are sugars and it also contains fructose and dextrose (more sugar) and TBHQ (a preservative that potentially causes cancer), I'm going to say that's not such a healthy choice to make. Let's not forget that it's pumpkin season and since mom is just having the meal bar, she's going to swing by the Dunkin Donuts drive thru after she drops the kids and their healthy lunches and snacks at school and grabs a medium Pumpkin Swirl Iced Coffee. It's just a medium coffee (with 38 grams of sugar!!! The large has 51 grams- gasp!). The American Heart Association recommends that women not exceed 6 teaspoon of added sugar (24 grams) per day, that's no more than 100 calories from sugar per day. The medium coffee alone has 152 calories from sugar. So you see where I'm going with this.
2. Mom on a diet (also applies to Mom into fitness): This mom wants to lose weight so she's dieting and trying to "eat clean", drinking meal replacement shakes and maybe using supplements for weight loss. The kids on the other hand are eating what ever they choose. Dorito's and Oreo's in the lunch, juice boxes and those flavored yogurts that come in a rainbow of colors and Rice Krispie Treats for an afternoon snack. Mom won't touch any of these things and when it's time for dinner and the kids want fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy, they get it. But not mom, she's having a kale salad with a little quinoa and sliced grilled chicken. So? What's wrong with this? Mom's doing what she needs to do to lose the weight (or stay fit) and the kids are just kids, let them have what they want! The problem with this is, well, there's two problems. For one, mom on a diet is eventually going to be tired of "having" to eat different than everyone else. She's going to get burned out on making two separate dinners every day, start feeling a little resentful and deprived and eventually say "screw it, just pass the gravy already". The other thing (and I feel this is a huge deal!) is that the kids are not benefiting from this what so ever. You feel like it's nice to let them have what they want but they are learning to eat is junk, lot's of sugar and fatty foods and one day will be in the same boat as Mom on a diet and that's just no fun for anyone.
Do you resonate with one of these two double standards? If you do, would you consider changing your ways? If you're example one, try to place the same value on your own well being as you do your kids. Your health matters just as much as anyone in the family (some would argue more, since you are, after all, the care taker). Where would they be without you? Did the second scenario sound more like you? Consider feeding the whole family the same healthy meals. Everyone deserves healthy food to give them the best shot at being and growing up healthy. If you don't show them, they have no clue how to eat healthy, no good example to learn by and in today's food culture their chances of becoming over weight or obese are way greater than ever before in history. I feel strongly that as parents, it's up to us to show them the way, by eating real food and not ridiculous amounts of it. Lead by example and everyone will benefit in the end. So, what's for dinner tonight?