Why Your Being Fat is Bad for Your Child

IMG_8093This topic is uncomfortable. It will probably piss some people off. I might even loose some followers because of it. I get it, talking about how being fat is bad is not “politically correct”. Too bad. It is not my job to make you feel good. It is not my job to be “politically correct”. It is my job to tell the truth. It is my job, as a blogger about peaceful parenting, to inform you of the things that are not peaceful parenting practices, even in spite of potential consequences. The fact is that if you are overweight and have children, you are doing them a great disservice.

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Let’s just talk logic for a minute. I’ll get to the statistics in a minute. If you’re overweight you are either: not eating right, not working out, or both. Most of the time it’s a combination of the two that results in a heavier weight. Both of these things, separate or combined, predisposition your child to be overweight or obese as an adult. This is for one of two reasons, you probably aren’t feeding them extra healthy while you eat junk food. Which means they don’t/won’t know what healthy eating actually looks like. This will cause them to struggle with becoming healthy (if they ever choose to do so) once they have left your home. If you are feeding them healthy and eating junk, they will notice the hypocrisy and rebel as soon as they are old enough to get down to the closest convenient store on their own.  Either way, you are imposing a serious disability on your child.

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As I have said many times before, it is your job as a parent to guide your child through life. This entails a variety of different things. One of which is teaching them how to take care of and respect their bodies. When you are eating like crap and not exercising, you are definitively telling them that you don’t care about your own body. What you’re saying is, “there is no value in treating your body kindly”. So you see, you cannot teach your child to care for or respect their body if you are overweight.

Now for my favorite part, some statistics and theories!

  1. First, let me just list off the negative side effects of being overweight. It is imperative that you know what medical problems you are setting your child up for when you choose to be an unhealthy parent. This list comes from Stanford Health Care website. Negative side effects include but are not limited to:

• High Blood Pressure

• Diabetes

• Heart disease – Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)

• Joint problems, including osteoarthritis 

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• Sleep apnea and respiratory problems

• Cancer

• Metabolic syndrome

Take a second to really absorb what it means to impose your poor eating habits on your child. You are taking years of life away from your child. You, the parent, are putting your child into an early grave. Before they reach that grave, they immensely suffer mentally and physically.

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“Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years. The percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 18% in 2012″(1). I believe this to be a combination of things: child abuse, parents with bad eating and exercise habits (setting a poor example), and (for women) third wave feminists convincing young girls that it is okay to be fat.

Spanking, yelling, and aggression towards children can cause a variety of dysfunctional problems for the child in their immediate state and future lives. One of those problems is developing an eating disorder. Overeating is a disorder, also referred to as compulsive eating. Now, if you have ever watched the biggest looser and heard the contestants describe what they eat, you  know this is not an uncommon disorder. If you have ever people watched at any restaurant, you know this is not an uncommon disorder. If you have ever researched the statistics, you know this is not an uncommon disorder. ” More than a third of adults (34.9 percent) were obese as of 2011 to 2012. More than two-thirds of adults were overweight or obese (68.6 percent). Approximately 17 percent of children and teenagers (ages 2 to 19) were obese from 2011 to 2012, and 31.8 percent were either overweight or obese.”(2) These numbers are staggering, 68.6% of adults. That’s more than half! Please note: commonality of a problem does not reduce the severity of it. I am simply pointing out that this is an extremely common problem in our current society. One that clearly needs to be addressed, regardless of how uncomfortable it is.

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This habitual mess shows what sweeping this issue under the rug has created. It has created 68.6%, and that was four years ago. These statistics say something significant about the frequency of child abuse in our current culture. The dysfunctional problems that come from abuse are not being focused on. Thee problems need to be dealt with not eaten. If you have experienced abuse in your childhood, please find a good therapist. Abuse of any kind, even mild abuse, has a significant impact on our mental state and the choices we make. Seeking out professional help will make it easier for you to properly address the problems that need attention.

Remember, I am not a professional and these are just my thoughts. I would wager that if your mind is unhealthy, then it will be harder for you to ensure your body is healthy. Due to the fact that keeping your body healthy requires a lot of mental work. If your mind is unable to work through your problems properly and you use food as a coping mechanism, then more than likely you will revert back to that once a stressful situation arises in your life. Obviously, I am not saying you shouldn’t try to eat healthier or exercise until you have completed therapy. I would just like to argue that you should probably be doing both.

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“There seems to be a definite correlation between physical, sexual and/or emotional abuse and the sufferers of Eating Disorders. According to studies, a relatively high percent report that they have suffered from some sort of abuse in their lives. In a Something Fishy poll on this very topic, out of over 2,000 people who responded, more than 50% said they suffered from some type of physical or sexual abuse.”(3)

If you really stop to think about it, all the pieces fit. The parents voice becomes the child’s inner voice. So, showing aggression towards children will naturally cause them turn aggressive towards themselves internally. If you are striking your child, in any way, you are telling your child that their body has no value. At least, your’re saying it doesn’t have value to you. If you are yelling or using other forms of non-peaceful communication, you are telling your child their being has no value to you. Eating healthy and exercising is about respecting your body and your life. If you are taught that your body lacks worth to the person most significant in your life, then you will cease to care for your body definitively.

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Looking at the sexual abuse side of things, it makes even more sense. A lot of women that experienced sexual abuse will become overweight, simply to deter men from being attracted to them. “Michael D. Myers, M.D., an obesity and eating disorder specialist, estimates that 40 percent of his significantly obese patients have experienced sexual abuse. On his website, he writes: “In a sense, obesity protects a person from their sexuality since, in Western culture, obesity is frowned upon.'”(4) For men, there is a lot of shame associated with being sexually abused. There is also a lot of shame in being overweight, especially for a man. Men pride themselves on being strong, as they should.  When you are overweight you become weak and disabled. It seems to me that, if you are a man and you feel dishonor from being sexually abused, that gaining weight would be consistent with your current mind set.

For those of you that have experienced sexual abuse, both men and women, I would like to empathize with you. I offer you my sincerest apologies with a deeply sorrowful heart. It is a tragic and barbaric thing to experience and you did not deserve it. I am so very sorry.

The parents who have bad eating habits were probably exposed to some kind of abuse in their childhood which is why they don’t care for their own bodies. We have to understand that being a victim of abuse, while tragic and awful, is not an excuse to ignore poor life choices. Especially when you have little people who look up to you. This explicitly tells your child that if you have a good enough excuse you can ignore serious problems or, better yet, you can eat them. Again, this predispositions them to be overweight or obese. Excusing actions is a promise of repetition. Meaning if you excuse poor choices, then you are guaranteed to make those poor choices again and again. Also, when you excuse bad behavior you will be inevitably unable to change, grow, or evolve. That’s one of the best parts of life, do not rob your child of that.

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Okay back to the facts. “Smoking, high blood pressure and being overweight are the leading preventable risk factors for premature mortality in the United States, according to a new study led by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), with collaborators from the University of Toronto and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. The researchers found that smoking is responsible for 467,000 premature deaths each year, high blood pressure for 395,000, and being overweight for 216,000.”(5) As stated in the negative side effects of being overweight, being overweight can lead to high blood pressure. So you could reasonably argue that being overweight causes 611,000 preventable deaths, which is more than smoking. Even if you want to say only half the 395,000 are from being overweight, your number is 413,000.  

These things are preventable. I understand, some people have diseases that prevent them from exercising extensively. However, this does not warrant a lack of concern for the types of foods that one chooses to put into their body. In fact, I would argue it strengthens the argument that you need to be more aware of your foods ingredients. You need to actively choose to put better things into your body because you do not have the luxury of countering bad food choices with exercise. By the way, I wouldn’t suggest countering poor eating habits with exercise for anyone. I’ll also add, just because you can’t do P90X or Insanity doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to be as active as your body will let you. I had a pretty extensive surgery (for medical purposes) this year. I was unable to workout for over 6 weeks and when I finally was able to, all I could do was 15 minutes of light yoga. In fact, when I first started to get back into yoga, I had some complications with my healing and had to stop again for a few more weeks. My point is, that even if you can only do an extremely mild exercise for a short amount of time, it is better than sitting on the couch with a bag of Cheetos. 

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Finally, for the theory that third wave feminists are encouraging women to gain weight or even discouraging women to loose weight. “The average American woman weighs 166.2 pounds, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As reddit recently pointed out, that’s almost exactly as much as the average American man weighed in the early 1960s…Overall weight gain since 1960 is slightly greater for women (18.5 percent).”(6)  Now that alone says nothing but this article from an actual feminist adds to the theory: “My attitude toward my fatness has largely been shaped by the feminist, fat-positive movement”. Fat positive movement? Can I just take a second to say there is nothing positive about being fat. She openly admits right there that feminists are trying push the narrative that fat is good. Sorry ladies, but unadulterated health problems, everlasting harm to your child, and countless other issues don’t sound like good things to me. She continues “But a few months ago, my bad knee started getting worse…Short of surgery, there’s really only one thing you can do for a bad knee that I wasn’t already doing. And that’s to lose weight. How do you be a fat-positive feminist who’s losing weight? It’s really hard not to feel like a traitor about this.” (7) So for medical purposes she needed to loose weight and she feared being attacked by her feminist companions. What the hell? This means that she felt (rightfully so, I’m sure) that her fellow feminists would rather her be fat, unhealthy, and in pain than for her to loose weight. To put it mildly, that’s simply and utterly despicable.

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So is it safe to theorize that third wave feminists have played a part in the increased weight gain of the modern woman? Yeah, I’d say so. You might even say they are bullying them into being/staying fat.

I am not saying that fat people are bad people. I am not saying that if you’re heavy, you are gross. Of course, I am not saying that at all. I believe that heavier people tend to put those around them first, which shows compassion and empathy. Which, as you know, I find to be admirable qualities. I am trying to make sure that our children have the best lives they possibly can. Their lives will not be better if they think that when they grow up they should ignore their health. I am just trying to point out that being overweight is harmful to our children, because it truly is.

 

I’ll end on a personal note. I was fat. I had to loose weight and I did. Actually, I’m on round two of weight management. Meaning I’m in the process of doing it again. Before I had that surgery I mentioned above, I was in a lot of pain. I wasn’t watching my portions and I was unable to exercise. I gained some weight back after having kept it off for over 4 years. It was frustrating and disheartening. I’m doing it again because I am not going to put the problems I have on my children’s shoulders. I am not going to burden them with the struggles that I have had to go through. It is our job as parents to help our children carry any weight that is on their shoulders. It is not our job to add to it.

Sources:

1) Childhood Obesity Facts -Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/obesity/facts.htm

2) Obesity Rates and Trends, The State of Obesity, 2015, http://stateofobesity.org/rates/

3) Exploring the role that Abuse plays in the development of an Eating Disorder, Something Fishy Website on Eating Disorders, http://www.something-fishy.org/prevention/abuse.php

4) Wearing Your Weight as Armor, By Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S., on September 3, 2009, http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2009/09/03/wearing-your-weight-as-armor/

5) Smoking, high blood pressure, and being overweight the top three preventable causes of death in the U.S., by Harvard T.H. Chan, on April 27, 2009, https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/press-releases/smoking-high-blood-pressure-overweight-preventable-causes-death-us/

6) The average American woman now weighs as much as the 1960’s man, by Christopher Ingraham, on June 12, 2015, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/06/12/look-at-how-much-weight-weve-gained-since-the-1960s/

7) How I Reconciled My Diet With My Feminism, by Greta Christina, on August 3rd, 2009, http://www.alternet.org/story/141744/how_i_reconciled_my_diet_with_my_feminism

August 21, 2016
September 1, 2016
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