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Overweight Children – Whose Fault ??

I switched on the TV tonight, and the programme that I stopped at was the Half Ton Teen on Living Channel.  The mum states her child is her reason for living, but she is the one going to the supermaket and buying all the hugely fatty foods that her son is eating.    The doctor thinks that the teen is eating 30,000 calories a day to keep him like that.

The biggest problems he has are his mother and father.  The programme calls his mother the “enabler”.  I find it distressing to watch his parents asking him if he was going to “do it” this time (lose the weight and have surgery).    She is the one buying all the junk he is eating, and I felt like flinging the skin of the tangerine I was peeling through the TV at her.

I see this on a much smaller scale at home as well.  There are children locally who are struggling with their weight.  I feel so sorry for them on a day to day basis, as most children (and adults) want to be part of the group, and accepted, and weight can be a factor that excludes children from the “in” groups.  

Most overweight children are at the mercy of their parents food and lifestyle choices, and I do feel sorry for them.   I have been lucky in that I have three children, of who two are very thin, and one is average for his age.  All my children are able to eat a lot of food without becoming obese, and for that I am thankful. 

I also have my children do a lot of exercise as I don’t want them to spend their lives as I have, constantly fighting to either get to, or keep my weight at a normal level.    With the computer society, and parents keeping children inside when they can’t be there to watch them, it is difficult to find the right balance.  

I do also think tendancy to put weight on has a bit to do with our genes, and our state of mind at any one time, and that it is difficult to put the blame decisively on any one person or place unless we know the circumstances.  I am not exactly stick thin myself, but when I see an overweight parent of an obese child filling up a grocery trolley with chocolate and stodge, I feel so sad for the children.

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Eat too much, or just in the Genes?

I have three children, and  all of them have different metabolisms, strengths and weaknesses.    Watching them grow has given me a different perspective on what is healthy and what is not.  I used to have a preconceived notion that overweight children were all lazy, or their mums fed them too much.  I have no doubt that for some children, that may well be the case, but not for all.

I have started to think back recently to my own weight struggles in life.   Three times in my life I have had to lose 4 stones to be able to feel normal, and enjoy my life.   On the times I have been fat, I have never, ever enjoyed life as an overweight woman.   

When I am fat, I avoid social interaction and refuse all invites.   Being fat does not suit my life.  Yes I will make fun of it, because I have been there three times already and have managed, though excessive diet and exercise to lose it. 

Each time, it slowly creeps back over a few years to the point where I can’t live with it any more and from somewhere, comes the ability to fight my fat.   Before that day comes, I wake up each morning hating myself for not having the willpower to be able to control how I look and feel.  Each day I tell myself that this is the day I can do it, until I eat lunch and devour 800 calories in one sitting. 

At the moment I am in one of the better downward spiral stages of my life.  Everything is easier to do when you are not carrying around so much baggage.  To lose weight I need to reduce to approx 800 calories a day and exercise at least 2 hours a day on top of housework and dog walking chores.  I don’t feel sorry for me, as it is my own fault.    It’s ok for others who are happy with their weigh to stay that way, that is their choice. 

For me, being overweight is not a good choice, but I do wish it was an easier road to take.  I have often had to pace the floor to stop myself eating more than my body can deal with.   I have always had hormone issues, which is the likely explanation for my bodys’ sickening efficiency with little amounts of food.

I have times where I cannot keep to my bodys’ ridiculously low requirements for me to be healthy, and I refuse to be fat for the rest of my life.  Willpower to stick to 800 calories a day and do all that exercise is really difficult for me, and I cannot keep that up all the time.

Getting back to my children, which is the real reason I started thinking about all of this.  I have three boys.   They are the hyperactive boy type that never sit still.  I mostly home cook, I ration sweet stuff still, and my children all have healthy appetites.  They eat plenty fruit and veg, and they all play football, go to multi activity club, swim, and do karate twice a week.  

My youngest is the unfortunate one.  He is going to be like me, and fight his weight all his life.  His two older brothers (who do no more exercise than their little bro), are the long, lean, slender types.  They could eat a horse and you wouldn’t see where it went.   My youngest is the same height as his older brother, but he is over a stone heavier, and yet eats no more food, and does no less exercise.  Youngest has the broadest shoulders, and needs trousers two waist sizes bigger than his biggest brother.

How do we explain that when we are talking about over eating versus unlucky genes?  I simply can’t.

What do you think.