You can be forgiven for assuming that your dieting habit affects you and you alone but sadly this is not the case. If you have a family, you can be sure that your dieting will have an impact on everyone. This is particularly concerning if you have children because they naturally look to their parents for guidance and perspective of the world. Constant dieting, fluctuations in mood and weight could mean that you unknowingly pass on beliefs and habits that will have a negative impact on young minds. From personal experience, I have listed three of these beliefs (although there are many more) that could be harmful:
- They will come to believe that thin = beautiful and will begin to judge themselves on what their outer appearance is like. I grew up in a family where my mother was constantly on a diet and my father would regularly call her ‘fat’. I quickly began to believe that if you wanted to be loved, you had to be thin.
- They will believe that certain foods are forbidden, and this will create stress and anxiety should they eat these. Say for example, you absolutely love chocolate which, only if eaten in vast amounts causes weight gain, and that every time you allow yourself to eat it, you feel terrible afterwards. You may even say out loud ‘mummy’s been a naughty girl and eaten all this chocolate and now she’ll get fat’ or ‘mummy will go on a diet tomorrow or she won’t fit into that dress’ or other similar phrase. This will ring alarm bells with your children. They will grow up feeling stressed around these foods and as a result may themselves over indulge.
- If you are in a bad mood because you have broken your diet or put on weight, they will equate happiness with dieting success. It’s no secret that a broken diet can in the very least leave you in a low mood or at it’s worst, extremely depressed. You may refuse to go out and instead sofa surf watching TV and eating all weekend, only to find that you have made your situation from bad to worse. Children are extremely sensitive to their parent’s moods and if you find yours fluctuates according to the state of your diet, you are unwittingly adding stress to their lives.
So, next time you are tempted to begin yet another diet, spare a thought for your children. . . .
Written by Sherry Taylor
Author of The Anti-Diet Lifestyle