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Tips to combat childhood obesity

Tips to combat childhood obesity

Step 1: Don't fry the broccoli.

Author: Mother Cusser/Thursday, September 5, 2013/Categories: Cussing, Tips to improve your life, Funny, funny, funny

<<This broccoli is wearing a brown sweater. 

 

I don't like seeing the fat kid on the show Modern Family.


Not because he’s a bad actor. He’s not.  Not because he has curly hair. It’s fine.  Not because he’s boring.  He’s quite funny, talented too.

I don’t like seeing him because he’s fat.

Let me explain – what I really don’t like about him is that his parents made him fat.  I don’t like that this kid had so little exercise and so much food that he looks like he does. I don’t like that a child his age is so big that the TV producers have to put mens button down shirts on him to minimize his girth.  I don’t like that he is promoted as a normal, healthy kid.  Because he’s not a normal healthy kid.  Unfortunately, he’s the picture of bad health. 

And he’s only a child.  WTF, people. 

While I’m at it – let’s talk about something else fat-related.  BODY IMAGE ISSUES FOR GIRLS.

Hey, I get it.  I’m a girl.  In 4th grade I began thinking I was fat and I began to watch what I ate.  Can someone tell me WHY IS THIS SO AWFUL???  Why was I made to feel weird and wrong for wanting to be healthy and in shape?  Why is noticing that I might have a belly at age 9 a bad thing?  Luckily, I managed to control my weight with diet and exercise did not have any struggles with weight until beer drinking and college and then having kids.  I’ve definitely been a chubby girl and have had to battle that.  But now I’m feeling like I’m pretty fit (not perfect). 

Me during pregnancy.  And after.  


And I’m allowed to say I’M NOT PERFECT.  Why can’t I say that? Why am I constantly told by other women to ACCEPT YOUR BODY TYPE? LOVE WHO YOU ARE.  Blah blah blah. Shut up.  If I think my thighs need toning, I should be within my rights to tone them.  Why do you continue to tell me to accept something I consider below my status quo?  Why am I bad for not loving every damn thing I see in the mirror?

Why does loving myself mean I can’t continue to work on myself?  Why does loving ME mean if my jeans are too tight, I should accept it and still wear them?  I LOVE MYSELF TOO MUCH NOT TO WEAR JEANS THAT MAKE ME LOOK LIKE A STUFFED SAUSAGE.

Because guess what else, Cussers?  It is this flawed logic that brings our heavy teenage girls to the pool and tells them to WEAR BIKINIS.  Don’t you dare tell me that you think that it’s okay for a girl who has been unfairly tasked with a weight challenge to wear a small bikini where her tummy hangs out over the front and creates a shadow.  IT IS NOT OKAY.  By telling them to love themselves NO MATTER WHAT we are effectively telling them to never try to better themselves.  And it’s this blind acceptance that literally puts their health at risk.  LITERALLY PUTS THEIR HEALTH AT RISK.

And this is a boy problem too.
It breaks my heart to see boys with big bellies and bowed backs. 

And I’m well aware of the types of eating disorders that can come along with not liking your body.  Like you, I also had a friend who was bulimic, or one that was anorexic, or one that took laxatives or maybe all three.  I definitely didn't always view my weight in a healthy way and I recognize fully that the “love yourself no matter what” message was promoted to combat those awful mental disorders.  I agree we should love ourselves. I agree those disorders are not okay and also can put our kids at risk. 

But what we’ve effectively done is steer to the other extreme now.   It’s either you’re an unhealthy 85 lbs and miserable or you’re an unhealthy 260 lbs and loving yourself no matter what.  But are you really?  Just because you talk about diet and exercise with your kids doesn't mean they are going to become anorexic.

There can and should be a happy medium.  Here’s what I suggest:

1.    Stop giving your elementary aged kid a dessert to have every day in his/her lunch.  What is the purpose of this?  It’s extra crap that’s unnecessary.  Believe me - between birthday cupcakes brought in by well-meaning parents and classroom holiday parties your kids are getting plenty of dessert at school.
2.    Start letting your kids go outside.  Everything doesn’t have to be a flippin FAMILY EVENT.  It doesn’t have to always be the family bike ride.  The family walk.  The family jump on the trampoline. I’m not saying don’t do family events.  REPEAT: I AM NOT SAYING DON’T DO FAMILY EVENTS.  I am saying, however, that you are a busy parent.  You can’t always do a family exercise. Doesn’t mean your kid needs to stay inside because you’re doing laundry. Let em out.  Put em out.
3.    Think long and hard about what you feed them.  I’m not anywhere near perfect in this area.  I make a kick ASS mac and cheese that would knock your socks off.  And sometimes, getting my boys to eat a vegetable is equivalent to stabbing them repeatedly in the tongue with a hot fork.  
4.    Make a lifestyle change.  Not a yo-yo “Mom and Dad are on a health kick so you have to eat  your broccoli” to “Mom and Dad were craving fried chicken, chow time!”  It’s confusing.  And fried stuff always tastes better than broccoli, duh.  Doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to eat.
5.    Don’t fry the broccoli.
6.    Stop with the snacks.  I have found that really hungry kids will actually eat a vegetable if it’s offered. I didn’t say they will like it. But they will eat it.  While rolling their eyes and telling you that their other friends at school never eat vegetables.
7.    Teach your kids that being heavy is not bad.  That if they are heavy or have a heavy friend that this is just a thing to work on and manage (much like getting a math tutor for math challenges doesn't mean you are stupid), because it’s just not a great way to have a healthy future.  
8.    Stop blaming the school. Stop blaming kidnappers.  Stop blaming McDonalds.  This whole thing is up to you.  
9.    Don’t talk to me if you’re an overweight adult.  That is your decision.  And I don’t judge you for it.  You’re an adult.  I love you no matter what you look like.  Seriously.  This is about kids.  REPEAT: This is about kids.
10.    And I also know there are medical reasons for weight challenges. I know there are other factors that come into play when it comes to weight.  But let’s be honest those folks are not the norm – there’s a reason we have shows like The Biggest Loser and Extreme Makeover – Weight Loss Edition.  There's that "People of Walmart" site that has all kinds of pics of overweight people in unusual clothing. Honey freakin Boo Boo has a her own show.  Shut it.

Just think of it this way.  You put the right gas in your car so it will run well.  You put the wrong kind of gas in and what happens?

Exactly.  Your car gets fat.

Wait, I mean it runs poorly or not at all.  Give your kids healthy gas. Wait, don’t give them gas.  Give them healthy food that will give them gas.  Yes, that’s it.

Give your kids healthy food that will give them gas.  You can quote me on that.

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13 comments on article "Tips to combat childhood obesity"

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DawnMarie

9/5/2013 10:45 AM

I agree. It is easier to give the kids what they want and it really SEEMS like a good idea to tell them they should love themselves so matter what. I mean that IS right but sometimes love isn't easy. Sometimes love means doing the hard thing. Love is work. THAT is what we need to teach our kids. Hell, that's what we need to teach ourselves.


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Mother Cusser

9/5/2013 10:54 AM

"Sometimes love means doing the hard thing." Well said.


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Colleen

9/5/2013 11:02 AM

LOVE LOVE LOVE this. I have many important things to contribute but I have to pickup my 4th grader who will disappear into the backyard as soon as his homework is done and a 2-year old who stays alive only because there are grapes in the fridge. However I will come back to share my very controversial but insightful thoughts about this. I just returned from the Gulf Coast where the childhood obesity epidemic is alive and well. Yeesh.


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Diary of a Madwoman

9/5/2013 12:00 PM

Ohhh mother cusser. When are you moving into my commune? Huh? My kids eat vegetables. You know why? Because that's what I serve. Also, I know a shit ton of skinny(ish) people who are insanely unhealthy. They never go outside, (I call them the white flowers - they're always the sickly ones if you notice) they never exercise and they post alot of disgusting recipes on facebook. Eat real food! Clean your house everyday like that mfer is on fire - great exercise. And quit posting all those sugary desserts on FB. That's what pinterest is for.


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Colleen

9/5/2013 12:40 PM

So here are my controversial thoughts about this.

Yes, childhood obesity is alive and well, and the messages about "loving your body" are bunk. Telling kids to love their out-of-shape bodies is forcing a message at TOO young an age that it's okay to be unhealthy. This makes LAZY kids. I, too, thought at a VERY young age I should lose weight. Why I'm not sure, looking back I certainly didn't at 8 years old, but it got me thinking about what I looked like, what I wanted to look/feel like as an adult and how I should live my life. While I would never EVER shame a young overweight girl in a bikini or a young boy with little chubby rolls showing under his shirt, internally I feel sad for them, knowing that hasn't been their fault. I also hated the messages thrown at me after having both of my kids that I should embrace every stretch mark, every dimple, every extra inch of skin but I didn't. I hated my lumpy, shapeless post-partum body and did everything in my power to make sure I changed it. So there. Call the self-esteem police if you don't like it.

Our definition of "healthy" could use some tweaking these days. I see recipes on Pinterest that proclaim that because something uses Nutella it's a "healthier version", or that because they use fat-free Cool Whip (which is NOT food, by the way but that's a whole other argument) it's a "healthy dessert". Or my arch nemesis, HungryGirl, makes up some crap-tastic dessert using fat-free Cool-Whip, sugar-free chocolate sauce and some kind of Splenda-flavored ice cream and declares that you can "EAT THE WHOLE THING FOR BARELY 250 CALORIES SQUEEEEE!". So instantly we're convinced that more is better, no matter what the cost, and if you think your kids aren't paying attention to that you're wrong. This whole "moderation" thing has gotten out of control. No one even knows what "moderation" means anymore and it certainly doesn't mean to plow down an entire chemical-fest of a dessert because, you know, "everything in moderation". Dessert is a TREAT and should be considered as such, not something we're entitled to have.

Our kids are watching us.They're watching us snack. They're watching us eat. They're listening to our conversations. They're paying attention in the grocery store and using the very intense power of WHINING so they can convince us PLEASE BUY THE TACO DORITOS OMG WE NEVER HAVE DORITOS JUST THIS ONE PLEEEEEEEEASE. Just say no. That's all. Yes, it means your little snowflake may have an unpleasant moment, but they will forget and move on to some other infraction that makes you the Worst.Parent.Ever (tm).

Don't even get me started on "Kids Menus" in restaurants. If I go to another Mexican restaurant that has fried chicken tenders on the kids menu I'm going to have an embolism. Nobody NEEDS to have fried chicken tenders at a Mexican restaurant. If they won't eat anything the menu then they can wait until they get home to eat something.


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SuperSatiated

9/6/2013 6:24 AM

This is my first time to read your blog... I'm loving you already!


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Thomas Horton

9/6/2013 12:52 PM

Mother, I am a fat man. I was a fat kid. And you're almost right.

My own personal issue is glandular, but that is not usually the case. Kids today don't get enough exercise. They eat too much unhealthy crap. They eat in too much volume, with too much frequency.

But the issue with body image is where I must respectfully disagree. Is it okay for a fat girl to wear a bikini? No. And yet, yes. If she's 5'5" and 350 pounds, no, obviously, she's gonna look awful. If she's 5'5" and 160 pounds... well.... what's the answer? Who decides when you're "too fat?" Abercrombie & Fitch don't sell girls jeans above a size 10. TEN. So a girl who wears a 12 is too fat for A&F. No matter that she's nearly six feet tall. A&F doesn't want fat people wearing their clothes. So they are telling girls with perfectly healthy and normal figures that they're not fat (read> attractive) enough to wear their (very trendy and popular) clothing line.

That's a dangerous message for impressionable youngsters, male or female. And boys have body image issues too. Trust me. That fat kid who won't take his shirt off in the pool is a victim of someone telling him he's too fat. So he keeps his shirt on (like that somehow disguises his blubber), feels self-conscious, and, to keep from being ostracized, either becomes a bully or a buffoon (or in my case, both).

All I am saying is, there's a difference between body acceptance and body pride. I'm built like a sumo wrestler. One day sumo will be sexy, but in our current cultural constructs it is not. So I have a choice: I can loathe my body, eat foods that I hate, engage in activities to burn it off and get frustrated, or I can accept that I am a fat-ass, try within reason to change that, but understand that it would take a miracle of Biblical proportion to make me a hot-bod. Not gonna happen. Accept. Embrace. Love.

Now pass that broccoli, it looks amazeballs.


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Mother Cusser

9/6/2013 1:49 PM

I like your post, Thomas. And I think you make a great point about acceptance and pride. Also good question - who decides? I say the medical community does. I think if you're heavy and healthy as an ADULT - good on ya. Even if you're unhealthy. You're an adult. But like I said - this blog is about the kids. It breaks my heart to see that teenage girl at the pool. As you've stated - you can relate to what that was like - being at the pool. It's interesting. Part of me wants to say DO IT GIRL!! GO FOR IT! I do. I want everyone to be happy. To feel good. But am I helping her or hurting her by saying those things? By ignoring what's obvious? And, how did she get that way. I know you've got a gland thing. But come on - I'm not the first person to talk about childhood obesity. This isn't glandular. This AMERICAN CULTURE. And it needs to stop. Like DawnMarie said - we need to know that love sometimes means doing the hard thing. Love yourself - and do the hard thing. That's what she said. BTW - amazeballs. Love it.


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Thomas Horton

9/6/2013 3:02 PM

There is fatty delusion. You see it all the time. Morbidly obese chicks in miniskirts going clubbing. Awful. I just think we have to tread a really fine line. For the kids, I agree. Encourage activity, promote healthy diet, but if your teenage daughter is, say, 20 pounds overweight, and she wants to wear a short dress, or a sleeveless top, or a bikini, you may be doing her more harm (psychological) than good (body fitness) in telling her not to.

Great discussion!


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vivalasnarky

9/9/2013 9:02 AM

The first thing I did after reading this is googled deep fried broccoli with ranch dressing. We will be having that tomorrow. I disagree- fry the damn broccoli because it is delicious. But that's where our discord ends, I agree with you on everything else. I think that dissatisfaction is the mother of desire and desire is the fuel of life. If you are happy with everything, you go nowhere in life. Sorry but it's true. The entire advancement of civilization is based on our dissatisfaction with our current state.


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Mddrn

9/27/2013 1:52 PM

Love this blog post Mother Cusser!! As a mother, as a medical professional and as a former fatty!! This country needs more accountability for its actions especially in health with diet and exercise!! Keep it up!!


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Darlynn

10/7/2013 11:18 AM

In our house, I realized that I am in charge of the WHAT, WHEN and WHERE of food and the kids are in charge of the IF. I CAN stop buying Clif kids "granola" bars, tortilla chips and those full-fat yogurt cups from Trader Joe's. If they aren't in the house then they can't be eaten. I say, 'Here's what's available, children. Feel free to eat it or wait until the next meal." Yes, there are nights where their tummies rumble and that's sad. Yes, they complain and say I'm a mean mama, and that's hard. But this is what a healthy lifestyle looks like...not indulging in your every desire for a short-term YUM. Of course I'd love to just eat cereal, toast, cheese, chocolate and wine all day but I don't. So my kids don't get to just eat "snacks" all day either.


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Mother Cusser

10/7/2013 11:58 AM

Well done, Darlynn. This is exactly what I'm talking about.

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