Archive for November, 2010

Battling the Bulge – Before There is a Bulge

I make it no secret that I loathe McDonald’s.  I think that their food is unhealthy and a terrible choice of a meal to give to a child.  Since I have had my own child, I feel even more strongly in this opinion.  I’m sure that everyone has heard about the photographer taking daily pictures of a McDonald’s happy meal.  After 6 months, the hamburger has shown no indication of mold.  It’s because it is so full of preservatives that it’s too difficult for the mold to grow.  Yuck.

I think some people think that I’m too opinionated on this topic.  I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately, wondering why I am so strongly opposed to fast food.  I think that I have finally figured it out.  I spent a lot of time as a child, teenager, and college student being overweight.  A few growth spurts thinned me out periodically for a while, but the extra pounds always crept back on.  I remember a picture of me when I was in the 4th or 5th grade.  I was wearing bright pink pants and white shirt with black shoes on it.  I was standing in front of a tree at a neighbor’s house and my cheeks were so full and round, I looked like Santa.  I hated that picture.  It probably still exists in a photo album somewhere, but it’s a memory of a time where I really saw myself for the first time as overweight.  It’s funny how a picture can haunt you like that.  25 years later, and I can still see that picture as though I just looked at it yesterday.   I feel very lucky to have conquered the weight issue early in my adult life.  I owe a lot of my success to being exposed to people who set good examples for me with healthy eating and exercise. 

Anyone that has ever been overweight as an adolescent knows how challenging it is.  I remember looking in the mirror and hating what I saw, being embarrassed if I had to wear a bathing suit in front of my peers, and just generally feeling bad about myself.  My mother used to say that I was just big-boned.  Once I shed the excess weight, I found out that I wasn’t big-boned at all.  I was just overweight.  Even today, I sometimes look in the mirror after having too many cookies or that 2nd piece of cake and think that I’m starting to see some pudge building and immediately feel guilty for my lack of self-control.  It’s an awful thing to look at yourself and not like what you see.  It is these experiences have led me to my opinions on fast food. 

I never want my children to feel bad about themselves because of how they look.  I never want them to look in the mirror and think twice about their weight.  I want them to grow up with eating well and exercising are just natural things to include in the lives.  I don’t want it to ever be a challenge for them.  Consequently, I don’t want a trip to McDonald’s to be a “treat” for them.  I do not deprive my son of sweets.  He gets lots of treats.  He’s had his share of cookies, brownies, ice cream, etc.  Most of them are homemade to avoid the chemicals found in packaged foods.  Recently, he has enjoyed some Halloween candy.  Treats in my house also come in the form of grapes, strawberries and other fruit.   I want him growing up not expecting dessert after every meal or knowing that a dessert can be something as simple and healthy as an apple.

I’m a mother who wants to protect her children from growing up overweight and all the psychological and physical issues that accompany that.  If that makes me extreme in my opinions on fast food, organic eating, and excessive sweets, then so be it.  I have a responsibility to keep my family as healthy as possible.  I want my children to become independent adults already armed with the knowledge on how to continue leading healthy lives.  Let’s hope that I’m successful.