Yesterday the kids had friends over. When they arrived, Luke played host and gave our guests, in his best Robin Leach demeanor, the grand tour.
“Those are Andy’s toys. He gets mad if you play with them. These are my Star Wars guys, the Little People…and that (pointing to the elliptical) is so my mom and dad don’t get fat.”
The playdates nodded appreciatively.
My first thought was: I’m glad he didn’t say “so they won’t be fat anymore. Or, so they can burn off all their fat.” At least in his mind we are in the “trying to maintain” demographic.
But then I thought, where’s the balance between teaching kids about fitness and nutrition and having them already worried about things like spare tires and muffin top? When it comes to unwanted junk food, my mantra is, “Those foods don’t help our bodies grow and be strong. What are some foods that help our bodies be healthy?” I don’t think I’ve ever said the words, “That’ll make you fat.” Or, “I’m on the elliptical so I don’t get fat.” But that’s what the kids hear. I try to say things like, “I’m doing this because exercise is important to keep my body healthy.” I really try to avoid the word “fat” but they inevitably throw it in whenever we talk Food Science Nutrition 101.
“And so you won’t be fat, right?”
“Well, yes. But that’s not the point. You want your body to be strong and full of energy. Not sick and tired.”
“And not fat, right?”
How did elementary school aged kids already become so body conscience? At that age I remember eating king sized Snickers bars without one wit of remorse. I can recall surrendering myself to a pillowcase brim full of Halloween candy without one thought towards my hips and thighs. Will my kids ever know such satiating reckless abandon in the ever growing shadow of their inert, video game obsessed, insulin resistant generation?
I certainly don’t want them devouring anymore junk food than is already lurking at every turn (birthday parties, class parties, post soccer games, holidays…the list goes on.) But should they already be worrying about paying for those treats on the elliptical?
Perhaps I’m making too much of this. I’ve worked myself into a lather. As long as I don’t obsess, they won’t obsess, right? If I fret about my figure, they fret about theirs. So I won’t.
I mean, I’m sure I’ve already burned like, at least 50 calories worrying about this, right?