Too much of a good thing – How your Health is Being Affected
You may be wondering how that can be. How can there be too much of a good thing?
Obviously you don’t mean junk food as we know that isn’t a good thing, I hear you say, and you would be correct. I am not referring to too much sugar or too much fat in the diet per say. What I am really implying is too much love. Now before you get up in arms with me and start messaging. Let me explain.
Love in and of itself is amazing. It shows care, compassion, empathy understanding and communication.
However if we show love through unhealthy means it has serious long term consequences.
Let me elaborate.
First, an adult perspective.
If your beloved shows you love with food, that in and of itself is wonderful. Having someone prepare a meal can be pure bliss, especially if to you it is a chore. However, if it comes in the form of feeling obligated to eat extra big portions, or to have more meals than you may like out that may or may not be healthy in nature. Then you are simply eating to keep the peace or to not upset someone. That isn’t healthy. You may see subsequent weight gain, skin breakouts and inflammation.
Culturally, many families show love with food. Meals being a wonderful social time, food prep a shared experience and gatherings a fabulous way to catch up. However I have had clients come to me and feel so overwhelmed by what was put in front of them. They ate more of and certain foods that they would have preferred not to.
This isn’t a healthy version of love for that person. The intent of the family or loved one may well be pure, but it is simply TOO much of a good thing.
Let’s relate this now to our offspring, the future adults of tomorrow. It is no secret that childhood obesity is growing. An article from the CDC centre for disease control and prevention. Cites childhood obesity at 18.5%. That is almost one 5th of all children and this is not addressing those that are still above a healthy weight range. As parents we are showing again too much love.
I too have done this, wanting to buy some nice treat for the kids as a sign of love. And done once in a while this is OK. The problems come when:
- We do this too frequently. After all we only need so many calories a day, even if we are young and have a higher metabolism.
- And how healthy is it to show rewards through food? By consistently doing this we are reinforcing food as a go-to when the child soon to be adult feels bad. Or they eat when they have done something good, when they feel sad. Surely a healthier reinforcement would be a better way to associate with.
For both adults and children once we anchor or associate food with comfort, or reward it is so much more difficult to change this habit and thought process.
So what are the Healthier Options?
This is not to say that we can’t have big family meals or a dinner out, or that we can’t buy our kids that ice-cream. But we need to show a differentiation between this being our sole way to show love.
Our partner wanting to show love through food, could maybe cook a healthier option or simply not be offended with their partner wants a smaller portion or prefers to avoid takeaway.
The family doing a big event could realise that we still love their food, and them, even if we choose to eat less, or stick to the vegetables. Now we too need to understand that we can’t change the thinking of those around us. But we may need to be stronger in saying NO THANKS, or simply not giving into the temptation to over indulge. If we practice, soon we become better at knowing how eating less will feel and that focus will drive us forward to make healthier choices.
Finally for our kids whom we adore, attention, activities, cuddles, conversation with active listening may be far better ways to reinforce how much we love them. This keeps the kids more active at school, able to relate better with their peers and most importantly reduced their incidence of getting adult type diseases related to obesity prematurely. Isn’t that a better way to show love, educate those too young to know better that there are other ways to show love?
So the next time you are thinking of showing love, accepting love, or are afraid to speak out; know that we can do this in other forms besides food.
You may need educate family members healthy appears for you. With mutual respect, knowing that they care about this can hopefully take the pressure of those family gatherings.
You may need to teach your family about how you want them to show love to your children. How to reinforce discipline with eating for the child. Imagine then in the long run you will have a healthier child that enjoys a wide range of activities, movement, friendships. A child that enjoys aspects of life that are not just related to food. A child in a healthy weight range with reduced incidence of adult type diseases.
Too much of a good thing can take many forms but the beauty of it is that we have a choice how we accept this love and how we give it.