Food is never just food. It’s love, comfort, solace, consolation. Sometimes it’s support. Sometimes it’s politics and religion. It’s nourishment or it’s junk. It’s fast, or it’s carefully and thoughtfully prepared. It’s all-you-can-eat or it’s a super-sized value meal (some value). But, it’s never just food.
One thing is certain about food though—we’re all preoccupied with it. We are indeed what we eat—and our children are what we feed them. It’s a lot to chew on . . . especially when you learn that a third of all children are considered overweight and 17 percent are clinically obese.
The U.S. weight loss market is expected to reach $68.7 billion this year. It thrives on food—and it thrives on failure. Our failure. After all, the diet and weight loss industry is built on repeat business. They need us to come back for more, and now it appears we’re all starting earlier. It’s estimated 40 percent of girls in first through fifth grades are trying to lose weight.
Back to food. Here’s an idea to consider . . . What if we listened to our bodies and look to ourselves for the reasons we’re taking in all this food? What if we look at what we need, not just what we want? What if we look at processes, not outcomes? I’ll bet if we worked to develop a “healthy relationship” with our food, changing our food behaviors—and our behaviors toward food, we might find we’re developing a healthier relationship with our weight at the same time. If the only goal is weight loss, you’ll probably be disappointed to learn that two-thirds of all dieters regain the weight they lost within one year, and 97 percent regain lost weight within five years. After all, when you lose weight, you don’t necessarily lose the reasons you turned to food in the first place.
We can heap our dinner plates with information, mis-information and dis-information. But, moving away from the concept of “heap,” what if we simply take a look at moderation? A little restraint, a little control, and a little thought about what we really are after moves the focus from food to health, away from “Barbie doll” looks, away from chubby children, away from finger-pointing and straight to the bottom line of health.
Maybe some of that $68.7 billion we’re spending on diet supplements, shakes, pills, diet books, diet entrees and meal plans could be spent on healthier food choices? Do you have food for thought to share?