Thursday, January 24, 2008

The state of our children....

Last night, I was watching a program on TLC called My Shocking Story. I've enjoyed the other two I'd seen. Last night's was called Too Young To Be So Fat.

Side note: I'll admit to liking Big Medicine. I love that these doctors (the Drs. Garth) truly are helping people with their weight problems. It's not just a "cut, you're skinny" operation. They are truly aware that people need to make major changes in their lives in order for these operations to work. They won't operate on someone who isn't willing to make changes, both physically and emotionally.

That being said, last night's TLC program was upsetting to me. They highlighted 3 kids: Dexter (16, weighing 340), Garrett (13, weight unknown), and a young girl whose name I forget (13, weight approximately 340)

The two boys were attending the Academy of the Sierras, probably the only year-round boarding high school for morbidly obese kids in the world. They both acknowledged that they ate for the wrong reasons, and that they had a problem they needed to work on and control in order to be healthy and live a good life. Their parents acknowledged that there were issues that involved THEM, as parents, which led to their childrens' weight problems.

The girl, on the other hand, just totally hacked me off. She took NO responsibility in her weight loss. She "tried" diets but they just didn't work (generally, diets are only effective if you follow them, stick to them and WORK the program), and exercise was "not an option".

Her solution? LIPOSUCTION. Yeah. She thought that getting the fat sucked out was going to change her life so completely. The more I listened to this girl, the angrier I got. She had this unrealistic idea that when the liposuction took place, her eating habits were going to be better, she was all of a sudden going to be exercising, beautiful and pretty, and svelte. All said while she was stuffing her face with garbage.

There was a doctor that was actually considering doing lipo on her. But, unfortunately (for her AND the doctor, I'm sure, since he wasn't going to be making any $$$ off of her) her iron levels were too low. She was popping vitamins and iron pills like candy. She was going to be retested later on...and SURE she was going to have this surgery.

Oh...but here's what REALLY ticked me off. Her mom took absolutely NO responsibility for her daughter. Apparently, the mom worked nights, so was only home for a short time...the kid had no supervision and ate whatever she wanted. Didn't help that the mom got all sorts of junk for her, either. They showed the mom "trying" to make things right by feeding her steak and a salad. The kid actually GAGGED eating a tomato and a piece of steak. People...this girl is THIRTEEN! It just made me so upset. She obviously never learned to eat good foods!

Then they had a "vacation". Mom chose to go to VEGAS for a "vacation away from bad eating habits and influences". Yeah....GOOD choice, mom. They were on the road when the daughter "remembered" she forgot her iron pills (sure, she forgot...accidentally on PURPOSE). As soon as they got to the hotel, mom hits the casinos, leaving daughter and a cousin ALONE. The girls head for a buffet, where Miss Lipo loads up her plate with fried and fatty chickens and junk. Not one vegetable, not one fruit, nothing. She had an overloaded plate, ate it all, and went back for dessert - overloaded plate again. The daughter complained about mom being MIA. Mom finally showed up and you could tell she was DRUNK, and couldn't care less about the daughter.

And oh, HOW sad, when they go to the doctor and he says he won't do lipo because she just doesn't have enough iron in her blood. Mom cries and can't understand why.

********** I AM TRULY BLESSED!!! *************

Okay - I didn't grow up eating all the best foods...but my parents instilled a love of fruits and vegetables. My mother taught me early how to cook. Yeah, I used to fry my steaks and burgers in a frying pan with butter (and still do, on occasion, for the sheer flavor of it). But my mom taught me to like a salad and most veggies. I am a fruit addict. Currently, in my fridge, you can find 2 kinds of apples (granny smith and braeburn), 2 types of grapes (green and red), a papaya, a pomegranate, blueberries, strawberries and blackberries. The pears are all gone now, unfortunately. We have tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, celery, cukes in the drawer.

My kids? Well, they would almost rather have fruit over junk. Yeah, they do like candy and other things, but if we give them an option, they will choose fruit 75% of the time. And we limit the candy intake. And the junk food. I'm not a perfect mom, but I am not going to sent my children up for failure by allowing them to use food to solve all problems. It's not a medication to use when you're sad or happy or depressed or bored. My kids love fruit. Apples, oranges, strawberries (well, Scotty's allergic to those and tomatoes....), blueberries...they LOVE to try new things...they truly enjoyed pomegranates! They're willing to try new things. Hannah actually drinks milk now (after refusing to for many years) and ASKED for a fried egg for breakfast one day!

And most of all...if my kids DO become obese, or have weight problems...I have to take responsibility for it...they can't do it by themselves...there has to be an enabler. Yeah...we have arguments about eating. Last night was a prime example. Scotty didn't want to eat what I had for supper. Ham, mashed potatoes and corn. And so, his meal was his "bedtime snack". He had the option of eating the rest of his supper, or having nothing. He chose his supper. And he ate it all. And he was allowed some goldfish after.

I hope that I set my kids up for a successful life when it comes to eating. I hope that they learn to make great choices simply by thinking about how mom and dad provided them good choices as they grew up. I hope I did right by them.


archshrk said...

Hello, Michele sent me.

Weight is a tough issue to handle. Many people who are overweight seem to justify it or accept it as "normal". I'm referring to very overweight, not the diet industry's definition (aka 50lbs)

But you're right. individuals who are overweight (and their parents) have to accept responsibility before change can happen.

SB said...

I do cringe when I see very fat kids. Then you look at the parents who are equally unhealthy. Genetics can be cruel but that doesn't mean you have to lie down with a burge in one hand and a twinkie in the other and let food/fat/genetics run you over. Fat parents usually don't want to deal with their own issues, passing along the denial to the helpless kids.
In my family, diabetes has hit every daughter but me. And I won't let it.
Fruit RULES in my house. I swear Adam would not be able to sustain life without hs apples.


Sue said...

I always looked at our family history and figured that in our case, it was how the previous generations were raised. They were "farm" people for the most part who cooked everything in the most unhealthy is hard to get a healthy respect for food when your parents cook unhealthily. We weren't fast food junkies as kids (well McD's of course but...) but even veggies were slathered in real butter and everything was fried to within an ounce of it's life -- I still miss it so :) -- remember the fried pillsbury buns we used to make -- yummmmmmmmmy...........oh and add to that the Italian/French food thing and we had lots of re-learning to do :)

Kidazy said...

I am another fruit and veggie junkie and really don't understand people who don't think that fruits and veggies are a necessity in every meal or at least two of the three! How sad for those children.

rennratt said...

I completely agree with you.

I am overweight, and have been for years. However. The idea of giving my kid a free pass because I am not 'perfect' is unacceptable.

I have found that, while I encourage my daughter to eat healthy, I am beginning to do the same.

It doesn't hurt that my daughter loves apples, carrots, celery and lima beans.

hotmama mathe aka keypounder said...

Bless parents like you who are responsible enough to net let kids grow up not knowing the right foods to eat. Unfortunately, not many parents have the same food wisdom these days. The obesity problem in the Western world is growing like epidemic - it sure is shocking for me.

I always do the same with my kids. I also remind them not to waste their veggies and healthy foods because a lot of kids in Africa go to bed hungry. They seem to understand.

carli said...

what was so interesting to me in this episode (I didn't watch the whole thing) was that this girl looked at liposuction as a cure-all for her weight problem. Liposuction is not necessarily permanent--she could very well be overweight again if she continued to eat the way she did.

Queen of Light and Joy said...

Today while watching Oprah she did a show on kids who had lap band surgery and gastric by pass surgery - all under the age of 16. Of course ALL the kids were like I don't know how i got this way (cuz Oprah was all "how'd you get fat") but I am so thankful for the surgery. And of course all of the parents were like he/she exercises, eats healthy blah blah blah but what I thought was so funny and telling was that when Oprah asked each kid what they could eat now, EACH KID says I can eat three bites of a hamburger and a couple of french fries.

I don' think those kids did enough to help themselves in their weight loss journey and I think their parents are part of the problem. In half of the cases the parents were also over weight.

I guess it doesn't seem as obvious to them? :)