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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

I'm Not Perfect. Children and Diet - Wellness Journey Post #8

Our daughter is an athlete. She is a fast pitch pitcher.  She is a freshman in high school and she has coaches that believe in her.  They want to push her and to help her succeed.  As a 9th grader her coach has had her pitching against 18 year old teams and she has been very successful.  She has already had college coaches express an interest in her.  Yes I am a proud Mom.

Here is where I am not proud.  Our diets have gotten out of control. She loves sugar and carbs.  Yes I know she is young and that she can burn of the calories.  That is not the point.  I am not worried about her caloric intake I am worried about what she is putting in her body.  Cookies and chips will not fuel the kind of athlete she is and what she wants to become.

Even with my own poor eating and exercise habits this is something about which I am very passionate.  I have know for years what is the right thing to do and how to eat healthy, I just made the choice not to.  This is really important to understand.  It is not that I didn't have will power, it is not me saying, I can't".  It was I WOULDN'T.  I didn't care about myself enough to want to do it for me.  As a result I didn't do it for my family either.  I let them develop horrible habits.

I watched her team as 12U players at a State tournament.  Well meaning parents brought, cookies, ice cream, and cupcakes as snacks (read - rewards) for their hard work.  They had been playing really well and progressing through the tournament.  They had just won a game to progress to the next level.  They started the game really well.  As the game progressed, they started making mistakes.  These were mistakes that they had not made all weekend long.  I personally watched almost the entire team go through a sugar crash.  They ended up losing.  It was a tournament and season ending loss.  From that point on we made it very clear with our daughter that those sugary snacks/treats were not acceptable for her.  She hates to watch everyone else eat cookies,or cupcakes.  Or even worse... breakfast.  Watching players eat waffles with sugary fruit sauce and topped with whipped cream?  Oh my.  Protein, fruit and whole grains for our baby girl.  She has learned to appreciate it.  We won't even talk about what sugar does to your body, inflammation, disease and much much more.

If you want to read more about sugar, here is a good place to start.

This is the key.  Because we allowed these bad habits to creep into our lives and our children's diets, it is REALLY HARD to change these habits.  If I could give one word of advice to parents of young children it would be to stick with it!  It is too easy to grab a sugary granola bar or a cookie as a treat for your kids.  Treats should be that, a treat, not a multiple times a day experience.

My diet has completely changed.  Now I am working on my family.  One step at a time.  We have eliminated sugary sodas and drinks, eating more whole foods.  We will continue on the journey and learn to make better choices with the occasional "treat".

We stopped at a restaurant the other day in between softball events.  This is not a normal occurrence for us since I have been on this month long challenge.  I ordered a house salad with oil and vinegar on the side.  My husband ordered a salad, my son ordered a salad. My daughter wanted chicken fingers and french fries.  She felt guilty and ordered a salad.  I will take it. I prefer to look at the guilt as my being a good role model.  Change takes time and patience.


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