Diets are not the answer to healthy eating

Diets are not the answer to healthy eating

If you are expecting to eat perfectly 100% of the time it’s likely that you are feeling discontent and frustrated with yourself a lot of the time. This is the nature of dieting.

A recent statistic from the Butterfly Foundation suggested that 90% of girls and 68% of boys 12-17 years of age have dieted. This is only concerning if you also know that dieting is a predictor of future weight gain and is a risk factor in the development of depression. It is the chase for perfection that leads children and adults to diet. Ironically it is the restriction of food that prevents you from maintaining a healthy weight.

With dieting comes restriction, and with restriction comes rebellion. This can manifest itself in sneaking food or eating a lot of a food you are trying to restrict. Dieting starts up emotional eating where you eat regardless of if you are hungry or not and starts to degrade the intuition that children have around food. Be mindful of the role model you are being for your child- if you are often unhappy about food, your body and eating it’s likely you will pass this struggle on to your child.

The answer lies in balance and learning how to eat less healthy foods sometimes, without feeling guilty. Don’t expect perfection around food and eating and don’t ban any foods. A child can learn when to stop eating if they are given the chance but if this process is over ridden or food is banned by adults, particularly if the child is overweight, the unhelpful diet cycle has begun.

Lisa Renn, Accredited Practising Dietitian www.dietproofyourkids.com.au

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