6 good reasons why parents should not have ‘dieting’ as a New Year’s resolution:

In my experience New Year’s Dieting tends to mean cutting things out, consuming less or only eating certain types of food in an effort to lose some of those Christmas pounds or kilos. Rather than applying the principles, that I advocate, of Mindful Eating.

If you are considering a New Years inspired diet here are 6 points you should look at before making your final resolution.

  1. Children need to learn the art of self regulation. In order for this children need to be able to listen to their bodies and understand when they are full. When you choose to diet it can limit your ability to discuss food and eating in a positive way. Diets can limit your ability to recognise signals from your body. Some Diets can be negative and teach more about restriction than self control. The message that is conveyed through some diets is “I need to deprive myself of food, in order to be a certain weight.” Children need to learn that their portions sizes are smaller because they recognise when they are full, not because it is outlined in a diet plan.
  2. Educating your children about moderation, can have a wider impact in all aspects of their lives. Discussing with, in front of and in earshot of your children about the highly addictive sugar/ fat combination present in chocolate for example will educate them to understand what is informing your choices of what to eat and why it should be a consideration when they come to make decisions. Most diets don’t teach self-control or eating everything in moderation.
  3. Diets can potentially link eating and enjoying food directly to weight gain and unhappiness.
  4. Children’s knowledge and understanding of food and how to eat healthy won’t come through learning how to diet. Diets can instruct you to count calories, points or replace meals with shakes. Looking at this information and recording it won’t increase your children’s understanding of food or how to eat healthily. It will only teach them about dieting. Being aware of the ingredients and finding out the salt and sugar content is more informative and will teach your children how to make the right food choices.
  5. Diets can be limiting and boring. It’s much more fun to have different food adventures with your family so they can explore as well. You can have a meat-free month and explore veg, with different ways of cooking them. You can have a sugar-free month or a wheat-free month.
  6. Your children know if you are on a diet whether you choose to tell or discuss it with them. Your children, like all children, pick up on what you don’t say and your behaviour. As their role model you are being watched! So your non-verbal communication is analysed and assessed as much as what you actually say and do.

Exploring, enjoyment and adventure are key to the art of eating well, so don’t restrict yourself, your palate or your family this New Year’s.


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