At LaLa's last doctors visit it was mentioned that she was below average in weight. KiKi is also slightly below average in weight. I am overweight and their dad according to Air Force standards is overweight (even though to normal people he is a healthy weight). LaLa's doctor mentioned to me that I need to pack on the calories in her diet. He recommended peanut butter, nutella, cheesy sauces, creamy sauces, basically anything that has a shed load of calories packed into not much food since she is a child and has a child sized appetite. I of course agreed with him while in my head I groaned because being a heavier person myself I have a hard time resisting things such as peanut butter, nutella, cheesy sauces and creamy sauces (and chips, and cakes, and chocolate, and bread, and french fries, and cheese burgers...).
LaLa the whole time was listening with intent and when we got back into the car had loads of questions for me.
La- Mom, what does it mean that I am under weight?
Me- It means that you are really thin.
La- What are calories?
Me- They are the energy in food that give your body what it needs to run. If you eat more calories than your activity burns off then you gain a bit of weight. That is what the doctor is asking me to do, give you more calories.
La- So I need to get fatter?
Me- I wouldn't say fatter, but you could stand to gain a few pounds in order to be more healthy.
La- Do veggies have calories?
La- Do I need to eat veggies? I don't like them.
Me- You need to try to eat more veggies.
La- *sigh* So, also because I exercise so much I need to eat more calories?
Me- Yep, because your body keeps burning all those calories that are in your food off.
About a week ago I started WeightWatchers. LaLa, being the ever observant seven year old that she is, noticed that I was paying a lot of attention to the food labels and plugging them into a special calculator before I would eat this week. She finally started asking questions a couple of days ago.
La- Mom, are you trying to eat a lot of calories?
Me- No, I don't need to gain weight like you do. For my age and height I am overweight and it is kind of like you being underweight. It isn't very healthy and I need to be healthy so that I can be able to play more with you and your sister.
La- So you are trying to eat less calories?
La- You need to exercise too!
Me- I certainly do.
La- OK. That sounds good.
It sure does little perceptive one, it sure does.
I don't think that children should be held in the dark about health and how weight can affect health. I do think that children should know that self worth should not be tied to weight. I think that children should know that maintaining a healthy weight is about health and not appearance. I also think that teaching children how their bodies work is good! This important knowledge that they can carry on into their adult lives. Maybe if us parents stop dancing around the issue and start teaching our children about healthy living and healthy eating we wouldn't have an epidemic of overweight children.