A special note on special treats
Be it Easter, birthday cake, Halloween candy or a trip to the local ice cream parlor, treats are, by definition, a rarity. They are that little something special – that little extra. You and your children should absolutely feel free to enjoy these moments.
Most treats are eaten in celebration of some important event, like a birthday or graduation or even Thanksgiving and Christmas. Enjoy the moment and encourage your children to enjoy the moment as well. However, it is best if your children learn to eat properly on a day-to-day basis. Only then can they truly enjoy the occassional treat in joyous moments.
Too often we consume large quantities of sugary sweets in our everyday lives, only to reach an important occasion and then decide to watch the calories. How many times have we seen someone we love come to Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner and, when dessert is served, they say, “Only a small piece!” or “Just one cookie!” Why do so many people deprive themselves at just the wrong moment?
The primary reason people do this is out of embarrassment. They are embarrassed because they are overweight. To be overweight implies slovenliness in one’s personal habits, laziness and ignorance as to the causes (or even the very existence) of their obesity. They don’t want you, their loved one, to make such judgments about them.
They need you to know that they know they’re overweight and that they’re doing something about it. So, they make a loud pronouncement at the Christmas dinner table about only eating a small piece of cake. This is what those who have served in the military might call a “pre-emptive strike.” The idea is that if this obese person makes it known that they are taking steps to fight their obesity that you, the onlooker, might not think less of them.
If only we could get these folks to eat more reasonably day in and day out – they might be able to kick back and enjoy dessert like the rest of us!
Michael Katz, MD, MS