I came across this article on MSN a few days ago: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle/2012/03/moms-diet-for-7-year-old-d… (the original article in Vogue is not accessible online without a subscription)
I’m curious to see your reactions to this story. I was appalled by some of the methods this mother used, but it’s also bringing a renewed focus to the Childhood Obesity Epidemic. Have any of you experienced clients or friends that project their own issues onto their children? Do you have any suggestions in dealing with situations such as these? How could the new ACE Integrated Fitness Model be applied to the psychological/behavioral science aspect that this article addresses?
Its funny because I encountered such a situation a year or so back. The mom first approached me saying that her daughter was too overweight and she wanted me to put her on a program to lose the weight. In conversations with the mom before we even began training, I too began to wonder who was the one who wanted training and why? How did the daughter feel about herself, her weight (the daughter was 16 at the time)? The mom was extremely thin, active and had her own food issues from the past.
So before we started, I spoke to both the mom and daughter together and then the daughter alone. The daughter didn’t feel she had an issue. She liked the way she looked. Together we told her mom that she didn’t feel she needed training right now and gave the reasons why. She wasn’t participating in any sports at the time and was not very active, so she agreed to become more active if her mom would leave her alone about training. The mom agreed.
I kept in touch with both of them. There were more issues going on than just body image. It was a tough conversation to have, but the mom and daughter comunicate a bit better now and the daughter knows that she has someone in her corner if she needs any advice or help.
Sometimes support and education is more important than “doing something”. Obesity and what to do about it is such a sensitive issue as body image and self-esteem have so much to do with it. But we have to do something for our children.