Tuesday, August 02, 2011
Yesterday, I came across an article with some statitistics from England about children and eating disorders. The numbers were hard to believe, so I searched for the full article to make sure. Here is the link in case someone is interested:
I just couldn't believe it! Almost 600 children under the age of 13 have been treated in hospitals for eating disorders! What's even more shocking is the actual ages of the children. 197 of them were between 5 and 9!!!
Children at this age were hospitalized for eating disorders!!! I remember a discussion I had some years ago with our pediatrician about my daughter being a picky eater. She advised me not to worry too much and, most importantly, not to push her about food all the time because eating disorders are just around the corner. And she mentioned having a 10-year-old patient who was suffering from anorexia. At that time, I thought it was just an exaggerated diagnosis of another picky eater. But, since then, I've come across many other cases of children refusing to eat. Well, if you're a parent, I'm sure you find all these a bit scary. Or should I say terrifying?
Unfortunately our world is full of wrong messages for our children or, at least, messages we don't approve of. We keep trying everyday to be good parents and teach our children according to our own beliefs and principles. But when we, ourselves, are in the middle of a journey which is kind of a battle against food addiction and body weight, it makes you wonder: what if my children get the wrong message? What if they think that cutting out food is good since mommy is doing it? Even if it is all based on genes, as experts say, can you imagine being the trigger for your own child?
In my opinion, this subject requires extreme caution! And lots of discussion with our children, especially if they're girls and especially if they're in their pre-teens. We must teach them that human bodies are meant to be different. We're not robots which come out of a factory line, all in the same shape and size. Our children must realize early that the right food is our fuel and our tool to make a healthy body. They must understand that mommy or daddy is trying to eat the right foods in order to be healthy and strong. That anything given to us by nature is good for us. But so is sugar, right? Is sugar good for our health? Of course it is! And that's where we teach our children about moderation. There are foods that we really like but we'd better have them once in a while and not every day.
Most importantly, and I know all parents know this, we must love them unconditionally. It doesn't matter if they are a little overweight or a little thinner compared to their friends or schoolmates. Unless of course our children are really in need of help with losing or gaining weight, in which case our doctor is the one who should give the advice.
Children have a unique ability of spotting differences right away. I'm sure most of you have had to answer a question about a person with special needs who just looked "different" in your child's eyes. It's the same with body weight. One of the things I always tell my daughters about appearance is that the real beauty of a person is in their soul. And this is reflected in their eyes, so that's where we should judge people from.
I really hope all parents try to teach their children the importance of good nutrition and moderation. This way, even if they are influenced by images of skinny models in magazines or the internet, they will try to look better the healthy way. By eating right and exercising. Even if the trigger is pulled, the gun won't be loaded.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
This is one of my mottos throughout my adult life. Whenever I look at other people's lives and I feel that they're lucky, I always say to myself: Don't just look at the greener grass, look beyond it. Things are not always what they look like. Unfortunately, not all people realise that.
Ever since I became a mother and I quit my job in order to stay home and raise my children, I heard comments from other people that were really hurtful. Friends would talk in front of me about their jobs and their difficulties and they would turn to me with comments like: "You're lucky, you just sit at home all day and have nothing to worry about." In the same, thoughtless way a relative said to me yesterday when I said to him that spending summer days at home with the children is not always easy: "You shouldn't be complaining. I wish I could spend summer without work!"
First of all, I DO work. And I don't get paid for it. I care for a house and a family of four and I do everything myself. I do all the housework and cook every day. I don't sit around doing nothing as some people may think. But that's not the only way they're mistaken. They think it's easy. They don't know how difficult a day in an apartment with two children can be. They can't imagine how hard you have to try sometimes to find ways to entertain them. They don't know that as an adult you sometimes need other adults to talk to and you are in no mood to play with children. But you have to. They think that because it was your choice, you like staying at home. They can't imagine that you may be happy being a real mom to your children but you desperately miss work. Because sometimes in life the choices which look so easy are the hardest to make.
On the other hand, I understand them. I've been there. I know how it feels to have worked for a whole year hard and wait for your summer vacation to get some rest. And when it comes and goes, it just wasn't enough. I know how it feels to miss your home and being able to relax and see your family after work. And that's why I never answer to those people. But inside me I hurt. Because they make me feel useless, lazy and thoughtless. I wish those people could think for a while and realize that I have difficulty finding some time for myself. That being all day at home with two children is not always easy. That I don't have the extra money they may have to take my children out because only one works in the family. I wish they could just look beyond the grass. The grass isn't always greener on the other side. It just looks greener.
Saturday, June 18, 2011
So, here I am again! With a new name, a new page, new decisions, new commitments. I won't start saying that this time it's different and I feel more determined and all those things that I've said again and again and I've proven myself wrong. It's all about what the title says: I've fallen many times. I'll get up once more.
The past months - or is it years? - I've felt defeated many times. There were moments that I felt like a complete failure. A person with no personal success. A woman who would count the failures and just give up on everything else in her life. I had planned things differently in my mind. At 35, I had imagined myself as another person.
A friend of mine says that when we, people, make plans, God laughs. I don't know if that's true - I want to believe that our God is kind-hearted and loving to all his children - but I'm sure the meaning remains true: plans are never sure to become reality.
I thought that at this time of my life I would have a great family - which I do - I would have a job that I liked - which I don't - I would still be in touch with my old friends - but I'm not - I would have acquired new skills and learnt new things - which I always start and leave unfinished - and I would be able to look in the mirror and smile - you know I don't!
I live in Greece and I'm sure many of you know what that means. Things are really difficult for us and they may get even more difficult. I owe it to myself and to my family to be strong. And that's why I'll try to be the person I imagined I would have been at 35. This is not just a weight loss attempt. It's a journey towards a better person, one with more self-respect, more optimistic and more decisive.
I'm here to make a better me!
Dear Sparkfriends, I rely on your support.
And I just believe I can do it!
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