Last year my niece, who was 5 at the time, reported to her mother at dinner one night that she was “on a diet.” My sister was shocked since the word “diet” has never come out of her mouth or her husband’s. My sister does model healthy eating for her daughter. So where did this little girl learn about dieting? We can only assume from school; which is scary.
It got me thinking about when I was first exposed to the concept of dieting. While my mother never got into any crazy fad diets, I do remember a few of her cookbooks being geared toward reducing weight and some of them had written meal plans. I’ve heard from many of the participants at Green Mountain at Fox Run, that they were put on weight loss diets when they were very young, sometimes when weight loss wasn’t even warranted.
Often exposure to dieting at a young age can create a life-long struggle to normalize our relationship with food. Thank goodness my niece did not stick to her “diet” plan; she forgot about the whole idea right away. However she has mentioned that she now wants to be a vegetarian because she “doesn’t like killing animals.” Lucky for her, her very sweet and helpful younger brother offered to help her kill the animals, since she doesn’t like doing it :) Ah, kids. I’m glad that so far this idea of dieting hasn’t affected her, since we know diets don’t work, but I wonder about the rest of us.
When did you first get exposed to the practice of dieting? Do you feel like you’d have a much healthier relationship with food if you had never dieted?