Couples and Families-Part Two
Parents are the leaders and the teachers of the family. Parents are the ones who set up the dynamic within the family system. How dynamics play out are based upon the set up, if the nutritional set up is to do with health then the leadership and teaching will be to do with healthy eating. If on the other hand, the set up is about reward then the system will play out based upon reward system. It is important to be mindful as parents of how it is that we are setting up our family system. Mindful eating is about being not only present to what you are eating but also present to how you are eating and what you are doing and the behaviours you are instilling in others.
Eating has been historically viewed as a communal act, food preparation is about love and eating is an extension of that love into the family. If we look back to the modernist families, they would sit down together for the evening meal lovingly prepared by mom, everyone is sitting at the dinner table, fostering relationship. This transitioned into the TV dinner where each individual was engrossed in watching TV and therefore disassociated from what they were actually really eating. It has been found that families that eat together leads to a reduction of weight gain as apposed to those families who are sitting individually in front of the TV to eat.
The truth is though that when the environment becomes competitive, homeostasis takes effect and the group starts to compete for the most amount of food. The family starts eating the same no matter what size they are individually, and they all start looking the same. So just eating as a family is really not the answer to healthy nutritional and behaviour changes. The pattern of eating is set by the parents not only by modelling but also by teaching. Modelling alone does not actually really work. When children go out into their own school and friendship environments they need the basic knowledge of nutrition in order to make good choices. That basic knowledge has to be known by the parents in order for them to be able to teach it to their children.
By the age of eight children are really at a good point to not only be able to make sense of food but to also be able to start helping in the kitchen in preparation of food. Cooking needs to be fun, if cooking is fun for the parent they will pass that down to the child, if cooking is not fun and therefore is just about takeaways then that is the knowledge that is passed to the child. If no nutritional education goes along with that then that will result in damaging eating behaviours.
Cooking together is a fun activity for not only parents and children but it also should be for couples as well. Helping one another in the kitchen is skill building, as well as health building.
It is hard to imagine but the truth is when you are grocery shopping and working from a recipe you actually have to do math, you have to measure, there is a chemistry involved in putting ingredients together. Foods come from certain places and they are about something. Cooking is also about patience and creativity, as well as teamwork. This provides a lot of opportunity for modelling, teaching and learning.
On the quest to lose 50 pounds in a year. Can she do it? Only time will tell....with the help of this blog.