Re. Teenage Waist Management

February 20th, 2014 : No Comments »

Dear Crystal,

Your point about calories counting – even while ingested standing in front of an open freezer door – is well-taken, although I still like to think the fries I steal from Brad’s plate somehow don’t. But given how sensitive the average teenage girl is to criticism, I fear that any remark pertaining to health and fitness will be interpreted as a dog whistle for weight gain – and let’s face it, they are probably right about that.

As a former fat girl myself, and someone who still struggles with those elusive extra few pounds, I certainly appreciate the need for healthy choices and portion control when it comes to eating – even if I don’t always practice the same. But I think I can speak with authority when I say that had my parents ever suggested I go on a diet way back when, I would probably weigh upwards of 600lbs today. After all, telling a teenager what they should or should not be doing generally has the same effect on them as a red rag to a bull – or maybe just a can of Red Bull.

As it was, my parents generally preferred to take the British approach of never, ever mentioning the gigantic elephant in the room, even when she was flanked, as I was, by two gazelle-like sisters. All this meant that the one and only time my father did feel compelled to pass comment, and inquire if I intended to eat the entire family bag of Cheetos in one sitting, his words immediately turned my chips into ashes, and while I probably did finish the entire bag, I have never bought one since. To this day, I still love anything covered in fake orange cheese, but I know I can’t have anything like that in my house.

Ultimately, however, I don’t think anyone can really lead another person to weight loss and make them thin. And the risk of doing more harm than good, in the sense of triggering eating disorders, is far too great. All we can do is offer our teens healthy meals, our own example of how to take interest and pleasure in food – and maybe a single, passing comment upon how it’s not always necessary to finish the damn bag.

Phoebe

 

Cheetos girl

 

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