Garbage In = Garbage Out - MetroFamily Magazine
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Garbage In = Garbage Out

by Mari Farthing

Reading Time: 2 minutes 

My children pay attention to what I say. Unfortunately, it’s not usually the stuff I say to them, it’s the stuff I say when I don’t realize that they’re paying attention. Isn’t that always the way it is? I’m trying very hard to not demonize food; my husband is supportive of the fact that I have to change my diet because my body does not process insulin properly; I’m very supportive of the fact that his does.

I know not everyone has a problem with carbohydrates or portion sizes, and I don’t want my kids to think that anything is off-limits. Because what is more tempting than the forbidden? But I’m also learning that there are some foods that just should have no place in anyone’s diet, and I try to explain why we avoid certain things that others might not choose to avoid.

As a military family, we’ve lived and traveled quite a bit; in fact, I’ve visited one particular fast food restaurant in 30 countries—a fact that I’ve proudly proclaimed in the past (because, sometimes, when you’re someplace that’s not home, you just want something that tastes like home). Now, I can proudly state that it’s been weeks since I’ve visited that particular restaurant, because I know that the food they serve is largely not healthy for me.

Yes, it was difficult. Yes, sometimes all I want is that specialty burger that they are world-famous for. And my husband will tell me “you’re allowed to cheat and splurge every now and then—you’ll never stick to a diet if you can’t cheat every now and then.” And I agree with him, 100%. As I’ve previously stated, I cheat and I splurge, happily and frequently. But while I miss the taste, I know how that burger would make me feel after I was done with it: tired. Bloated. Sluggish. Regretful.

And that’s the opposite of how food is supposed to make you feel. Food is fuel. It should energize and excite your body! Not make you want to take a nap (with the notable exception being Thanksgiving).

So that’s what I try to focus on—how good food makes you feel good; not how junk food makes you feel junky. Because I want my kids to focus on the positive, to focus on the things that make them feel good and energized and motivated, like good food should. That’s part of my job as a parent, to get them to make the right choices without even thinking about it, and I think that applies to all parts of their lives, from the biggest things to the smallest.

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