October 11th is World Obesity Day and the focus this year is a call for action to end childhood obesity. MY4EVERWEIGHTLOSS is honored to share personal trainer LaToya Lowery’s story on how she reflects upon her own childhood. She also provides tips on her healthy approach as she maintains healthy habits for her family. You can follow her on Instagram @latoyaalowery for more insight on healthy living.
MY STORY | by: LaToya Lowery
When I think of obesity as it relates to children I immediately reflect upon my own childhood. I was a chunky girl who often ate out of boredom or because I saw food. During summer breaks, I spent time with my grandmother. Her parents worked hard to feed the family of eight kids. Food was not plentiful at all times and you ate everything placed in front of you. This same mentality of ‘eat all of what is given to you’ was unfortunately introduced and enforced in my home passed down to my mother. I was expected to eat all food placed on my plate. There may have not been as many pesticides or chemicals as there are today but this was good southern cooking! A typical breakfast may include biscuits with butter and honey, cheese grits and bacon. At times, Cheerios or Corn Flakes with loads of sugar dumped ontop. I didn’t ask for the sugar but ate it because it was assumed I would prefer it that way. Lunch was fried bologna on white bread, chips, oatmeal pie with a soda. In my grandmother’s mine because it was a ‘cooked meal’ I was eating well. I didn’t eat when hungry nor did she ask if I was hungry but instead I was fed because it was “time” to eat. She did not care if my stomach was full from the previous meal. The motto was, eat when fed or get nothing at all. This created unhealthy eating habits for me. I was being taught to eat because it’s 8am or 12pm rather than eat because you’re hungry. I learned to eat until your plate is clean rather than eat until you are at your limit. Those bad habits introduced to me were hard to break. I often ate when not hungry and found myself eating just because food was still on my plate.
Unfortunately, children are overweight and/or develop poor eating habits due to their parents lack of knowledge of healthy eating. Generally speaking, children are going to eat what is given to them. These mindsets and habits die hard and take knowledge and determination to break. It was not until I went away to college that I understood a balanced meal. Even then I wanted the fatty foods I was accustomed to. After years of yo-yo diets and failed get thin quick fads, I understand and live a life of healthy eating with a balance of exercise. The key is to incorporate a lifestyle that works for you and or your family.
As a mom of two boys I have to do my part providing nutritious food choices for them. Nutrition is a big part but so is the activity level. My boys are extremely active which will offset some fatty high sugar foods but I can’t rely on their activity. As a parent I have to make sure their meals are balanced. They both appreciate sweets and would indulge every chance they could if it was allowed. We eat Cheerios but not with any added sugar. There is enough sugar in our food and no need to add more. I think many times processed is an easy first choice go to meal or snack is related to the cheap price and its quick to grab or make. It can be expensive to eat healthy and take time to prepare a healthy meal. With that in mind I try to keep fruit washed, cut up, and visible for my family to grab. Fresh or frozen vegetables nothing canned are a staple with dinner as well as a cup of water first before any juice or tea is allowed. We eat vegetarian meals and when we do eat meat I prefer organic. If my kids aren’t hungry I don’t force them to eat or use food as punishment or as a reward. Food should be looked at for what it is, nutrition and fuel for the body. We must teach kids at a young age this concept to help with obesity and overeating.
Feel free to follow me on Instagram @latoyaalowery where I share my love of family, travel, and fun workouts as I maintain my 40+ lbs weight loss over 3 years!