Lisa’s Letters Home: Don’t Say Diet, Damn It!

Lisa’s Letters Home: Don’t Say Diet, Damn It!

You know it’s the new year when Pinterest goes from deep-fried Nutella-slathered triple layer brownies to nothing but lentils and salad. I’ve heard lots of friends make resolutions to lose weight, eat healthily, and get moving – myself included. I’m really fantastically good at starting diets but I’m really fantastically bad at sticking to them. I know what I “should” be eating and I know what I need to do, but damn it, I love cake and wine a little too much.

I love cooking, I love feeding people, and I love eating. I will never choke something down just because it’s all I can eat on my “diet” and live a life of misery to shed some pounds. Food isn’t just sustenance, it’s a social event, a family tradition, a comfort. Most importantly, there are three little sets of ears in my house that pay more attention to what we say than we know.


(Mia doing some important work in the kitchen.)

A couple of years ago, I was with a 5-year-old girl who sighed as she looked in the mirror. “My belly is SO fat. I need to go on a diet,” she said. Her mother was perpetually on a diet (I sympathise) and it seems that her daughter was picking up on things she was saying about herself. Whether or not she did actually believe she had a fat belly is irrelevant, it was the fact that she even knew to draw attention to something like that. It broke my heart.

I always thought that it would be more important to stress positive body image to my daughters, but my son is conscious of his weight, too. It’s become paramount that we give our kids not only a positive attitude about themselves, but about the food they eat. Food shouldn’t be scary, forbidden, “good” or “bad”, it should simply be food.

(Mia and Jack tucking in.)

We can eat well without putting an emphasis on it (“Eat up – it’s got lots of veggies and it’s good for you!”) and try to keep the kids involved as much as we can. We’re very fortunate to have a lovely farm shop close to us, which has help us teach our kids where their food comes from. My little veg patch is more than a bit pathetic, but the kids love digging in the dirt, pulling weeds (yay!), and are so proud when something they’ve planted finally sprouts. They ask me questions when I’m cooking and lend a hand when they can. I don’t want food to be mysterious or something that only appears when mum emerges from the kitchen.

To me, healthy eating isn’t just about what you eat, it’s about having a healthy attitude towards food. Yes, I’m watching what I eat right now and yes, I’m not really that happy about all my wobbly bits, but if food ever stops being fun, no amount of skinny can make up for that.

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  1. Mrs Lister
    January 04, 14:25 Reply

    Amen to that!!

    Great post Lisa – I think it’s important that kids grow up with a healthy attitude to food but that will never happen if mum and dad don’t have that attitude to begin with.


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