So rather than get embroiled in a complicated conversation about BMI and calories, I chose to keep it simple and focus on one thing: good health. And rather than zero in on Samantha, I made these weighty discussions a family affair that included her thin-as-a-rail sister, Annie. We talked about trying to log an hour of exercise every day, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, and limiting — but not necessarily omitting — junk food from our diets. My friend did the same thing with her three boys.
Teaching my kids portion control was a little trickier. To rein in their temptation to overeat — the root of the nation’s weight problem, I think — I told them to try putting off until tomorrow the second helping you want today. “After all,” I said, borrowing a line from Scarlett O’Hara, “Tomorrow is another day.”
It was a simple lesson — one that my kids got right away. “Guess what, Mom?” Samantha said to me one day. “I didn’t take the second cupcake today because I remembered what you said about there always being another time.”
Inside I cheered. But will these lessons stick? Will they succumb to the freshman 15? Will they keep it off as adults? Only time will tell.