I'm frustrated with of messages that link food with emotion or sin. The one that bothers me more than others is "Fat-free, guilt-free cookies or ice cream..." I remember linking guilt with food at a young age partially because of media and these ads.
We've all heard "Chocolate is my guilty pleasure."
There is a commercial that ran not too long ago for Subway, it said something like this:
"You could eat this hamburger and lose your boyfriend, your self-esteem, etc... (it continued to list the dire effects) or you could eat this low-fat subway instead." It listed several things you would lose from your sinful behavior of eating a hamburger but the two that stuck out at me and bothered me the most were those two. So if you eat a hamburger you will gain weight and that is unworthy for good self-esteem or to retain a boyfriend! Shame on Subway!
I was on a date with my husband this week and at dinner I saw this staring at me from across the table.
There are countless messages similar every where we turn.
The key to combat these ads is:
*Awareness, make your impressionable children aware of the lies behind these statements.
*Never reward your child with food, this tells them that good behavior entitles food, or maybe just certain "treats".
*I'm not saying to become hermits or sequester all media, just be aware and counter these ads with the truth. Ask yourself or your children, "What is this ad trying to sell me?" "What are the motives behind this ad?"
*Never say "Oh, did you have a bad day today? Here are some cookies and milk that will make you feel better."
That leads me to media once again. How many times have you seen on TV the girl that gets dumped by her boyfriend or who has had a bad day, throwing herself on her couch with a pint of ice cream and spoon. The message behind this is infuriating to me. Food should never be linked to emotion or even comfort. It is a substance that is ok to enjoy but not to treat a problem. Binges might surpress unwelcome feelings for the time but this is only a bandaid that will actually only create more problems later. Behind ever binge is an emotional issue. It is no wonder we have learned to cope with trauma by eating... look at the connections we are bombarded with "Happiness begins with dessert."