Yesterday I went to New York to tape a segment for the Dr. Oz Show. He interviewed a family who likes to eat—a lot. The mother had not realized the extent to which she is a food pusher, constantly urging her children and husband to eat more and more. She also had not realized the potential health consequences of her family being overweight and potentially obese.

I made several points to the mother: 

  1. She had learned as a child from her own family to push food, and now her kids are learning how to be food pushers from her—and she needs to break the cycle now.
  2. Food does not equal love, and especially, extra food certainly doesn’t equal love. Helping your kids become as healthy as they can, listening to them, talking with them, hanging out with them, having fun with them—these are ways to express love.
  3. When she feels as if she’s depriving her kids of extra food, she should redefine her idea of deprivation. Either she’ll deprive her kids of some food, some time—or she’ll deprive them of optimum health. She needs to pick which goal is more important to her. Either they can eat whatever they want, in whatever quantity they want, whenever they want—or they can be thinner and healthier. They can’t have it both ways.
  4. When she herself feels as if others are pushing food on her, she needs to become a broken record, saying, “No, thank you,” “No, thank you” “No, thank you.” If she worries about hurting the food pusher’s feelings, she needs to remember that the food pusher will probably be mildly disappointed (in fact, quite little compared to other disappointments in his or her life) and that the disappointment is likely to be fleeting. She needs to feel entitled to stick up for her health and the health of her family.

I hope my brief contact with this wonderful family will have some impact!