Bikini Beautiful Week: Dr. Oz And I Will Prevent Yo-Yo Dieting In My Kids

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I distinctly remember an Oprah episode where she looked into the camera and stressed with the kind of emphasis that makes people love her:  ”Don’t. Spend. Another. Summer. Fat.” She paused between each word, as if this gave viewers time to consider that Oprah herself had been there. She was, just as I am and you probably are, a yo-yo dieter, who hoped that this summer would be different, because being at the wrong end of the yo-yo when it’s hot outside sucks. But as an insurance policy, just in case the dieting thing didn’t work out, Oprah sent out a parade of models representing spoons, pears and hour glasses, proving to all women that they could hide their imperfections.  Dr. Oz later did the same thing.

Dr. Oz achieved fame, largely because of Oprah.  His approaches to weight loss and surviving swim suit season are now legendary.  And you know what? As a health and wellness blogger (it’s been my career since 2010), I think he has a sound message to deliver to a public who is mostly, let’s face it; overweight.

I’m part of that chunky equation.  But I hold out hope that one day I’ll practice what I blog about and lose those extra pounds.  As a start, I’ve recorded episodes of Dr. Oz’s show and let my kids watch. I tell them that the man on TV has a healthy view of dieting, since what he advocates is not a diet at all. It’s a lifestyle; one that tells you to eat fruits and veggies the color of rainbow beams, disavow refined foods meant to outlast nuclear war, and eat a whole lot of fish. In a way, it’s kind of uplifting.

So if it’s all about rainbow beams and succulent fish, why is it so hard for so many? Could it be because looking great in a bikini is really more about portion control? Yep! Portion control, at least for me, means you have to stop eating before you are satisfied””and that can be hard when the Zumba class at the Y made you hungry as a bear. Each meal is a reminder that your food portions should be the size of a small fist””a fist you’d like to use to punch your skinnier husband in the face.


Anyway, so that my kids never know the despair in the scene I just described, I’m taking steps now to ensure they don’t warp their metabolism like I did as a stupid teenager. At 15, I did dangerous things with over-the-counter diet products and my bike.  When the boy I wanted to date told me I was fat, my reaction was to spend the next few weeks starving myself and cycling 10 miles a day.  I nearly passed out at my high school graduation, but was rail-thin and had him running after me like a puppy dog. Still, in retrospect, that near deadly diet was not worth it.

But at least this experience informed my parenting in a good way. I refuse to let my kids get weight obsessed.  Extreme diets and attitudes don’t work, and they are dangerous.  I tell my kids to eat as much fruit and veggies as they like, but limit the saturated fat and cane sugar. They’ve leaned over my shoulder and watched me write about this a lot, so they know what to look for. I’ve taught them to take an interest in what we’re having for dinner, by letting them pick out most of the groceries we put in our cart.

Today we are attending the first in a series of cooking classes for kids at our local Whole Foods. I hope they will stress the benefits of sauteing things in olive oil, steaming over any other kind of preparation for veggies, and go over the antioxidants present in the world’s Top 10 super foods.  If my kids can enjoy life by learning the difference between eating right and eating well, then looking good in a bikini is just gravy on the steak. But, vegan gravy made out of red wine and mushrooms, served over a quinoa-based faux meat.

Who knows? Maybe we’ll all hit the beach this year without a sarong.

This reader submission is sponsored by BIC Soleil.

(photo: Joe Seer / Shutterstock)

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