Concerned about her heft and weight, a 6’ tall teenager exercised and dropped to 104 lbs after shedding 46 lbs. In another situation, the weight of a 12-year-old girl dropped even as she grew four inches taller. And, a depressed girl has become obese due to overeating.
Those are some of the reasons why unhealthy eating habits need to be addressed. In her article, “Are You Eating Out of Control?,” Priscilla Di Carlo shares tips to deal with the problem (after which we add our thoughts on the matter.):
Teach children that their self-worth isn’t related to how they look. (Our bodies are mere garments covering our spirit souls. We’re valuable despite our imperfections.)
Do not use food as a reward or punishment. This sends the wrong message that food leads to love and acceptance. (Food nourishes the body, but does not feed the soul.)
Avoid complaining about your body in front of your children. (Values are formed by both positive and negative statements.)
Teach children how to identify stress, and deal with it. (Eating disorders are rooted in spiritual hunger. Practice spiritually fulfilling activities like meditation, the reading of scriptures, spiritual discussions, praying, and the singing of God’s names to satisfy spiritual craving.)
Encourage children to question, evaluate and respond to messages in the media that promote unhealthy body image and low self-esteem. (Teach them to see through illusions and lies, understand the truth, and appreciate wisdom.)