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If you have children, you will know how fussy they can sometimes be. Normally, they grow out of it but it can get quite frustrating for the parents. We do our best but sometimes the strategies we choose to deal with childhood problems produces outcomes we do not anticipate.
Training to Comfort Eat Starts Early
Babies are not the best communicators. When a baby cries, there are not many things that it might need. Unfortunately, for some babies the first option when it cries is for their mother to feed them. It may be that the baby is hungry but if they are not, this is the first point where training to comfort eat begins.
The training continues! How often have you heard or said the following?
Clean Your Plate – There Are Children Starving in Africa
Another version of this is “You cannot get down from the table until you have finished your dinner” (finished, of course, implying eaten it all). This teaches a child that they are “good” if they eat all of the food put in front of them. As adults it becomes difficult to leave food because to do so would be “bad” or “naughty".
If You Do Not Eat Your Dinner, You Will Not Get Any Pudding
Here sweet things (or pudding) become a reward. It trains a child to eat sweet things irrespective of whether they are hungry.
Be A Good Boy/Girl and Eat Your Dinner
Again, if you eat (even if you do not want to eat), you are good. As an adult, this child may eat when they feel low because they have been conditioned to feel good or rewarded when they eat.
If You Are Good, I Will Buy You Some Sweets
So sweets become a reward. If, as an adult, this child needs of a lift, they can give themselves a feeling of reward by eating sweets!
These are just examples of how the wrong message can be conveyed; experiencing any one of them does not necessarily cause a child to comfort eat but if you have a weight problem this may be where it started. When eating habits like comfort eating are deeply ingrained trying to get thin just by calorie counting can be an uphill struggle.
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