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 Robert McDowell's Herbal Treatments
 March 16 2003

OBESITY AND POWER GAMES - You get horse-sense from Robert as well as herbs!

On Friday, February 28, 2003 , a concerned mother emailed Robert:

I have a 7 year old girl who is very chubby. The doctor has said that she is a little bit overweight. She has a huge appetite, and I have tried to cut back on fatty and sugar foods but she can't handle it too well and she hates exercising. I hate making her go without so I give in. Is there anything I can do to help her?

Robert replied:

Dear Jenny*,

You need to read your own letter. Your daughter is overweight because you feed her too much of the wrong food pure and simple. What you need to realise is that if she continues on this path she will be obese probably her whole adult life and she will hate you for having let her become so.

Power games over feed between parents and children are not uncommon and her demanding and you giving in each time is a power game which has nothing to do with appetite or need for food.

You are the one who puts the fatty and sugar foods into the supermarket trolley and in your fridge and in your pantry and so you are setting up the game for you both to play each and every day.

Obsessing over weight and trying to put your daughter on a diet or medication or trying to force her to exercise will also just set her up for a whole lifetime of loosing battles with her own weight and this not what you should be doing to your daughter. You must also realise that you really only have one or two more years to do anything about the situation so you need to get serious now.

My suggestions:

Empty the fridge and have nothing in there but the ingredients for the evening meal and fruit and vegetables. Get rid of all snack food, soft drinks, sweets, ice-cream etc etc. Limit the family to a small carton of low fat milk per day. Empty the pantry. Get rid of all cereals except wheatbix say, all muesli bars, all sugar (use honey for sweeteners), all biscuits, Milo, chips, fruit juice, fizzy drinks, cordials, everything.

Shop each day and and buy just enough for a light sandwich style lunch and a home cooked evening meal without sweets. Look hard at the supermarket trolley before you go through the checkout and put back anything which does not belong there. In the evening cook only enough for one serving of food for everyone and have no seconds available.

Leave fresh fruit around for snacks, a jug of water in the fridge into which you have pre mixed a single popper of fruit juice to drink and any amount of brown bread and vegemite to make snacks with.

Let her make her own lunch for school out of what is around and her own snacks, take some of the diluted juice from the jug or not - whatever she wants, don't make school lunches or snacks for her. Don't give her any pocket money at all.

Let her eat anything at all if she is invited to a Birthday Party as long as it is only one per week. If there is no party, take her to Pizza Hut or McDonalds one night per week on her own and let her eat anything and as much and as much sweet and crap as she wants. Don't eat with her, just let her eat and don't pressure her or lecture her just let her eat by herself and as much as she wants. Take all the games out it.

Hopefully in the first few weeks she will eat enough on these "special" occasions to make herself sick. However, without anyone else eating with her and without any games to play it wont be long before she doesn't want to keep on stuffing herself.

Buy a trampoline and either ration the television and video games or get rid of them for a while so there are no sedentary things to do around the place. Don't discuss food or respond to tantrums just realise that she cannot possibly starve or do her health any harm at all on this program.

It will only take a very few weeks until she no longer is interested in sweet food and will not really be able to tolerate it, and before she becomes responsible for feeding herself out of what is there.

Do this for a year and it will be the finest thing you will ever be able to do for your daughter and the rest of the family. In only a one or two more years you will not be able to do any of this, she will be able to visit friends places on her own and otherwise continue with the present bad habits. Start now.

This may also be the hardest thing you ever did.

Robert McDowell

* Fictitious Name.

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