OUR JOURNEY IN HEALTH; WHAT IT "REALLY" MEANS TO BE HEALTHY.
I recently came upon an interesting article in TIME MAGAZINE about health and weight. This of course always makes my radar go up. I began thinking about my Max and how proud I am of him and how hard he works. He goes to track everyday after school for 2 hours. Twice a week, after track he goes to football training and does another hour of cardio. Every week he gets in 12 hours of exercise. That also doesn't include the run down to Davis High he takes with his dad some evenings to practice throwing shot-put and discus. Then I began to think about our journey, Max's and mine, down the road less traveled, and wanted to share....
Having a son whose weight and height have been off the charts since he was 3 months old there are certain prejudices and stereotypes I have run into. And sadly, for the most part they aren't good, and often steeped in misinformation and ignorance. The crazy thing is, that because he was my first baby I stuck to a very strict food regime. He was never allowed sweets as a child. I followed the experts to a "T" when it came to introducing him to real food. His first food was (homemade baby food) carrots and squash. He LOVED them so much he even got that orange tint to his skin! HA! Next I introduced green beans, pees and broccoli. He loved those as well. I eventually gave him pears and peaches thinking they'd be a welcomed treat. But no, squash and carrots were his favorite (and still are).
Everyone kept telling me he'd "taper off", his baby fat would melt away and to just keep doing what I was doing. When he was 2 years old he was far above the 100th percentile in height and weight, so much so that people became concerned. My grandfather who was (and still is) a very high esteemed Endocrinologist helped me get an appointment at Primary Childrens. (interesting fact, my grandpa is actually in the Encyclopedia under Nelson Syndrome, he discovered the disease)... anyhow, he was concerned that my son may have some abnormality with his pituitary gland or bone age. So, when Max was just 2 years old and barely able to speak, I took him to Primary Childrens and.... oh, it's still hard to think about. There were so many needles, so much blood, x-rays and poking and prodding. I still remember how scared he was (and to this day he hates needles).
They tested everything, his pituitary gland, his thyroid and bone age. This process took all day, but at the end of it all they put us in a room painted with a jungle theme (weird I remember that). The door swung open and a doctor came in with a clip board full of papers, sat down, looked at my son and I and said, "Everything is perfectly normal. In fact, he is very healthy." Next she let out a sigh, grinned at us and said, "congratulations, you've just got a big boy and there's nothing wrong with that."
It was a sigh of relief, contrary to many of the looks I got from certain moms, my boy was healthy. In fact very healthy! Even though I knew there were "those" moms, who assumed I fed him sugar, pizza and rootbeer (that's an exaggeration of course) but, I often got looks that made me want to pull out his charts from Primary Childrens and say, "Look! See. We aren't a bunch of loafers who watch tv and eat fast food all day". (ps if you are reading this and wondering if I am talking about you, I'm not. These moms I'm talking about were usually met on the playground or briefly in play groups etc.)
It was discouraging, I felt ashamed and my heart broke for my son, who was about to enter the Obama mentality of health, which was; skinny=healthy, overweight=unhealthy and every school is campaigning to help my overweight child. Now, I'm not bashing on the Obama administration or taking any political stand. But that whole healthy kid campaign gave people a green light to "help" me as a mom, and to wield a disapproving look at my son. Everyone had advice for me. No, seriously, e.v.e.r.y.o.n.e. Everyone had advice for him... yes, at 5 years old my son was very aware that kids and adults found him fat and he had received many tips about how he, a 5 year old, could loose weight. These "tips" often came from strangers who we'd meet on the playground or just being out and about. I'm a talkative person and would often strike up conversations with moms. A few times, these unwanted tips came from family, but we won't even think about that. ;) (Thankfully, I've always had supportive friends.)
To this day, I still get "tips" from people. Whenever I get these "pearls of wisdom" (sarcasm intended), I always want to look at them with a big dumb smile and say, "gee thanks mister, you mean vegetables are good? and eating candy and sugar is bad? Wow, who would've thought!?" (I can be such a brat) ;)
My son, who at first glance would be thought of as unhealthy is one of THE healthiest kids I know. His favorite snack... carrots and humus. He prefers water to soda and truthfully, loves ALL food. If it's yummy he likes it. Does he like pizza and soda, and brownies and ice cream? Heck yeah!! Like every other kid on the planet. And not wanting to give my child an eating disorder I allow these things in moderation. Friday is Pizza night at our house. Sunday we always have meat, potatoes (veggies) and a grand dessert. And, as stated in the beginning of this big long spiel, he exercises a ton and to this day, nurses always joke when they take his blood that he must be eating his liver and pees. ;)
So no, skinny does not always equal healthy, and overweight does not always equal unhealthy. Quote from article in TIME MAGAZINE below:
Can You Be Fat and Fit — or Thin and Unhealthy?
By Alexandra Sifferlin @acsifferlin:
By Alexandra Sifferlin @acsifferlin:
"So what exactly is going on? Being metabolically fit may be the game changer, says Church, and physical fitness — irrespective of weight — is a strong predictor of whether or not you’re going to be metabolically fit. “Think about insulin resistance. The biggest consumer of sugar in the human body is muscle. Muscle doesn’t just move us from point A to point B; it is also extremely important or many metabolic variables like blood sugar,” says Church. “So it makes sense that someone who is fit is metabolically going to be far better off than someone who is unfit.”
That’s why some heavy people can be fit on the inside — healthier even than some of their thinner peers. Many people who diet but don’t exercise to lose weight, for example, may technically reach a “healthy” weight, but their fitness level doesn’t match. They may appear trim on the outside, but still carry too much visceral fat and not enough muscle on the inside. “They’re not physically active. They have horrible and restrictive diets. They might not be overweight, but metabolically they’re a mess,” says Church..."