Thought for the Day--March 24, 2011: Choosing Your Battles



You're a true believer.

You have discovered the perfect diet. Moreover, you're a perfect angel who is on the perfect diet, the best diet in the world, and you want everyone to know about it. You want to shout your discovery from the mountaintop. You want everyone you know and love to jump on your bandwagon and enjoy what you are enjoying.

You want to recruit.

Don't do it!


Instead, show by example, not by cajoling. If your children are still young, it would be tempting to nag them to eat and live a healthier lifestyle, but refrain. Instead, quietly serve tasty (but healthy) foods, and don't make a big deal out of it. Just let them assume that you're serving the best tasting food in the world. And, for goodness sake, don't force them to eat foods that they hate.

Maybe they should love broccoli, but all the wishing in the world won't make it so.

Besides, once they go out the door and into the big, bad world, your control (such as it is) evaporates as peer pressure kicks in at the local pizza parlor.

And don't forget: even an overweight child deserves a so-called "forbidden" treat. Your adult children should be off limits in the nagging department. Sorry, but it's too late to exert significant naggy influence over them.

Your only option: to show by example. At family gatherings, bring healthy and tasty dishes but without running commentary about its nutritional value.

People gather because they want to connect with family, not hear a lecture from the family diet fanatic.

When dining out with your adult children, select healthy dishes for yourself, but don't berate their menu choices, no matter how much your son's super-sized French Fries make you cringe. You can talk briefly about your diet and how much you like it, but don't belabor the point--there is nothing more boring than hearing about someone else's diet, physical ailments, job complaints, etc.

Save your real battles for issues that are urgent, such as drug abuse and neglected grandchildren.

If your child, minor or adult, is morbidly obese and has some urgent medical issues, then you may need to intervene, but, for most of us, it's best to allow our kids and other loved ones to figure out for themselves when and if to begin a healthy lifestyle.

Choose your battles carefully.

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