Dr. Oz had Enza Menella and her family – husband Joe and children Alexa, Joseph and Amanda – on his show. Enza’s family is hungry to get healthy! They are a 100% Italian family that shows their love through food. The Menella family live down the street from Enza’s sister and mother, and all of them love to eat food.
Enza says that everything is always about the food – the bigger the meal, the longer the amount of time we get to spend together. Her husband Joe said he has gained 80 pound of love since getting married. All the children said they always feel full, and when their mom isn’t around, they know when they are full and want to stop eating. Enza said that growing up they always had fresh food and were told to finish everything on their plate. Dr. Oz gave Enza a term that applies nicely to my mother as well: A Food Pusher!
Dr. Oz showed Enza and her family what an overweight omentum (bad belly fat) looks like, and they all seemed highly disturbed (just like we all are whenever Dr. Oz shows this!) When kids get this extra belly fat (omentum), it causes all kinds of issues like high cholesterol and diabetes. Dr. Oz showed a nomogram, one of those body mass index charts that pediatrician’s use to see if a child is in the right height / weight for their age. 1 in 5 kids in America have elevated cholesterol, but if your child is overweight then they have a 45% chance of having high cholesterol. 85% of children weight less than Joseph and Alexa… and Amanda, who Enza thinks is too skinny and small, is in the 50% percentile, which means she is exactly the right weight!
Dr. Judith Beck, author of The Beck Diet Solution: Train Your Brain to Think Like a Thin Person,said that being a food pusher is a learned behavior. Enza learned it from her mother and father, who learned it from their mother and father. Here are Dr. Beck’s three issues that food pushers must remember:
3 Issues of Food Pushers
1. Food Isn’t Love
Extra food certainly is not love. Express your love with moderate portions, and you can still listen, talk and play with your kids.
2. Issue of Deprivation
You will either deprive your family of some food sometimes, or you will deprive them of being healthy… which is more important to you?
3. Issue of Motivation
It is hard to remember why you should eat moderately when you are about to sit down to a big meal with lots of great food. So before sitting down to a meal, remind yourself why it is important to be healthy. Some of Dr. Oz’s suggestions for why you want to be healthy include:
– You are scared of damaging your heart
– You want to wear that little black dress
– You want to be there for your kids
Dr. Beck gave Enza and Joe a card that said “I can eat whatever I want, in whatever quantity I want, whenever I want… or I can be thinner and healthier… but I can’t have it both ways.” We must remind ourselves of this! As a parent, you are responsible to make sure that your children eat in a healthy way. And for the children of food pushers out there, practice makes perfect! Practice saying “no thank you” if someone is pushing food on you – Push Back!!!