How to Break Generations of Unhealthy Eating Habits

2012_9_24 HMR - SUCCEED - fruits-and-vegetables PHOTOSource from: Janoa Taylor, Yahoo! Contributor Network, Aug 21, 2013

Fixing obesity in America is a tough job, and I never thought the fight would begin by looking at my family history. For so long I wondered how obesity in our country has spiraled this far out of control, and why I struggled with keeping the pounds off myself. I kept looking to myself for all the answers, and while some are there, many are within my family. After trying to overhaul my family’s habits, I realized that I was still making the same mistakes.

Examine family history

The more I dissected each family member, the more I realized I had been molded by something they had done. Whether it was eating late, buying junk-food, or needing something besides water to drink, I had either done the same things, or was still doing them. It was easy to point out all of the things they needed to change, but I wasn’t willing to accept those faults within myself yet. After a couple years of doing this, I have discovered that the first step to making positive changes for my health was accepting that I have the same weaknesses and faults. How hypocritical of me to tell them to make changes when I was making the same mistakes. Accepting this has helped me to make healthier decisions in my life, and to realize I am a product of my environment, but I can change.

Project health concerns

The medical history on both sides of my family is long, and after hearing what they could have done to prevent some of these problems, I have made changes in my life to change my health for the future. Since high blood pressure runs in my family, I eat things to lower it naturally. I also exercise to improve circulation and heart health, but most importantly, I am aware of the health concerns I could face and do my best to lower my risks. I also think of how I feel when I hear of all the health concerns my family members face, and realize that I care so much about them that I want them to live and be around. This impacts me because my daughter will feel that way about me, and I want to make sure that I am doing everything in my power to be around for her for as long as I can. If she sees me eating junk and not exercising, she may feel like I don’t care enough about her to take care of myself. That alone gives me the self-control to overcome any bad eating habits.

Breaking habits for the future

Now that I realize my late night cravings and sugar fixes are partly to blame on seeing the behavior in my family, I have the responsibility on my shoulders to not let these habits pass down to my daughter. That means I need to be strict about what we eat, how much sugar is ingested, and when snacks are allowed. She doesn’t need chocolate milk every day, or junk food on hand for snacks. She needs to see that I am making healthy decisions for myself on a daily basis, so that she can make the same decisions for herself when she is old enough.

Through my self-examination and research, I have found that breaking habits is similar to the stages of grief. First I was in denial about my own habits. Then I moved to feeling disgusted by my actions. Soon after, I tried to make excuses to justify them. Once I stopped being upset with myself, I felt depressed by my actions, but after I accepted that I was doing them, I was able to make the positive changes necessary.