The New Face of Body Bullying

As a woman, I have to deal with my fair share of body bullying. You know what I’m talking about, ladies! It’s that mental, physical and emotional damage we do to ourselves every time we compare ourselves to the flawless beings depicted on our TV screens and in our magazines. We bully ourselves into dieting, to pushing a little harder at the gym, to doing anything we can in an effort to make ourselves a little closer to perfect.

But body bullying is taking on a new face these days. Just as someone who starves themselves on purpose is beating up their body, so too is someone who feeds themselves nutrient deficient, refined and processed foods. In fact, the latter is just another way of starving themselves. And when we don’t feed our body the nutrients it needs to function optimally, we are – in my opinion – performing yet another form of body bullying.

With the onslaught of the marketing of sugar filled, processed and refined foods, we have been tricked into thinking that “low fat” is better, packaged foods are good, and a daily trip to our local coffee shop is healthy, or rather, “it can’t hurt.” And with every sip and bite of these detrimental foods, we are beating up our bodies, feeding them foods that are wreaking havoc on our very important bodily systems.

It’s hard enough to navigate this ever confusing, ever changing nutritional landscape these days, but when you throw the added pressure of parenting into the mix, things get even harder.

As parents, we are our children’s’ protectors. We’ve always had to protect them from the monsters under the bed and the bullies at school, and we are always there to clean up the scrapes on their knees when they fall.

But now we have a new bully to contend with, and, based on my recent experience, it’s all wrapped up in a cotton candy frappucino served in a large plastic cup with a bright shiny straw and a dollop of fresh whipped cream.

I live within walking distance from a posh little block where it’s not uncommon to see celebrities shopping, mommies lunching, and more recently, kids slurping down sugar and caffeine filled coffee creations from the local coffee shop that shall remain nameless.

What’s going on here? As parents, we have vowed to protect our children from harm, to show them what’s right, and to give them the tools to go out into the world and to hopefully make it a better one. We teach them through speech, but mostly, through action.

And every time we let them beat up their bodies with a hit of sugar and caffeine in the morning (or anytime, for that matter), we are telling them that this behavior is acceptable. And quite frankly, it’s not. It’s empty calories that are stunting their growth and setting them on a very scary path toward type 2 diabetes, among other preventable diseases.

I’m not here to bash anyone. Heck, I let my son get one of those caffeinated, sugar filled drinks every once in a while too!

But to let our children consume these beverages on a daily basis – which I see happening every day that I pass the local coffee shop – well, that is just not ok with me. Our job is not only to protect them from harm, but also, to show them how to nourish their bodies in a healthy, sustainable way.

Those growing little bodies need your guidance, and in an America where type 2 diabetes is at an all time high, and 70% of health care costs are spent on preventable diseases, parents have got to stand up and stop the behavior at the source:

Our children.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that sugar is toxic. The amount of sugar in these drinks is terrible to consume. But I should also remind you that caffeine is a drug. People get addicted to it. And for those of us who consume it, there are limits to what we should be consuming. In fact, The Mayo Clinic says a healthy adult should not have more than 400 milligrams of caffeine a day, and that teenagers should not have more than 100 milligrams a day.

Do you know how much caffeine and sugar is in one of those drinks at your local coffee shop?

Too much.

As a parent, you’re in charge of teaching your children how to properly take care of themselves as they grow. And so you need to put your foot down. You need to see that these caffeine and sugar filled drinks are just another bully in your child’s life that they need protection from. I know you love your children, and now you need to love them enough to say no.

Because trouble is brewing, and you hold the keys to stop it.