More to Love
How a crazed mother deals with the children's obesity epidemic.
I was a fat kid. A certain kind of pride comes with that statement. Being the fat kid is not easy. There are really a couple ways you can handle it- You can either allow people to make fun of you and shy away or you can be the funny fat kid. I chose to be the funny fat kid.
Figuring out you’re the fat kid is a task all in itself. For a long time, you think you’re just like all the other kids, then one day some pimple-infested twelve year old makes a comment and states that you’re so fat, you had to be baptized at Sea World… and then you look around. All your friends are wearing the coolest jeans, and you’re wearing the Garanimals sweatpants with elastic waist. Growing up in an Italian household wasn’t easy. It was common to have provolone and prosciutto daily. Nowadays, that sounds like a treat- but possibly not the best selection for a six year old. In retrospect, perhaps pasta wasn’t the best choice for dinner… every night. But my Mom, like all other loving Mom’s realized that our lifestyle wasn’t healthy and she made all the right changes in our diet and all the fatty foods went out the door. That didn’t stop me from sneaking the occasional Snickers bar to my room. I mean, I wasn’t like that girl the Girl Interrupted movie that hid whole roasted chickens under her bed- but you could probably find a bag of M and M’s occasionally.
I’ve been a yo-yo dieter my whole life and I think I’ve finally found that medium between eating healthy and exercise. Remembering the hurt of being the fat kid as a child is something that has stuck with me. Granted, I wouldn’t change it as I think it gave me a thick skin and helped shape the woman I am today- but, under no circumstances do I want my three-year–old princess Hayden to know what it feels like to be called fat.
Seems like there’s an epidemic lately and the media thrives on the “childhood obesity” epidemic. I didn’t think much about it until recently. I had brought Hayden to the nail salon with me. I was half listening to the Spanish speaking massage women when I heard one of them call Hayden “gordita”. My ears perked right up. I have found my basic high school Spanish to be very valuable after all these years. I looked at my happy little girl, who yes, is a little pudgy (who doesn’t love a three year old with little chunky arms?!) but is the picture of health. I decided that I needed to make changes now to the way she perceives food so she can grow up to be healthy.
Our first lady has really made strides in getting our youth to be healthier and I figured I should probably listen to what she has to say. So, I’ve turned off the television (gasp!) and forced Hayden to actually move around. You would think with the amount of gyms around Fairfield County, someone would open a kid’s gym with miniature size treadmills and baby weights. I have continued making up lies about what will happen if she doesn’t eat her broccoli (she will become constipated and explode), or if she eats too much chocolate (the Easter Bunny will give all her toys to her cousins).
I try to fool her with exercise. Being a dance enthusiast myself, I’ve convinced her it’s very normal for us to have dance parties every day in the kitchen before dinner. Is it normal that the child breaks into song and dance in the most random of places?... (this past week at Church), probably not. Then again, as long as she’s happy, I’m happy.
Can we scrutinize every bit of food they put into their mouths? Obviously not. I don’t want to and that’s clearly not normal. But I hope that I can teach her about balance. Maybe I’ll pick up a few tips for myself along the way.
Anna Sforza-Zapotosky is the definition of a multi-tasker. Why have one love when you can have many? She is a full time Realtor with William Raveis Real Estate servicing all of lower Fairfield County. You can hear her as “Anna Zap” on-air with Connecticut radio stations, 95.9 The Fox and Star 99.9. She has performed standup comedy all over New York City, Westchester County and Fairfield County. Her most important role though is as a Mommy to her beautiful three year old daughter Hayden, and wife of seven years to her college sweetheart, Paul. Together, they are making it in Fairfield County.