While current politics highlights a powerlessness among women, I’d like to shine light on a certain power we do have. Especially mothers.
It’s the power we have to influence and shape our families.
The simple, constant and autonomous actions we take everyday in raising our families can literally change the future.
That is powerful.
In my work, I constantly remind mums of the power they have to influence their kids’ food and health choices. I highlight the long-term benefits this will have on the health of future generations.
As mothers, we can guide our children to make healthier food and lifestyle choices, which become lifelong healthy habits.
Healthy kids become healthy adults.
And this will change so much: the burden of disease on the work force, on health systems, on government spending, and on long-term quality of life.
That is so powerful.
And it’s never been more important.
- 1 in 4 Aussie kids are currently overweight or obese.
- For 19-30 year olds, its 47%
- By the age of 51, more than 70% of Aussie adults are overweight or obese.
We all know these two factors greatly increase the risk for developing chronic illnesses like heart disease, type II diabetes, fatty liver disease and more. (AIHW, 2018)
So don’t underestimate your power as a mother.
The trick is to use your powers for good, which is sometimes easier said than done.
Despite the amazing influence we have on our families, we ourselves are subject to influence too. And it’s not always the good types.
The food industry is relentless in advertising to women. Its impact is doubled (or more!) by advertisements to children, who hamper mums to buy the latest – but not the greatest– tasty treats.
As a mum, I urge you… don’t give up your special power!
Stand your ground. Be firm. Follow your gut, not the ads and fads.
Here are my top 5 ways to use your Mama Power to change your kids’ health and the health of the future:
1. Stop dieting, especially extremes and fads. Aside from being dangerous and short-lived, these behaviours undermine our sense of self worth. ‘I’m too fat’ or ‘I’m not thin enough’ is not the type of self-talk we want our children to adopt.
2. Start learning. Educate yourself about food, nutrition, ingredients and cooking. The more you know, the better choices you can make.
3. Teach, guide & provide. Again, when you know, you teach your family! This happens naturally when they ask why you choose one brand and not another, or why you avoid certain products or food chains. And of course you provide. They can only eat what you have in the home after all.
4. Get the kids in the kitchen. I’ve run workshops with kids who absolutely love cooking and others who have never cracked an egg! Kids need to understand where food comes from and how to use it. Most kids will love cooking but it’s a skill terribly lacking in today’s young people. Gift your kids this skill for adulthood, so they’re more likely to succeed as healthy adults.
5. Lead by example. This is the real power of the mother’s role. They’re watching, even when you think they’re not. Grab the reigns and guide them in the right direction like no one else can!
This incredible gift we have to guide our children doesn’t only apply to food and health.
As mums, we can shape their attitudes toward women, to mothers, to one another and the world around us.
We are powerful. And we can change the future.
Agnesa Simcic is a clinical nutritionist, yoga teacher and food coach. She works closely with women and families to promote healthier diet and lifestyle choices. In clinic, Agnesa specialises in improving digestive disorders and stress resilience. She can be found at www.wholefoodmama.com.au.
Australian Institute of Health & Welfare (AIHW), 2018. Nutrition across the life stages, Australian Government. https://www.aihw.gov.au/getmedia/fc5ad42e-08f5-4f9a-9ca4-723cacaa510d/aihw-phe-227.pdf.aspx?inline=true