What we need to teach our granddaughters about healthy eating, because we learnt the hard way 13



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When I was growing up, I was overweight. I was that little fat kid in class. I was plumped up on sausages, sweet treats, potatoes; basically anything filling and delicious. My father was a baker, so what would you expect! I grew into a chubby teenager and I got made fun of quite regularly. I started to like boys but they would never look at me. That’s when it tweaked: I needed to lose weight to look pretty!

Instead of eating breads and all the pastries my Daddy could feed me, I began to starve myself. I wanted that hourglass figure and I wanted it fast. I’d do some running but for the most part, I just cut back on food. I wasn’t the least bit concerned about the diet I had when I did decide to eat – being skinny was my goal.

I eventually did get to my ideal weight at age 16: 45kg. I loved the attention I was getting. So many of my girlfriends were in my position too – we’d starve ourselves to be as thin as possible for dances or parties. We had the least bit of idea about how starving yourself affects your body. I was always so exhausted but when I felt faint, I’d eat an apple. It was hard to keep it up because I craved the foods I ate before.

Eventually I went back to eating as I was highly depressed. My new image had started arguments between my friends over who looked the best and boys. We weren’t friends any more. I went back to my original weight plus more. I became obese and even after I had children, I continued to balloon and yo-yo back down, then up again. I had a love-hate relationship with food but I never could break up with it. I set a bad example, no doubt, for my daughter. I feel deeply regretful about that because there I was so obsessed with my image. I’d starve one day and reward myself with treats the next.

Fast forward to me at 63 and I’m not my ideal weight I wanted to be at 43, but I’m happy, and my husband says this is the happiest he’s seen me. I have a new granddaughter and I want to make it my mission to build wonderful self confidence within her.

What I realised, after years of dieting, was that I took my body for granted. I cared about the wrong things. I valued beauty over health, and now I’m paying the price. My heart doesn’t like me much anymore, and my bowels are quite temperamental.

I want to teach my granddaughter the importance of eating well, not starving yourself. I want to show my granddaughter that all the pretty women on TV might not be as happy as they seem – the most beautiful thing is being you. I want to teach my daughter that ‘selfies’ at the gym and other self-obsessed photography is just fakeness. I want my granddaughter to know that being healthy is related to your mind, body and soul…and I believe you should too.


Share your thoughts below: what will you teach your grandchildren about health and wellbeing?

Guest Contributor

  1. Come on, Starts at Sixty get your newshounds working on breaking news a Senior Government Minister has resigned. Who has fallen on his sword?

  2. My granddaughter went through a long, plump stage and was bullied at school because of it. Then, at age 14, she cut down her portions and lost a lot of weight (and went from a size 16 to size 10). At 21, she still eats whatever she likes, but watches the portions, and she never goes near a gym as she hates exercise of any kind. All my grandchildren eat whatever they like, but mainly healthy foods, and again watch their portions and don’t have many sugary drinks.

  3. I was like the author. Always been on the plump side except after my first child. I went from 11 stone to an unhealthy 7. Don’t ask me what that is in kilos, please. Unlike the author I have never fad dieted or starved myself basically because I love food and am too lazy to exercise on a regular basis. Over the years I have had low self esteem and wished for a better body, looks, hair and all those other superficial attributes. When I was about 58 I realised I liked myself the way I was and if changes happened good, if not, well that was ok too. I have learned not to judge. Myself or anyone else. We are all individuals and we should look at others in that way and embrace that individuality with acceptance and tolerance and not ridicule and loathing.

  4. Yes – sounds like my story growing up – guess it’s about body image and how we view ourselves – I am happy in my skin now because it is me!! ☺️☺️

  5. I agree with everything you said ; but my daughters did ballet , and neither had the ballet body, which was very hard to take and the RAD ballet association expected. It same when they audition ed for shows, mind you they wernt fat

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