Guilt weighs more than fat

This past weekend was Mother’s Day, and, as always, it gave me a chance for reflection. As a mom of four children, every May brings with it whispers and secrets of homemade hidden treasures. There’s nothing like breakfast in bed made by sticky little hands … even if it is way too many calories.

For a long time I fought the motherhood guilt that so many are familiar with. The feeling that comes when you know you’ve given unhealthy habits to your children. “But I can’t even help myself, how can I possibly help them?” you ask. Those are the emotions that drive us straight to the cookie jar.

I suffered for many years with this vicious cycle. But even though I gave my older ones some terrible habits, I’ve also shown them that it is possible to turn your life around.

My goal as a mom these days is to give my kids all the tools I can to help them live a healthy lifestyle. The worst thing we can do as parents is to think that because our kids are thin or active or young, high-fat foods won’t harm them. But done in excess or frequency, these habits can last a lifetime. What better gift can we give our kids than showing them that healthier ordering at the drive-through consists of a fruit parfait or apple dippers to go with their single burgers rather than supersized meals with fries? The truth is, they won’t be young or skinny or active forever. And, even now, they have arteries that need to stay healthy.

Helping our kids participate in, understand, and take ownership of their own good health at age-appropriate levels is one of our jobs as parents. And working on ourselves … showing them that even though we have something that is so difficult for us to overcome, we will not give up, showing them that we care about our own bodies and we can succeed against this monster of obesity, well, that is the best gift we can give them of all.

Remember … focusing on yourself, taking time for you, will not only benefit your own good health but can trickle down for generations to come. Since our kids truly are a chip off the old block, we might as well make sure it’s a healthy block.

On my website,, there are lots of tips, tools, and kid-friendly recipes to help you help your children in the fight against childhood obesity. Our Options program is a healthy way for the entire family to live, without a “diet” focus. It’s the only program we use here for our kids’ program.


Kim Bensen, author of Finally Thin, was a lifetime yo-yo dieter who lost 200+ pounds and has kept it off for more than 10 years. She owns the Kim Bensen Weight Loss Center and just opened Kim’s Light Café at 405 Bridgeport Avenue in Shelton. For more information, tips and recipes, go to

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