“Eat what the monkey eats, simple food and not too much of it,” said Dr. John Kellogg in the late 1800s. The Dr. Kellogg who put his name on a company that now sells a ridiculous amount of cereal and is looking to expand into the “occasion to snack” market. I like Dr. Kellogg’s original maxim, and he was actually a physician, but as the Times points out:
“The monkey, it is safe to say, does not eat Frosted Flakes, which were introduced in 1952, or any of the dozens of child-focused cereals that the company has produced since. Nor is the monkey likely to favor much of what Kellogg employees are confecting this March afternoon.”
I think it’s safe to say times have changed. Our eating habits have changed, our environment has changed, our self perception has changed.
On Friday I mentioned we are in “fat denial,” that is, those of us that are overweight or obese aren’t readily acknowledging that important fact. A recent article shows us that this misperception is consistent across genders, age, and cultures. A true epidemic of thought. Whether it’s embarrassment or self preservation we just don’t want to admit we are fat. This can be dangerous.
One of the tenants of behavior change theory is accountability. We need to be honest with ourselves about our state of affairs. We need to find someone we trust and enlist their help and support in our battles. My mother has done this, constantly asking about exercise, food, and psychology. Every Saturday morning I get a call or a text as soon as she leaves Weight Watchers with her report. These mornings provide occasion to celebrate success (down 2.4 this week!!) or reassurance (it’s a long road, we’ll get there). In
Our battles against food and weight we need to, we must, celebrate our successes. And trust me losing a pound is a success. We just said no to 3500 calories! We also need support when we indulge. This is what works.
The authors of the fat denial article state that when kids consistently see adults in their worlds (parents, teachers, day care providers) as overweight a “new normal” is engrained in their minds. They think that the norm is to indulge and carry extra weight. Monkey see, monkey do.
Along those lines, check out the lead article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune this morning. “Schools find active kids make smarter kids.” Yes!! Test scores, reading ability, and attention all improve with movement! “If you really want to increase your test scores you have to get off your seat and you have to get on your feet,” says Jack Olwell, incoming president of the Minnesota Association for Health, Physical Education and Dance. Double yes!! Take a look at the article and see results some Minnesota schools have achieved by installing movement.
In Minnesota there is no state requirement for physical education instruction. The typical is 15 minutes two times per week.
Monkey see, monkey do.
Back to Dr. Kellogg for a moment. He needs some credit. Back in the 1800s he was trying to do good by creating nutritious and tasty food for people in his care. Seems his brother sidetracked his vision. However, the Kellogg company of today brings us Tony the Tiger and all those other adorable high fructose carrying characters. Kellogg’s just purchased Pringles. Why? Eating trends in the U.S. are changing. We are now snacking more than ever. And when we snack we like sugar, yes, but we also want our salt. An occasion to snack is becoming a ubiquitous moment. Companies such as Kellogg are seizing this moment, in fact, creating this moment. Change is hard, especially when battling a tiger.