More than ten years ago, I lost 100 pounds.
I was chubby in childhood, and then obese for nearly twenty years of my adult life—namely my childbearing years.
I gave birth to five children and fed them primarily low-nutrient, processed food. I wanted to feed them healthy food, but all of my good intentions and attempts to change were futile. The mainstay of my family’s diet was the highly palatable food of the Standard American Diet: highly salted, high-fat, low-nutrient, processed food. . .because I was addicted to it.
It wasn’t until I discovered the way out of my own destructive addiction did my children begin to eat healthier. By the time my last child graduated from high school—who was formerly obese and a self-proclaimed junk food junkie at age thirteen--he was the epitome of health and fitness, and a proponent of healthy eating!
And that hasn’t been just my experience. I’ve interviewed mothers throughout the country who were also formerly addicted to unhealthy, low-nutrient food. When they turned their lives around by eradicating their food addiction, their children eventually followed in their footsteps.
I’ve also had the privilege of interacting with mothers who have fed their children only healthy food since birth. Not surprisingly, their children prefer fruits and vegetables over potato chips and cookies. Will those children develop obesity and resulting diseases? Absolutely not, because the same food that is unhealthy and addictive is the same food that packs on the pounds and fuels disease. . .even in children.
Pediatric endocrinologist, Robert Lustig, M.D., states that sugar is the alcohol of the child and that children are getting the diseases of alcohol—without alcohol.
Additionally, according to Caldwell Esselstyn, M.D., the foundation of coronary artery disease is firmly established by the end of high school here in the United States.
And nutritional expert Joel Fuhrman, M.D., says our diet, not just during pregnancy but even before conception, has profound effects in determining the health, intelligence, and immune systems of our children. He also says that children, especially, are more susceptible to the destructive influences of junk food, because growing and dividing cells are at greater risk when exposed to toxic compounds. In other words, an unhealthy diet can do more damage to a young body than to an adult one.
The Mayo Clinic confirms that consuming junk food and packing on extra pounds put children at risk for asthma, sleep apnea, joint problems, diabetes, liver disease, hypertension, cardiovascular disease; and they are also more likely to become overweight adults. (Not to mention it puts them at risk for low self-esteem, discrimination, and verbal abuse/bullying. . .and a lifetime of struggle with food addiction and emotional eating.)
Thankfully, the CDC has been targeting the reduction in sugar-sweetened beverages, fast-food consumption, and even limiting screen time use, but there’s a much bigger force to contend with: the mothers of America.
Since mothers purchase the majority of our nation’s food supply, and they have the biggest influence on their children’s eating patterns--it’s time to focus on, and even fund programs that educate and support mothers’ freedom from destructive and addictive food.
Mothers who are addicted to unhealthy food will feed their children unhealthy and addictive food. That’s the root cause of the childhood obesity epidemic.
They buy and prepare unhealthy food for their families, because they crave it themselves in order to feed their own self-destructive addiction. They also model unhealthy coping strategies by abusing food for emotional reasons. And if a mother becomes immobile due to obesity, she’ll be less likely to foster physical activity in her children.
(However, even though lack of physical activity is one of the excuses for the childhood obesity epidemic, I was very active in childhood. I grew up on a farm and rarely sat except at school—yet, I still developed obesity due to consuming highly addictive, high calorie, low-nutrient food.)
According to the CDC, the prevalence of obesity in children is almost 1 out of 5; that’s nearly 14 million children and adolescents between the ages of 2-19. (Some stats say 1 in 3 kids are obese.) This epidemic will put such a strain on our healthcare system in just a few short years when these children become young adults.
And unfortunately, more research and information has not slowed it down; neither has the increase in farmers’ markets in America.
Experts say the childhood obesity epidemic is “the new smoking” that will require changes on the scale of a social movement similar to stopping smoking tobacco years ago. The anti-smoking campaign finally became a successful health movement once the public’s perception changed. Prior to that time, most Americans weren’t alarmed by the dangers of smoking tobacco.
Successful public health movements have always been characterized by a common threat that is dangerous—and mobilization of grass-roots groups able to address that threat.
What mother doesn’t want the best life possible for her children? What mother doesn’t want to protect her children from a crippling disease?
Childhood obesity is becoming a fast-growing threat to children’s futures. With infectious disease epidemics, there’s a high-level of attention given and resources invested to control the problem and prevent its recurrence. Childhood obesity must be treated with this same urgency.
Mothers can stop this epidemic by kicking their own food addictions. They can save their children from a future of suffering and premature death.
However, they are going to need the support of peers, community leaders, school administrators, clergy, counselors, and physicians. In addition, some mothers are going to need government-led food subsidies for access to reasonably-priced and easily accessible nutrient-rich food. And others are going to need access to food addiction recovery programs that can successfully treat their addiction.
The food industry has hid the health damaging effects of low-nutrient food long enough.
Girded with correct information and a clarion call to action, mothers are profoundly capable of leading a grass-roots movement to put a stop to it.
When mothers catch the vision, watch out. They will become a force to be reckoned with and will wipe out the nation’s childhood obesity epidemic!
1 Interview by Jay Vera, “Dr. Lustig: Type 2 Diabetes is ‘Processed Food Disease,’” Crossfit; The Journal, March 22, 2017, accessed May 3, 2018, https://journal.crossfit.com/article/cfj-lustig-rarary-interview
2 Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., M.D., “A plant-based diet and coronary artery disease: a mandate for effective therapy,” Journal of Geriatric Cardiology, accessed May 3, 2018, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMD5466936/
3 Joel Fuhrman, M.D., Fast Food Genocide, (New York: Harper Collins Publishers; 2017), 2.
4 Joel Fuhrman, M.D., Disease Proof Your Child, (New York: St. Martin’s Press; 2005), 79.
5 Childhood obesity; https://www.mayoclinic.org/disease-conditions/childhood-obesity/symptoms-causes/syc-20354827
6 Dr. William Dietz, “Childhood Obesity,” November 1, 2018, Parkview Regional Medical Center, Fort Wayne, Indiana
7 Jonathan D. Klein and William Dietz, “Childhood Obesity: The New Tobacco,” Health Affairs; Vol. 29, NO. 3: Child Obesity: The Way Forward, https://www.healthaffairs.org/doi/10.1377/hlthaff.2009.0736
8 “Confronting the Childhood Obesity Epidemic,” Preventing Childhood Obesity: Health in the Balance, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK83814
Chubby in childhood, and then obese until age 47, Emily Boller was desperate to find freedom from her struggles with food. In 2008, when she lost 100 pounds, she never expected to become an inspirational voice for food addiction recovery for millions of people.
Today, she combines her personal journey, hard-won wisdom, and practical tips to inspire and help others break free from inner blocks that sabotage their health and well-being. After losing a child to suicide, she also knows the impact of trauma and grief on addiction recovery—and how to recover from relapse as well. For anyone desiring long term freedom from food addiction, she can show the way!
Emily earned a Bachelor of Arts with Distinction in Fine Arts from Purdue University and certificates in Basic Nutrition and The Science of the Nutritarian Diet from the Nutritarian Education Institute. She and her husband, Kurt, have been married for 37 years, and together they have raised five children. www.EmilyBoller.com