Rewarding the Kids

I saw a youtube video a couple of years ago with a fat little kid chain smoking. It was both disturbing AND hilarious for some reason. It was just so WRONG by the standards of ‘Merika! After all, we take steps in the good ‘ol U S of A to make sure our children are as healthy as possible. Gym class; recess; free milk with school lunches; getting rid of the vending machines or only filling them with “healthy” waters and sports drinks, etc. We don’t allow smoking in buildings anymore in most states (that’s actually a rule I like. As much as I dislike the gov’t barging their way into private businesses, it was disgusting going out for a beer down in Texas. I’d smell so bad when I got home that I’d have to leave my clothes out in the garage and immediately shower or Fabreze my hair. Fun.)

We give dirty looks to those parents who are smoking outside near their precious cargo and tsk tsk their bad parenting…all while we are cutting up the piece of cake we just bought little johnny for not sucking at math class. Or feeding our little chubs, oops I mean cherubs, gas station candy to ensure a smooth ride for the next 10 minutes so they don’t completely flip out that they’re not being entertained at the moment.

We’ll reward our kids with only shitty, sugary snacks and tell them it’s deserved when they do something good (or we’re bribing them to do something good) so they expect it over and over. Which means that when we DON’T give them sugar, they didn’t succeed? I dunno, sounds pretty Pavlovian to me.  We’ll also reward them with a completely dysfuncitonal relationship with food that will follow them through life…like yours. Thanks Ma!

We reward our kids with Obesity but find the idea of giving them a fag to smoke when they’re four bad parenting. Uhhhhhh, huh. That’s an interesting little scenario you’ve talked yourself into. Let me guess, YOU like sugary snacks and find them rewarding after a hard days work. OHHHHHHHHH, so you want THEM to have the same satisfaction YOU give yourself. Cuz it wouldn’t be fair if you got all the snacks and they didn’t. We like fair in our world. Except when it comes to the last piece of bacon, all’s fair in love and the last piece of bacon.

I had the pleasure of having breakfast with my awesome brother last weekend while in Minneapolis. I adore my big brother. He, in my eyes, is the epitome of someone who wakes up each day and works their ass off for his family to have. Have what? Have whatever they need, and most of the time whatever they want. He stumbles, gets back up, and fights another day. I respect that. He’s my Bro. Anyways, we each ordered an omelette and he got pancakes while I skipped the bread altogether. Poor me. We started talking about food and I shared with him why I can’t eat pancakes. While it’s true I’d feel like crap for three hours afterwards, the most important part is that it awakens the fat kid in me and I try to keep her quiet. He said he probably shouldn’t have them either and was a little blown away when I told him, “Why? You’re not a fat kid. Have a fuckin’ pancake.” 

I then went on to explain what the term “fat kid” actually means (to me anyway.) That we have always battled food and choices. That it doesn’t matter how active we are, we can’t out soccer/out softball/out skateboard our shitty food intake. We become fat. But what if we’re not fat? Well then we’re skinny fat and the constant inflammation you put your body through will catch up to you at some point. Have fun with that. Always enjoy eating whatever shit you want and suddenly in your 40’s your hormones are so fucked up you can’t lose weight even if you’re trying? Uh huh. You’re a fat kid.

Our relationship with food is a mess. Rewards. Bargaining with ourselves over cookies DESERVED due to not eating cookies for two whole days in a row. There’s actually very happy people in the world who don’t eat cookies at all. Did you hear that fat kid? None. And they’re happy. Oh wait, they don’t have the stress and all the responsibility that you have. You’re so important that you deserve this shitty food that is detrimental to your health. Uhhhh, ok dude. Eat up. How can I disagree with such a sound argument?

If I start eating sugar on a regular basis, I can’t stop. That’s a fat kid. I was a bit chubby at times in my youth. That’s a fat kid. I was also very active, there were some summer’s where the first swim practice started at 5am and in between that and the last practice at 7pm I had summer school, babysitting, and softball. But I ate like crap, and I loved it. I always wondered how my  petite best friend Sheila could pick at her food. I devoured it and then looked for more.

It also didn’t help that my mother had some food reward issues. So that even when I DID try to eat better as I got older, she’d show up with some dairy queen or cupcakes or anything else that we could “enjoy together.” Well, I liked spending time with my Ma so sure, I’ll eat what I know I shouldn’t so we can be together. F’d up. That’s another key, if one or both parent’s of a fat kid have food issues, they’re possibly screwed. Where do they turn for mentoring of a healthy relationship with food? Kid, just light up. You’re screwed anyway. By the way, I don’t know why I’m a fat kid and my brother isn’t. I have dark hair and he’s a blonde. Ya ya, we’re adopted so it doesn’t really count but the fact is, sometimes we’re just born fat kids. It’s just the card we were dealt. Oh well.


Why have you talked yourself into the idea that preparing your child for a lifetime of unhealthy food relationships and obesity is okay but shudder at the absurd idea of buying them cigarettes? Is it different? IS IT?

So the next time you’re at that gas station and your fat kid (ya, you have a fat kid. That’s not YOUR failure, it’s just a fact. Teach them how to live a healthy partnership with food and they’ll keep the fat kid at bay) wants the Little Debbie snack cake and you don’t want to be a big meanie and say no cuz then they might feel bad…look behind the cashier, what’s there? Cigarettes. What’s your poison fat kid? Smokes or obesity. I actually choose not to give you either, let’s grab some cheese and beefstix. Ya buddy.

Overeating is the addiction of choice of carers, and that’s why it’s come to be regarded as the lowest-ranking of all the addictions. It’s a way of fucking yourself up while still remaining fully functional, because you have to. Fat people aren’t indulging in the “luxury” of their addiction making them useless, chaotic, or a burden. Instead, they are slowly self-destructing in a way that doesn’t inconvenience anyone. And that’s why it’s so often a woman’s addiction of choice. All the quietly eating mums. All the KitKats in office drawers. All the unhappy moments, late at night, caught only in the fridge light.

Caitlin Moran

Training Log

About tosabarbell

For training opportunities at tosabarbell, call or text Juli at 320-296-9313. e-mail to At tosabarbell, I build relationships cultivated in a strength and learning environment. There is no 12 week magic pill program to strength but rather a lifetime commitment to be the very best and most useful human you can be. tosabarbell is a private, home grown gym with three lifting platforms; squat rack; prowlers; throwing implements; bars, bumpers and everything else needed for an effective strength and conditioning program. Straightforward barbell programming including the Olympic lifts; sound (read: not fancy bullshit) diet advance for weight gain or loss; and strong coaching will ensure you will meet your goals such as becoming stronger, more explosive, and better conditioned. I have been coaching teams and athletes for over 30 years. I grew up participating in various sports at various levels but was always drawn to those that require strength training. I have multiple local, national, and world records in the sports of Weightlifting and Highland Games Heavy Events as well as a combined total of 5 World Championships. My 5 years of training and coaching under Mark Rippetoe provided a wide range of influence from some of the top strength & conditioning and throwing coaches in the country. I will strongly encourage tosabarbell athletes to compete (and prepare you to do so.) However, tosabarbell is also for those who wish to be stronger and go through life feeling better. Matt WanAt is a retired Professional Strongman who competed frequently with Strongman Champions League in Europe. He played a year of D1 football with Iowa before concentrating on his Chemical Engineering degree in Iowa City. He is a native of Wauwatosa and still remains a staunch supporter of Tosa East. This blog will be a mixture of strength notes, coaching and nutrition tips, personal shit; bacon delicacies, and a whole lot of fun.
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