1. Your name, title, and age? What do you do (or did you do) for a living?
Stavros Mastrogiannis, Permanent Weight Loss Specialist, 40 years old. I own Olympus Personal Training & Weight Management, a personal training facility that specializes in permanent weight loss.
2. Who was the person that inspired you as a child to eat healthy and stay fit? What was their relationship to you?
My mother. I was raised in Greece. Traditional Greek dishes are very healthy and my mother cooked traditional Greek dishes. So, you can say healthy eating was the norm and we hardly watched TV. Not only because there were only 2 channels, but also because my mother always told us to go outside to play and the games we played involved a lot of running.
3. What did they do to inspire you?
Well, at the time I lived in Greece, we ate meat only once or twice per week, the rest of the meals were vegetarian. When my mother cooked lunch, we ate whatever she cooked. You had no choice and since you had no choice you ate whatever was put in front of you. The other big difference I see from today’s kids is that we did not snack a lot. The school did not serve meals. If you were hungry you could buy a snack, but there were many days I did not eat anything in school, so by the time I came home from school I was very hungry. The funny thing about hunger is that everything taste good when you are truly hungry. When you are truly hungry you are not that picky. If we wanted something sweet after a meal my mother would peel us apples and oranges. Yes we were allowed to have junk food but not all the time.
I am so glad when I was a kid, my mother did not ask me and my siblings what we wanted for lunch or dinner because I am sure as a child I would have made the wrong choices. Now as an adult, eating fruits and vegetables come naturally because my mother did not give me a choice. As a child you learn by watching your parents. My parents ate very healthy too. I see so many parents complain that their kids don’t like vegetables but when I ask them if they eat vegetables they say no. No wonder their kids don’t like vegetables.
5. Do you convey their message to kids in your life presently?
I have two children, a son, who is 7 and my daughter, who is almost 3. My kids actually like vegetables and eat very healthy and I think it is because my wife and I eat that way. We don’t eat healthy food because we want to be healthy, we eat healthy food because that is what we like to eat. Do my kids eat some junk food? Of course my kids eat some junk food and I am fine with that. I eat junk food too, but it is a treat not our main meal. People need to keep in mind that hunger plays a huge role on how a food will effect you when you eat it. When I was a child, when meal time came, I was hungry, no question about it. I was hungry because we did not snack non stop from morning till night, like most kid do today. You need to let your body go hungry before you eat and that is something I try to teach my kids and also I advice my clients to do the same with their kids.
6. What would be your main message to children today to lead healthy lifestyles?
My message would be for the parents. Parents need to lead by example so they need to start living a healthy lifestyle and their kids eventually will follow. When you are trying to get your kids to be more active or to eat more vegetables but you don’t do any of those things yourself, your kids will not listen. You must lead my example. When it comes to meal time, cook a healthy meal and don’t give your kids choices.They should be eating whatever you have prepared. If they don’t like it, they are not hungry enough yet. When you are truly hungry, everything tastes good. Let them go hungry and offer them the same food again and see if they changed their minds. I know that sounds harsh, but you are the parent and they need your guidance even if they are not asking for it. The main difference I see between the way I was raised and the way kids are raised now is that kids are given to many choices when it comes to food. Of course the kids will pick what tastes good and let’s face it, junk food tastes good. I don’t think we should eliminate junk food. If you try to do that your kids will simply go behind your back. Instead make junk food special and have it on the weekend or special occasions. If they want something sweet after a meal give them a fruit. Also, kids should not be snacking all day long, it is essential for good health for kids, and adults, to go hungry.There is nothing wrong with hunger. Be the example to your kids on how to live a healthy lifestyle.
7. Do you have a web site you would like to promote….web address only?