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Taking Your Kids on Your Intuitive Eating Journey

child-eating-bananaIt is a lot easier to reach your goals when you are working with someone else, right?

 

You can share your intuitive eating journey with someone who looks up to you the most, your child.  Your child can be that someone!

 

As a parent you are a role model for your child. Even if you aren’t aware of it, you can influence your child’s thoughts and behaviors.  So whether you already have kids or are planning to have them in the future, it’s a great idea to model your intuitive eating journey to help instill a healthy relationship with food and feelings of self-worth.

 

You are born an intuitive eater, so chances are your child can help you on your journey as well.

 

Young children…

 

  • Have the ability to listen to their hunger and fullness cues.
  • Will not starve themselves or overeat.
  • Eat slowly, waiting between each bite until they reach for their next forkful.

 

As children age and see family members or the media describe food as “bad”, they may start to move away from eating intuitively.  Their relationship with food and their body may start to change.  If you take them on your intuitive eating journey with you, you may be able to help them continue on as an intuitive eater.

 

Here are 3 ways to help your kids stay intuitive:

 

  1. Banish the “clean your plate before dessert” threat. Like I said before, children are very in tune with their hunger and fullness cues.  If you want them to clean their plate, they will most likely overeat.  If this is a chronic problem with your child, try giving them smaller portions.  If they are still hungry, they will ask for more.

 

  1. Focus on a healthy relationship with food. While on your intuitive eating journey, you learn about the importance of moderation and listening to your body.  If your child sees that you are not afraid to eat certain foods and you stop when you are satisfied rather than stuffed, they will model that behavior.  You will show them there is no such thing as “bad food” or “good food” and they will develop a healthy relationship with food.

 

  1. Show the importance of loving your body. As you’re sitting with your child, talk about what you love about your body, whether it’s physical (“my eyes”), or something your body does for you (“my eyes help me see your beautiful smile”).  By doing this, your child will gain a positive body image and show her own body love.

 

I know showing self-love can be hard to do, especially if you are struggling with it yourself.  So here is an activity you and your child can do together before bedtime:

 

  • Ask your child to tell you what they love about you, or their favorite characteristic about you. Then you tell your child what you love about them, or your favorite characteristic about them.

 

Your intuitive eating journey can become a way to bond with your child.  The two of you can work on your journey together, making it a family affair.

 

So remember, don’t go on this journey alone!  Include your child and teach them about your journey.  You never know, they might teach you a few things too.

 

If you would like more guidance on how to teach mindful eating to your kids, come join my free training Mindful Eating for Families: A Parent Class with Megrette Fletcher, RD.  Sign up for notification on when the next class is available here.

 

 

Are You Ready for Bathing Suit Season?

Swimsuit pictureWhen you think of summer, the beach and the pool, what comes to mind?  Perhaps getting into a bathing suit?  How does this make you feel?  Many of my clients shy away from these summer fun activities because they don’t like the way they look in a bathing suit.  Do you compare yourself to others and criticize your body?

Summer is a time for vacationing, relaxing in the sun (of course with sunblock) and chilling out.  Don’t let your negative thoughts about your body prevent you from enjoying this wonderful time of year.

Let this summer be different!  Look back at the progress you have been making in the last few months learning to love your body.  One of the things I recommended in a previous blog was to look at yourself in the mirror and find at least one thing that you like about your body.  It could be your eyes, ears or wrists.  If it’s hard for you to find a body part you like, think about what your body does for you.  Your legs help you walk and your eyes help you see.    Think about how this journey to becoming an intuitive eater is helping you to love and respect your body.

When you put on a bathing suit this summer, be proud of the accomplishments you have made so far.  Stand proud, hold your head up high and dive into the ocean.

Your turn to take action:  Take a picture of yourself wearing your bathing suit and write five things on the back of the photo that you love about your body!  Please share your photos and/or comments below.

Pop Culture Permeates Body Image

Woman at ocean doing yogaIn 1959 Barbie burst onto the scene, meant to be a symbol for young girls to look up to and hope to be like.  However, throughout the years many mothers and advocates for woman’s issues complained about Barbie’s unrealistic proportions and the body image that it would represent to the impressionable young girls playing with her.  Now images of unrealistic body types are hard to escape in our country.  We are a nation obsessed with celebrity, and sometimes we forget that their lives are far from normal, and so are their body types.

I want to ask you a question.  Are you striving for the“perfect body?”  Are your looks what make you who you are?  I hope the answers to these questions are no.  However for a celebrity, their job and their responsibility to the public is to look good.  That means their days are designed to have hours to workout.  Their meals are delivered to their doorstep or handmade by a private chef.  Not to mention a little thing called airbrushing and spandex which are used to trick consumers when it comes to the magazines you see.  It is hardly fair to hold yourself to an image that is hardly realistic.

There is no person to whom you should be comparing yourself to.  Everyone is different and what works for one person may not work for another.  When it comes to body image, you are under no obligation look like anybody other than yourself, especially if it means putting yourself at health risk to do it.  You have to respect your body for what is and what it allows you to do.  Maybe your arms seem out of proportion, but those are the arms that are strong enough to lift your children with.  Or perhaps you would like your thighs to be smaller, but it’s those thighs that allow you to participate in your favorite sports or exercise activities.

There is always a positive to be found in the way you’re built.  The way you are built allows you to do the things that you do.  Try to internalize this thought; an improved self-image is the first step towards an improved body image.

Your turn to take action: Stand in front of the mirror with minimal clothing on.  Look at your reflection and ask yourself, “What one thing do I like about my body?”  If you can’t seem to find anything you like, then think about the way your body functions and all the good it’s done for you.  Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Repair Your Relationship with the Mirror

MirrorIt is not always easy.  You’re standing in the dressing room with a new outfit on and the fluorescent lighting hits all the “trouble spots.”  Or you just ate dinner and are changing into pajamas and you catch a glimpse of your stomach in the bedroom mirror and are not especially thrilled with what you see.  Very rarely do people voluntarily stand and look at themselves in the mirror out of the joy of seeing what they look like.  They stand in front of the glass and start picking themselves apart.

 

Does this sound familiar?

 

The first thing to remember is not all mirrors are created equal.  Some mirrors are wider and make you appear wider, just like you might weigh more on one scale over another.  It is simply a piece of glass that shows you a reflection of your appearance.  Yet you see it as a tool that can facilitate a negative dialogue with yourself.

 

In a recent blog post I talked about not being so hard on yourself.  Repairing your relationship with the mirror coincides with all the things mentioned in that post.  It all comes back to loving who you are and speaking positively about yourself.  Instead of hiding from the mirror, embrace it.  After all, it lets you take a look at you, and gives you the opportunity to see the wonderful person that everyone else does.  Mirrors reflect what is seen on the outside, but spend a few seconds longer in front of it and you can start to think about who you are on the inside.

 

Instead of picking yourself apart, look into the mirror and notice parts of your reflection that you are proud of.  Then look harder and see into the person you are looking at.  Think about all the things you handle on a daily basis and be proud of everything you regularly accomplish.  The person you see looking back at you is wonderful, whether or not the fluorescent lighting is flattering or unflattering.  Be happy with the person staring back at you.

 

Spend a full minute staring at yourself in the mirror and come up with five things you love about the person staring back!  I can’t wait to hear what you discover!