Of course on this day I have personal wishes and reflections regarding the past year and the brand new year, but I have a wish for the world, too. And this is it:
I WISH WE COULD TURN AROUND THE WAYS AND REASONS WE PROPEL OUR CHILDREN AND ADULTS INTO DEVELOPING CRAZY-MAKING PATTERNS OF EATING!
It saddens me to no end to see that eating disorders continue to rise over time, and that not only girls are affected, boys are becoming more and more aware of what is considered to be a cultural norm.
I’ve been researching more about where it all begins. For some of my clients, they didn’t get negative messages regarding food and/or their bodies from their families. For them, it started as a teen when they compared themselves to emaciated models and Hollywood look-a-likes.
For those whose family members remarked on their intake, choice of foods, and/ or their bodies, it may have started nearly at birth. Feeding a baby intuitively, according to the baby’s hunger and fullness, takes a commitment to listening and noticing visually, the baby’s cues. It takes an ability as the parent or caregiver to relax fully into the role of feeding. For parents who didn’t have patient, good enough parenting themselves, it’s a challenge to be this present to the feeding of an infant. For parents who have several other children and possibly a job, time or lack of it, plays a decisive role in feeding. For some parents who are frazzled and exhausted, sticking a breast or bottle into the baby’s mouth is just plain easier, but what does this teach the infant?
Parents, because they know that our culture likes “thin, small, petite,” worry if their child is “round, robust, a good eater.” Sometimes the first restriction begins in infancy when a well-meaning parent tries to stretch out the time between feedings so the baby won’t “grow up fat.” Of course what happens is that when the baby is finally allowed to eat, it’s ravenous and wants more, more. Because now that wee one is afraid that her basic needs are not going to be met. This may continue once she is eating solid foods, the parents moderating what, when, and how much she is allowed to eat. That baby has had her ability to intuitively eat taken away from her. She is the adult I see who is still struggling in her 20’s, 30’s, 40’s 50’s, and yes, even 60’s.
What can we do as members of this culture where having a pattern of disordered eating is more the norm than not?
Parents, if you have a crazy making relationship with food, get help so you have a chance to not pass it on to your kids.
Parents, read up on how to honor your infant/toddler’s innate ability to know how to eat.
Those in powerful positions in the media: stop, please stop using emaciated models, you could turn this around for millions if only you would stop this ridiculous practice.
All of us. We need to talk about this, we need to honor diversity regarding beauty and body size. ( I know, I keep saying this…). We need to stop this hyper-focus on superior nutrition and the newest trend of exercising 2-3 hours at the gym each day (it leads to bingeing), we need to simply enjoy food, and enjoy sharing meal time with others.
Please help the next generation by not buying into dieting, ever. The crazy making pattern of eating begins with the first restriction whether it was self-imposed or other imposed. If none of us had ever restricted in the first place, so many people would have a much healthier, happier relationship with food.
I HOPE MY BIRTHDAY WISH COMES TRUE SOME DAY. SOONER RATHER THAN LATER!