The irony of life is the more we want to FORCE something….the less likely it is to happen.
[insert Alanis Morisette lyrics here]
What do I mean??
Let’s play a **CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE**
(did anyone else ever read those books???)
Wake up every morning complaining about your body. Looking in the mirror, stepping on the scale, saying unkind words. Skipping meals, then ending up in the drive-through binging on fast-food that leaves you feeling bloated. More unkind words to your body. You have NO energy and mostly feel like shit. Then you take out your negative feelings on your family. Yikes.
you wake up every morning and thank your body for keeping you alive and breathing and able to get up and accomplish the things you need to do. You treat your body to a warm cup of tea and a delicious and healthy breakfast. You skip the painful workouts you used to force yourself through in favor of peaceful walks. You notice how energizing the fresh air is to your body. You eat regular meals throughout the day, never feeling STARVING and always stop before you feel too stuffed. You know your “baby weight” isn’t keeping you from accomplishing anything (except maybe fitting in your old jeans, but just BUY SOME NEW ONES).
With a few extra pounds on your body, you can do your job.
You can be an amazing mother. Heck, you ARE an amazing mother.
You can have great sex.
You can be a great partner. You can be a great friend.
But if you aren't happy in your body now, I have sad news for you... you will find something to hate even at your #goalweight. You gotta start with LOVE now, or you'll yo-yo diet yourself into oblivion.
You don’t need to force your body into ANY shape. And even if you DO want to change your habits or get better at running or lose a few lbs or whatever….
Being kind to yourself will make it EASIER! #ironic #thanksAlanis
So which would you prefer???
Forcing is not the answer. A diet is not the answer. A sexy celery juice is not the answer. Keto is not the fu***ing anwer. LOVING YOUR BODY NOW IS THE ANSWER (but don't expect it to happen instantaneiously. It's a process).
And guess what.
YOU have all the answers inside of you. Close your eyes. Put your hand on your chest. Take 5 deep breaths. What does YOUR body need from YOU right now??
Need help transforming how you think about food and your body?? Get your free copy of my ANTI-DIET METHOD printables.
I know first hand how challenging it can be to deal with family meal time stress. I have a toddler myself, and over the last year I’ve also worked with nearly 200 families on nutrition, and many of them had similar concerns.
I constantly hear moms say:
“I feel like a short order cook”
“Every meal time is a battle”
“I just want my kid to EAT!”
Sound familiar?? Below I’m sharing a few great tips to help create peace at family meal time. Remember, this is a process and won’t happen overnight, BUT with these tips you can find peace of mind and hopefully have less stress at your next meal!
(a side note: I’m aware sensory issues can cause more of a struggle, and longterm stress. However, these strategies CAN be helpful, however, obviously more intensive therapies will be necessary).
Forcing. Force feeding, forcing to clear the plate, forcing to eat a bite, etc. It creates stress for the kids and parents and is not helpful in the short or long run.
What to do instead?
Practice the division of responsibility. That means YOU (as the parent) get to control the food, the environment, sitting at the table, etc. The kids get to decide WHAT they are going to eat and HOW MUCH. That simple. If they don’t want anything? Okay, but next meal is in a few hours (or tomorrow).
Bribing. Don’t use food as a bribe to eat the meal OR for things like getting good grades. Why? It creates an unhealthy relationship with food, and kids are less likely to choose foods they have to be bribed to eat (i.e. veggies).
What to do instead?
Create a schedule around desserts. Maybe have them Monday and Friday, and leave it at that. And instead of using food to bribe for good behavior, reward with experiences like going to the movies, the pool, the park, the beach, the zoo, disneyland…
The dinnertime stalemate. Not letting your kids leave the table until they eat is torture for you both, and makes meals VERY stressful.
What to do instead?
Set a timer for 20 minutes and then dinner is done! No stress, no worry, no babysitting at the table for an hour. If they don’t eat- no worries. They might be hungrier at the next meal.
All day snacking. It’s an endless cycle. Your kid snacks (on something like goldfish or fruit snacks that don’t fill them up anyway), then they ask for another snack. Then they cry for another snack. “I’m HUNGRYYYYY”. Then at meal time they aren’t hungry. And miraculously 40 minutes later (or at bedtime) they decide they are hungry.
What to do instead: Create a schedule around meals and snacks. If they don’t eat a meal, they will be hungry for the next one. Control the portion size for snacks, and try to include fiber at all meals (more filling). Foods with fiber are fruits, veggies, and whole grains. If they ask for a snack, re-direct by saying “snack time is in 20 minutes (or whenever), lets play ___ instead”.
Catering to pickiness. Let me guess… you feel like a short order cook sometimes?? Your kids “only eat three things” and “HATE veggies”. So you only make them what they want (or they convince you to have a second option if they don’t like dinner…) They are probably constipated too right???
Guess what, mama? YOU get to call the shots. They will NEVER learn to like new foods if they aren’t exposed to them. That doesn’t mean force feeding, but it DOES mean putting foods they may “not like” on their plate. It can take 15-20 tries to develop a taste for a new food. Offer foods in different ways.
For example: broccoli can be raw dipped in ranch or hummus, steamed and soft, roasted and salty, pureed in soup.
Large serving sizes. Kids actually need a lot less than we think in most cases. If you have a toddler, a serving size of a food group is the same amount of tablespoons as they are in years. For example: a 2 year old- serving size of fruit= 2 T, serving size of veg = 2 T, serving size of protein = 2T, etc.
If you find your kids tend to OVER-eat, start with smaller portions and practice mindful eating together. Slow down while eating. You can make a game out of counting “chews”, drinking water before bites, putting the fork down between bites, etc. Also, always wait 20 min before offering seconds.
Too much milk. It’s not that milk is “bad” per se, but drinking cups of milk all day will keep a baby or toddler from being hungry at meal time.
What to do instead?
Plan milk for after meal time.
If you are a mama, chances are good you’ve spend some time wondering if your child is eating enough, eating the RIGHT foods, and maybe even wondering why the hell they are spitting out a food they loved yesterday.
After spending the last year coaching in a pediatric clinic and working with the author of a best selling picky eating book, I’ve picked up a few tips. If you want the full guide, click below to download!
The thing about body image is it’s not just about how you feel about your body RIGHT NOW.
It’s the comment your grandmother made about your size when you were a little girl. It’s the rude name your high school boyfriend called you. It’s how your mom talked about her own body. It’s the example your older sister and aunts set for you by talking about their latest diet and how much weight they wanted to lose before vacation.
ALLL that adds up, and creates automatic thoughts that fill your brain with negativity.
So if you don’t DO the “work” aka learn how to talk kindly to yourself and accept your body as it is NOW…. alllll that junk from your past will be right there with you. Even the rude comments from 20 or 30 years ago!
The brain’s job is to create automatic thoughts so it doesn’t have to think as hard. That means when we are in the habit of thinking badly about our body, our brains learn to automaticlly think negative thoughts. It becomes an automatic loop we aren’t even consiously aware of.
THAT is why I focus so much on changing mindset about body while also changing nutrition habits.
If you are trying to improve your health while thinking horrible thoughts about your body… you might as well be trying to go up a down escalator. It’s just not as effective and may be why you’ve struggled with weight-loss or yo-yo dieting in the past.
Do I really expect my clients to go from self-conscious to body LOVE? Not right away, but YES.
Loving your body doesn’t mean being self-obsessed. It doesn’t mean loving every inch of yourself every single day. What it DOES mean, is accepting your body as it is right now.
It’s okay to want to improve your health, of course, but the point of self-love is to be kind to yourself. It’s about talking to your body the way you would talk to your sweet daughter. It’s about giving yourself grace, and knowing that you’re doing the best you can.
It’s about understanding that body “ideals” are damaging, and realizing that ALL bodies are good bodies.
Different shapes and sizes and colors is what makes the world beautiful and unique.
So if you’re trying to change the way you talk to yourself or talk about your body what should you do??
Pay attention to your thoughts for a few days. Start by becoming aware of what you say to yourself when you look in the mirror, when you try on clothes, after a big meal, etc. Once you become aware of the comments you make to yourself, you can begin to change your thought patterns.
After paying attention to your thought patterns for a few days, write down the most common thoughts. Like, actually sit down and write! And then write some more about negative thoughts you’ve had about your body, yourself, how smart you are, etc.
Example: my thighs are so big, I don’t fit in any of my clothes, I need to lose weight, I hate my ____, etc. My mom says my ___ is ____…. etc.
THEN…. And this is the most important part. Begin journaling a rebuttal or an opposite to each negative thought as well as think about where the thought came from?
My thighs are big compared to what?? Do my clothes not fit because I just had a baby? Or because I need to buy new clothes? Or because I gained 10 lbs because of stress in the last month?
Why do I hate my ___? Did someone make a comment on that body part when I was a child? Am I comparing myself to someone else?
And most importantly… what would I tell my daughter if she made those comments to herself? THAT should be the standard by which we talk to ourselves.
(BONUS!!) Once you have your rebuttals write down a few affirmations. You don’t have to go from I hate my thighs to I love my thighs… start with “I’m learning to love my thighs.” or “I have a body” instead of I hate my body. Repeat your affirmations whenever you look in the mirror. Put sticky notes on your car steering wheel on your bathroom mirror, etc.