Helping Your Large Child Thrive in a Fat-Phobic World

Helping Your Large Child Thrive in a Fat-Phobic World

by Julie Dillon, MS, RD, NCC, LDN, CEDRD

“As a parent of a larger child, the difficult challenge is the voice inside my head telling me that I am doing something wrong. It’s telling me I am ‘letting’ her get fat and not doing something about it.”  —Jennifer, mom

We live in a world where fat bodies are discriminated against, bullied, and considered unacceptable. What if your child is larger than what society deems ok? It is important for you to teach your large child how to respect his or her body since our society will not. You will be your child’s advocate for healthy ways of experiencing food, exercise, and body image. Where do you start?

216-small
Source: Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity

Unconditional Acceptance

Let your child know through your words and actions you accept him or her unconditionally.  If your child comes to you upset about his/her large body, let your child know you love them as he/she is, that you love them no matter what and no matter what size. Do not suggest a diet or exercising together.  If you were to do so, the suggestion sets up a condition. It says, “No, you are not ok as you are. I will help you change.”

Meals and Snacks

Set up regular meal and snack times so your child knows when food will be served. Older children and teens may start to feel ashamed of eating enough in public. They may restrict themselves to low-calorie foods when eating with friends. This way of eating is often referred to as “eating for show.” It means that even though your son or daughter is hungry for a variety of foods, he/she may feel like he/she should be restricting in order to repent for their large body. This leads many kids (and adults!) to eat more in private and even binge eat.

If your child knows your meal and snack times and falls into this “eating for show” trap, he/she can avoid binge or secret eating by consuming enough at the next meal or snack time.

Consistent eating times also offer the opportunity for every child in your home to learn how to detect, respect, and satisfy hunger and fullness cues. Besides promoting healthy eating, this also promotes positive body image.

High-Calorie Fun Foods

By banishing certain fun foods, you may set your child up to sneak foods or binge eat. Be sure to stock your house with a wide variety of wholesome nutritious foods. This variety will include fun foods too. Fun foods include cakes, cookies, and chips.  I encourage all families (no matter what body size) to offer cookies at snack time once a week. I also encourage a few fun sides such as potato chips a couple times a week with meals. Offering fun foods alongside nutrient-dense foods helps in many ways. It satisfies cravings, models moderation, and prevents shame and binge eating high-calorie low nutrition foods.

Jennifer has found strength thanks to professionals and others who have gone through the same thing. “I have to get grounded by people who understand. While I know my family is concerned, their way of ‘shaming’ her or me because of her food choices or size and trying to manipulate her diet makes helping my daughter so hard. Having other parents to talk to that have been there, BUT also agree with the Body Positive philosophy is essential for support. I also have needed the support of a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist to help me let go of my anxiety about this.”

244-small
Source: Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity

Exercise

Every body is meant to move—not just fat bodies. Encourage all of your children to find activities they enjoy. If time and finances allow, let your children pick one organized physical activity per week. Maybe they will enjoy soccer, tae kwon do, salsa dancing, or ice-skating!

Do not make your large child do an activity that he/she does not feel comfortable doing. Avoid “no pain no gain” cliché philosophies. Instead of motivating, they will only shame your child more. Also do not single out any child and make him/her do an exercise while others do not. Moreover, don’t encourage more exercise in relation to foods consumed nor discuss completing a certain amount of exercise to burn off calories consumed. Thinking about food in this way is disordered and could set up genetically predisposed children to start practicing an eating disorder.

Jennifer states: “I try to listen to my daughter’s sadness and frustration about not fitting into ‘skinny jeans’ and not tell her she is wrong for feeling that way. But I also talk to her about how her body is going to change and grow forever and how learning to love it is the best gift. I talk to her a lot about how strong her legs are and how graceful she is when she is figure skating. Not about what her body looks like but the amazing things it can do.”

Your large child needs you to communicate unconditional acceptance in order to thrive in a world stereotyped against his/her body type. Avoid shame-based language, singling out, or punishment. Rather engage in modeling healthy eating, pleasurable movement, and respectful body image for all your children, no matter their size.

Tips for Eating Well with a Newborn

Tips for Eating Well with a Newborn
By Jennifer McGurk, RDN, CDN, CDE, CEDRD

Going into pregnancy, labor, and delivery I read everything I could get my hands on about “life with a newborn”.  However there really is no way to describe the emotional roller coaster you go through until you experience it yourself.  With that being said, self-care is so important during this time and nutrition is one of the most important self-care aspects (in my dietitian opinion of course).  Whether a mom had a vaginal birth or C-section her body just went through a MARATHON and now needs to recover.  Calories, carbs, protein, fat, and all the vitamins and minerals that food provide help your body heal from labor and delivery.  Here are my top 7 tips for getting in proper nutrition with a newborn.

  1. Don’t think “weight loss” right away:  Thank your body for what it just did, it’s perfect in every way right now no matter what you weigh.  Moms may also need extra calories if breastfeeding (especially from healthy fats).  Make sure you take a multivitamin too.
  2. Try to listen to hunger and satiety:  Are you eating now just because you have 5 minutes or are you truly hungry?  Or are you absolutely starving because you haven’t eaten anything in 6 hours?  Try not to let yourself get too hungry or too full to avoid feeling uncomfortable.
  3. Have snacks and easy to grab foods:  I personally ate with one hand the first few weeks of my son’s life.  My favorite grab and go healthy foods are sandwiches (turkey and cheese or peanut butter and banana and honey), protein bars, trail mix, hard boiled eggs, roasted chicpeas, yogurt, cottage cheese and fruit.  Also packing some of these staples in your diaper bag is a good idea.
  4. Go for EASY meals.  No need to be a gourmet chef in the first few months.  I stocked up on frozen Steamfresh veggies and rice to throw in the microwave as sides for a quick dinner.  Coupled with grilled meat (thanks to my husband) dinner was ready in under 15 minutes.  I also tried to make double recipes anytime I actually did cook to have lots of leftovers and even froze some meals.
  5. Notice how refined sugar affects your mood, and hunger? New moms know cookies are quick and tasty. However, just notice if this helps your body or later causes body feelings and signals to become more difficult to address. If you need your pure sugar fix consider eating it near a meal or with a more substantial food at snack. This will help to moderate blood sugar and get you full.
  6. Get enough sleep:  This really isn’t realistic because your sleep will be interrupted for months but sleep has a lot to do with our hunger and satiety cues and metabolism (and sanity!).  Just know the more you can get the better even if it’s not your usual 8 hours.
  7. Don’t stress about nutrition:  Ironically this is probably the most important tip.  Babies can feel our stress and react to it even if they don’t understand everything that’s going on.  Don’t stress about losing weight, getting in all the nutrients you need- just try to do your best and that’s “good enough” which is mentally better than trying to be “perfect”.
Happy 3 months to Connor!

A Jen G. Yoga Giveaway!

Photo Credit: Vanessa Marie Hernandez via Compfight cc

We are happy to host this giveaway with one of Laura’s favorite instructors, Jen G.! With tomorrow’s blog post focusing on beauty and body image. We wanted to focus on internal health as opposed to external health and appearance. Yoga is a wonderful way to treat your body to a restorative workout. Jen has been kind enough to donate an hour in-home private yoga session with one of our lucky readers! (P.S. moms-to-be, Jen is certified in prenatal yoga!)

Restrictions do apply: expires one year from issue; only valid for travel to Manhattan and certain areas of Brooklyn.
If you live in Manhattan we encourage you to enter below! 

For more info on Jen visit her site here: www.jengyoga.com

a Rafflecopter giveaway
//widget.rafflecopter.com/load.js

Healthy Habits Giveaway

The creator of MomDishesItOut — savvy city mom and registered dietitian Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, CEDRD,  has developed The Mommy Manual’s Healthy Habits. This healthy-eating and physical activity workbook can be used by coaches, school teachers or even parents teaching nutrition.  Through this approach, you will understand the difference between an “everyday” food vs. a “sometimes” food. With a mission to help children develop a positive relationship with eating and a neutral relationship with food, the  Healthy Habits approach provides honest, credible, and fun health education. This week, one lucky winner will receive a free copy of  Healthy Habits!

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:

One lucky winner will receive a copy of The Mommy Manual’s Healthy Habits!

Enter by one of the following ways. You can submit more than one entry by doing any of the following. Just be sure to leave an additional comment letting us know you did! Good luck!

  • Leave a comment here and  “Like us” on our Facebook page
  • Follow @MomDishesItOut and tweet @MomDishesItOut is having a #MDIO #Giveaway.
    We’d love to hear what your thoughts! Giveaway ends on Sunday, April 28th at 5:00 PM EST.

 

Are Sports Drinks the New Version of Soda?

In short…I do think that sports drinks are almost equivalent to soda. However, let me explain.

Sport drinks are in every kid’s hand after soccer games, before and after sports class, and even at the park after school. I must admit that this is something that really irks me…especially because my boys see the other kids drinking it and then, of course, they want it too.

Do I cave?

Well, yes! Sometimes just because my wonderful hubby let them have it once and now they love it. Of course, my real hope is that by giving it to them, it will become a “neutral food” and they will not yearn for it or put it on a food pedestal. The neutralizing effect seems to be working because they typically drink only a small amount and then forget about it…or finish it another day.  However, I must constantly explain that it is a “sometimes” food/drink. I also tell them that these drinks were created for athletes like the Olympians who train for hours each day.

In all fairness, sports drinks are a source of quick energy and electrolytes when athletes need to replenish their systems. However, these drinks are only necessary when someone has been exercising at an intense level for 90 minutes or more. According to the Journal of Medicine, sports drinks should be consumed “only for those athletes with sustained physical activity.” The average kid I observe is exercising for less than 45 minutes straight and has barely worked up a sweat. The Academy of Pediatrics states that while athletes can benefit from sports drinks, “for the average child engaged in routine physical activity, the use of sports drinks in place of water on the sports field or in the school lunchroom is generally unnecessary.”

If my kids are sweaty while playing outside I may say yes to a sports drink, but most of the time I just say NO! (As you might guess…if I say yes, I am cringing on the inside!) I would prefer that the kids drink juice for the antioxidants as well as for exposure to different tastes of fruit rather than artificial flavors and straight sugar. Another option is milk. The boys can drink milk as a source of natural sugar and get doses of protein and calcium as side benefits.

So, should sport drinks be in the school vending machines?

No! Should sports drinks be sold at venues like Chelsea Pier or athletic departments? Ideally, no. But, if there are true athletes training there as many are at NYC’s Chelsea Piers, a sports drink vending machine easily can be rationalized. Should these drinks be available during the camp day…or to youngsters? Personally, I don’t think so…particularly since it seems that neither parents nor their kids are aware that children do not need them. Overall, I think the sports drinks are being purchased by kids attending basketball class or winter sports camp…and these kids definitely don’t need artificial drinks with added sugar and salt.

This, of course, is a parent’s choice, but I secretly wish parents would refrain from introducing their kids to these drinks as they are merely soda in disguise with added electrolytes.

Moms and Dads…are you falling prey to sports drinks?

 

Mom is Dishing Out Free Yoga Sessions!

Yoga combines stretching, meditation and breathing exercises, which has shown to have many positive health benefits.  It can help improve balance, back pain or posture, tone muscles, and may even serve as a creative outlet or stress reliever.

There are different forms of yoga out there, with Hatha yoga being just one of the many. If you’re new to Hatha yoga, here’s your chance to give it a try!

Mom Dishes It Out will be giving 100 followers a free yoga class at Jivamukti Yoga Center in New York City! 

Located in NYC, the Jivamukti Yoga School offers Hatha Yoga classes to beginners, prenatal, kids/teens and families. When you’re there, be sure to check out their new cafe, where you can enjoy a tasty pre/post session vegan meal!

Want to enter for a chance to win a free yoga session?

Enter by one of the following ways:

Let us know what you like about the yoga and you could be one of the lucky winners!
Winners will be announced on Friday, September 7th, 2012 at 6:00 PM EST.