As we approach the New Year, many are thinking about going on a diet or changing their lifestyle. If you’ve been part of the Feeding Littles Family for a while, you probably know that we promote a non-diet, intuitive-eating based approach to eating. Does this mean we ignore nutrition and what helps us feel our best? No. We constantly discuss this on our Instagram account and stories.
I studied under the authors of Intuitive Eating in grad school and have been working with chronic dieters my whole career. (Thank you Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole!) Judy has always promoted joyous mealtimes with her clients. No matter how you approach food, please remember that your children are learning about self-love, body acceptance and healthy food relationships from you. You have such an amazing opportunity to model self-love and self-care.
Here are some simple things to do right now to promote a good relationship with food:
Want more info? Check out the book Intuitive Eating by Tribole and Resch, and consider taking our Toddler Course. We talk all about this in the first few steps.
Coming home from vacation can be, as one of our followers called it, very “disorienting.” Ain’t that the truth! Get back on track - no, not in a “diety” or restrictive way, but in a self-care way - with some of these simple tips.
So many of us feel anxious about the return to our normal life after we’ve been on vacation. We face mile-high piles of laundry (and emails) and don’t always feel well physically because of changes to our normal eating, drinking and sleep routines. Maybe we are sad that a much-anticipated vacation is over, or perhaps the change of environment caused our precious little angels to turn into sleep-deprived, hangry tyrants. Vacations with kids aren’t always relaxing, but they can be joyous nonetheless - we just have to figure out how to manage the depressing after-vacation effects so we can smoothly integrate back into our normal, crazy lives. We hope some of these ideas help you integrate back into normal life!
Let kids be kids.
Dear WW (formerly Weight Watchers): a weight loss app for kids ages 8-17 does not “change health trajectories” for the better. It fuels eating disorders.
Please read this entire post to understand my experience with this app.
Megan here. I have been sick to my stomach this entire week since learning about the newest Kurbo by WW app. Many of you have asked us to address it.
The purpose of this app is for children (yes, CHILDREN) to enter their food and activity patterns and receive ratings on a stoplight system. Green are “go” foods that should be eaten freely; yellow foods are OK if consumed in moderate portions; red foods are “stop and think” foods. I downloaded the app and signed up for the coaching program to see what it was like. (My heart was pounding with anger and anxiety throughout the entire process, believe you me.)
I entered in my 6.5-year-old’s food intake for yesterday - view the images below to see how it rated and what my “coach” said in response. I did change her birth date to make her appear 8.
As a dietitian who believes that fat is important for a child’s brain, I was pretty appalled that butter and HUMMUS were considered red foods. You’re only “allowed” 3 red foods a day. The only “green” foods I could find were veggies and fruits (and skim milk, which my kids don’t happen to drink). Almost anything with fat or calories were at least yellow if not red. Yes, most breads or carbohydrate foods were red.
Let’s reiterate some statistics shared from Evelyn Tribole - co-author of Intuitive Eating - a few days ago:
Before you suggest that this is just “teaching kids to eat healthy”...I encourage you to think about the broad implications of this type of thinking. This doesn’t teach “healthy eating.” It teaches restricted eating. It teaches kids that some foods are good (but most are bad), as kids are very literal in their thinking. It sets kids up for a battle between their brain and growing bodies. It perpetuates disordered eating, thinking and behavior that may have lifelong implications in vulnerable populations.
Did you know that adolescent girls gain on average 40-50 lb during puberty, and boys gain 50-60 lb?** Even the AAP encourages parents and providers to not discuss a child’s weight in front of them.
This is not the solution.
I have a personal issue with WW, as I grew up in a WW home. I went to meetings with my mom - I was never on the program, but I witnessed it. I saw her get weighed in and felt her disappointment when she was no longer at “goal.” I ate all the “light” foods with her. (She was trying her best in a fat-phobic, diet-obsessed world and didn’t realize the impact it had on me - we’ve now talked about this a lot.)
By the time I was 14 I had very restricted eating patterns; I had a full-fledged (undiagnosed) eating disorder in college and grad school. I am devastated to think about how this app could cause similar harm in so many kids who have easier access to the “ww philosophies.”
So what can you do?
Here are some things you can do to help promote body positivity and a healthy food relationship in your child WITHOUT using a weight loss app:
Notice these last 2 images - the feedback on my daughter’s diet and one screenshot of the app asking what her goal is. “Weight loss” is obviously hard to see, but “make parents happy” is even worse.
Food is NOT points or red, yellow, or green lights.
**Studies were conducted on adolescents based on biological sex at birth and this in no way excludes transgendered adolescents from these effects.
You are worthy.
You are worthy of enjoying food, of finding joy in the eating process, of eating when your body - no matter what size it is - says it’s hungry! Your body size does not define your worthiness as a partner, as a parent, as a friend, as a human. Don’t let your life pass you by as you strive to be something, someone else. Yes, taking care of yourself and moving in a way that feels good to your body is important, but so many times we self-sabotage because we don’t feel like we are worthy of the same love we give to everyone else, including our kids whom we adore. You are worthy!
If you need help with this, please check out “Intuitive Eating" by Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole. I trained under Elyse in graduate school and the Intuitive Eating philosophy completely changed my life and the course of my career. This book is a complete game changer. Judy and I hope to teach you how to navigate food with your kids so they grow up seeing food as just food - delicious, enjoyable, and yet just food. Let’s break the cycle of chronic dieting, body bashing and shame surrounding food so our kids don’t have to struggle as well. If you're looking for a more step-by-step approach to this with your little ones, check out our Toddler Course.