My colleague Donna Fish is a social worker who specializes in eating disorders and helping parents foster healthy eating habits and healthy body attitudes in their children.
Her blog Real Food for Real Life is well worth a visit.
She’s graciously allowed me to republish one of her articles — Eat Like a Kid.
Just yesterday I was giving a talk at a New York City school, and the room was filled with caring parents who all wanted to make sure that they were doing their best to ensure that their children could have the best eating habits possible.
At one point, a mom raised a question that brought me to the goal I always have in my work with not just kids, but also adults: To be able to “Eat Like a Kid”.
Now when I say that, I don’t mean only that you eat candy, or chips, and don’t ever feel any of the aftermath that we struggle with in adulthood, like hmmm, bloating? (Anyone see Jamie Curtis in the film where she is suddenly in her daughter’s body and she’s eating fries like crazy and saying: “Hey, no bloating!”)
In any case, what I do mean, is what all those books on Intuitive, or Mindful Eating refer to, and have as their goals; to basically Eat When You’re Hungry, and Stop When You’re Full.
Hey, not so easy, right?
From a fairly young age, we get a bit sidetracked from our body’s basic signals and our head starts to override those messages. We “think” ourselves out of those signals.
A couple of things that can deride our connection to our body:
1) An idea that you need to lose weight and therefore, need to limit particular foods from your diet
2) Someone else or messages from the media that lead you to believe that certain foods are going to be ‘bad’ for you this or that particular year, and they are foods you love.
Basically, in a nutshell, beginning to think that you need to eat in a way that is different than what is your habit, and/or intuitive.
So, this does not mean that you have to ignore some of these realities, but rather that they need to be re-thought.
1) Make sure that your approach to eating is realistic and that do-able.
2) Be mindful of your tendencies; Do you wait till you are starving, or tend to repetitively eat till you are totally full all the time? Experiment with eating earlier, sooner, rather than later, to stave off emergency hunger, (which leads to stuffing), and play around with eating less, but reminding yourself that you can have more later
3) Even though you might believe that some foods have control over you vs. you control over them, pick one or two to experiment with: Have access to them at all times, keep them with you in your hand and decide:
Do You need this now, or can you Wait, 15 minutes, 30 minutes, one hour, maybe tomorrow, certainly the next day. Don’t cut yourself off of the food thinking that you CAN’T have it.
These are tips to find your way back to an eating style, that can incorporate some realities that are necessary, but perhaps can free you up to Eat Like a Kid!
Deepen Your Body of Knowledge
Donna Fish’s book Take the Fight Out of Food