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serenity in feeding

Posted by on Jun 14, 2010 in Blog Posts | 9 comments

Well, summer camp has started, I’m on day two of antibiotics for strep (3rd time in 2 years-any adults out there had their tonsils out? I’m a little nervous…) so I need a little serenity. This is something I’ve been mulling around for awhile, though probably not the most original.

Feeding kids can feel crazy, from their irrational food preferences that change by the minute, to the societal pressures moms feel to do everything “right” (have a kid who happily eats all fruits and veggies, has impeccable manners, has a BMI between the 25 th and 50th% if she’s a girl and between the 75 and 100th % if he’s a boy…)

But, there are things with good feeding that we can and can’t control. Feeding with the Division of Responsibility is a leap of faith. It’s countercultural so you often won’t get support from your family or friends, it goes against every media story or cultural norm to suggest that children can be trusted to eat a balance of good foods, get nutritional variety and eat the right amounts of foods, IF we do our jobs with feeding.

So here’s my serenity prayer for feeding…

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change
  • my child’s genetic weight (may be high or low, can be healthy)
  • my child’s temperament
  • my temperament
  • my feeding history
  • my dieting or eating disorder history
  • finances? kitchen set-up?
courage to change the things I can
  • feeding without pressure
  • being reliable about family meals and structure
  • offering a variety of foods
  • my attitude about my body
  • my attitude about others’ bodies
  • my cooking skills
  • my “picky” eating
  • focus on healthy behaviors, not numbers on the scale

and wisdom to know the difference

(Knowing the difference is the key! This is where I hope to spread the word…)

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    9 Comments

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    1. familyfeedingdynamics

      Thanks for sharing, and good luck, Glad you're moving back in the right direction. It's all a learning opportunity isn't it? I say the same about kids. They will sometimes eat "too much." If we let them, they will learn how that feels. Without pressure, with curiosity, kids need to be allowed to "overeat" or not eat enough sometimes so they learn to tune in and manage appetite and food. I once made M wait for dinner a bit too long a few years ago as we had company. Then, dinner was her all-time fave. She ate a TON and threw up. I felt horrible, but we were learning. She was learning too. I tried to change my thinking that we were both learning. She hasn't done it since. (I used to throw up on my birthday for about 3 years in a row bc I overate all the treats and goodies…) Hang in there!

    2. Kate

      The damage I was referring to is about 95% emotional and 5% physical because I've been finding myself not eating enough and exercising too much, falling back into radical dieting behavior. My body has revolted, so I won't be exercising too much anytime soon.

      The emotional damage is from the negative self talk, but I'm definitely making positive strides.

    3. familyfeedingdynamics

      Kate,
      what progress that you are able to step back and observe. Good for you! I wonder what you mean by "damage?" Be kind with yourself on your journey. Being the patient is a whole nother thing! M said, "Mommy, you're a doctor, you know how to fix it!" Um, quite a different matter as the patient! I tend to be very conservative, so this is not easy…

    4. Kate

      This came at just the right time for me. Life has been very stressful lately and I find myself falling back into my very destructive diet behaviors and thoughts. I'm glad I've come far enough that I was able to take a step back and objectively see what I was doing to myself and hopefully address the behavior before too much damage was done.

      I look forward to reading about EDs and feeding children.

      As for the tonsils, I've not had them out as an adult, but I will say, if you get it done, don't rush your recuperation, it takes as long as it takes. (I probably don't need to tell you that since you're a doctor.)

    5. familyfeedingdynamics

      Wow, you really just made my day, no, my week. Thank you so much for writing. I am so happy that you are finding some peace with this. It is a process isn't it? I am impressed that you are working so hard to feed your children well. They are a great motivator aren't they? I hope you find help with your struggles as well. I will write more about EDs and feeding children. I imagine it is a complex mix of triggering and potential for healing? Keep me posted!

    6. erylin

      thanks for your blog….i have been bulimic for 18 years now (wow thats more than half my life) that i STILL struggle with…i would be fine when skinnier but the min my wide, 6 foot 3 frame (i have the bone structure of a line backer…all shoulder and hips…gogo german pesant stock mixed with native american.)

      I am scared to DEATH of passing on my ed to my kids…and your easy intro to the family eating question has me making healthier choices and feeling far more at ease with what my kids eat….i have learned to quit freaking out when one child refuses to eat nothing but meat and potatoes (she obviously needed the fuel…she shot up 2 inches in the following week…and went back to normal eating after the growth spurt)

      …and to see their rythms as natural….i have healthy food available for snack times and cook balanced meals….

      thank you for taking the great fear around food and the family that i had.

    7. Grace R. Freedman

      Great advice and perspective! Take care of yourself.

    8. Michelle

      Had my tonsils out at 26. Small issue a few days after surgery and had to go to the ER to be re- cauterized, but otherwise, no issues at all. (Before having them out, I was on antibiotics for almost three months straight for strep.) Ate a lot of popsicles…

    9. Siobhan Wolf

      Thank you, Kaja, for the reminders and tips for healthy feeding! I love this one.