Parenting is SO HARD. Feeding a kid can be SO HARD! My own children were quite honestly often a mystery to me. I struggled with breastfeeding my first and my second one fed quite naturally. My first ate all foods well and my second was more interested in play than eating. Just when I thought I had it figured out they started to go through puberty. The first barely had a growth spurt and turned out shorter than the rest of the family and my second decided to delay puberty beyond the norm, stop growing for a couple years, and then shoot up past me and my other daughter when I had finally given up hope on anything happening. Who knew? Meanwhile their bodies took on shapes all their own. They both had times when they were rounder and times when they were thinner. What worked for feeding one had no effect on the other and vice versa. I spend a great deal of time worrying about both. I did my best to feed them well; although sometimes that meant frozen dinners or take out.
To make it worse our society has decided that we can control the size of our children. What? If you think about it: it is quite laughable. Did I order one daughter to be 5’3” and the other 5”7”: of course not. So do you think I could control either one to weigh their so called “ideal” weights: of course not. I did everything I could to help them with healthy eating but that is no guarantee. Yet society continues this craziness. Who says I am a better mother (or father) if my child is the “right” size. Who says they are a better person if they are the “right” size? I’m here to tell you it is B* S#$!
I have worked with many parents of children who are trying very hard to get information and support their child in healthy eating and this is what I want to say:
You are awesome
You are doing your best
Take a deep breath – what size your child is says nothing about how awesome they are as a person or how successful you are as a parent
People come in all shapes and sizes
If you find yourself overwhelmed with fear and anxiety about how your child is eating and don’t know what to do I think talking to a dietitian is great. But I want you to also add self-love. How can you support yourself? How can you accept yourself and your child just as you are – right now? Do you need to search for body positive messages and pictures? Do you need to talk with a supportive friend? Do you need to journal or take a walk to get some quiet alone time to process your thoughts and work through some stress? Working on eating and food can be difficult – very difficult – and quite emotional. Any positive changes you make will take time and patience and there is no guaranteed result. Working on healthy eating and healthy living is an wonderful goal and I support you.
But please remember how awesome you and your child are while you do this very hard work.
Sending you love.
Sarah Gold, MS, RD, LDN
Dietitian and intuitive eating counselor
Sarah Gold is an intuitive eater, dietitian, chocolate lover, and dog lover,