Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Don't forget to sign your permission slip

Thanksgiving Field Trip Permission Slip

____Your name here____ has permission to enjoy and find pleasure during Thanksgiving planning, preparation, and food consumption. I, the undersigned, recognize many of these foods are not commonly available nor do I usually eat around the other event participants. In the event of a potential emergency and I am unable to eat according to my personal body hunger/fullness cues, the individual action in response to the emergency will be held blameless. I hereby give myself permission to not dwell on this nor allow myself to feel guilt. I will trust that my body will work out this kink by sending less hunger cues in the next few days or so as long as I do not mess with this system.

Your Signature                                                       

I hope you enjoy all the parts to your Thanksgiving.
Take care,

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

When an airbrush is a cement mixer

What do these have in common?
  • Thanksgiving without turkey (or Tofurky)
  • Disliking chocolate and peanut butter together
  • Fruit for dessert
  • Air brushing human bodies to make them inhuman
Check out this link.

The term air brush sounds so fluffy and harmless. This Photoshop disaster on the cover of W exposes the intentional scaring from altering photographs. We know (read: rationalize) this is done to all celebrity photos and finished products appear harmless and beautiful. The images end up looking like no one ever messed with them making changes seem acceptable.

Finding the W oversight transitions my brain to believe altering images is not normal rather it is perverse. Perverse just like a turkey-less Thanksgiving and shunning Reece Cups.

Instead of referring to it as air brushing, we need to say we are sending the images to the cement mixer. Something as harmless as sand, rock, water and air can be combined to create something permanent, rigid and pervasive. Sounds familiar.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thank you, my pooch.

Having a baby changes everything:
  • I still haven't slept for more than 5 hours straight
  • I can't manage to watch TV without doing 3 other things at the same time
  • my husband and I communicate more via text and IM than live
  • and now I have a pooch.
Prior to my pregnancy my DNA had provided me a cultural privilege gifting me a body type that fit in with the thin ideal. I never dieted and always did physical activity for fun or challenge and not to change my shape. My way included considering what my body needed and I trusted my body’s mechanism to maintain its heath. I never felt tempted to diet or exercise to change my shape...until the birth of my daughter.

The first few days after giving birth, I had a floppy belly and it freaked me out. I still had a pregnant-like stomach only now it was more like a birthday balloon skimming the floor the day after. A few weeks later it transitioned into a more common pooch. Although common I felt like I stuck out like a sore thumb.

Giving birth gifted me a change to my shape that looked different from that thin ideal. Faced with the difference as well as the social pressure to get back to my pre-pregnancy shape exposed my brain to different messages. Maybe it is time to start eating less? Or exercising more? Maybe my intuitive eating approach is not going to work for me now? These thoughts led to new experiences including taking way too long at the yogurt section at the grocery store (real yogurt or the low calorie saw dust version?) and sucked into the check out line’s diet messages on the magazine covers. I noticed my brain being seduced by the diet culture which was really me being seduced to an old life that was tamer, balanced, and filled with abundant self care.

Getting into this trap took my attention away from something important: this droopy sagging stomach was the vessel that created the most amazing human I have ever met. It protected my daughter for 40 weeks and looked over as she went from a few cells to a person with a brain, heart, and ovaries with my future grandchildren safely inside. It is truly a reminder of my body’s power.

I feel lucky I noticed my negative self talk before I started dieting and stopped trusting my body. This awareness allowed me to start reframing the negative body image approach to something more accurate.

Old self talk: Stomach, you look so way I am getting into a bikini...can others notice the roll over my pants...why? why?

New self talk: Thank you my pooch. You have given me the greatest gift and please know you did a wonderful job in holding her during her creation. Every time I notice you, I am reminded of my gratitude.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Sour Cream = A Good Meal

"The parent chooses the time to eat, the food choices,
and the feeding environment.
The child chooses how much to eat, if at all."
The Division of Food Responsibility by Ellyn Satter

In the beginning, it was so easy to trust my daughter's eating competence. When feeding her rice cereal or yogurt, I found myself relishing in Satter's theory and confidently ending the meal after she had 1 spoonful or 2 cups...when she let me know the meal was over, it was. No questions asked.

Then, things got interesting.

Fast forward a few months and we were introducing cookies and crackers which are two of her favorites. Still, whenever I offered these foods, I sat back and watched her enjoy them. I didn't doubt the process one bit.

One simple afternoon, I prepared our lunch: burritos with black beans, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, and sour cream. I rolled myself a burrito and gave her a bowl with all the ingredients inside (at 18 months she's not too good at holding burritos yet). She dutifully inspected her choices. With a furrowed brow she clutched her spoon in one hand and dipped her other hand in each food item. Historically, she has enjoyed beans and cheese so I assumed she would dive into those. Nope. She took one lick of each and communicated "yuck!" or "bleeeech" to each. I didn't think this was such a big deal considering maybe she just wasn't hungry. Nope.

Her hand slid into the sour cream and she studied her slimy hand. After considering the feeling, she took a lick. "Mmmmmmmmm!" Suddenly, she seemed to zero in on the sour cream and with much gusto finished up the glop I gave her.

After she finished, she let me know she wanted more sour cream. I dutifully gave her more which she immediately finished off and asked for more. Then more again. And again.

That's when the process got a little tough to trust. How can I let my beautiful baby JUST eat sour cream? Will she ever stop? Will she only want sour cream from now on? Maybe I should insist she try some black beans? Or cheese? Or maybe I could break out some crackers?

My monkey mind considered the options and stopped when I took a deep breath in. I remember the research by LL Birch that has found preschoolers' food choices have much variability from day to day yet even out in calories, macronutrients and micronutrients when averaged out over a week. Her research also finds if we mess with a child's intake by putting limitations on them or making some foods forbidden this system goes berserk. The more parents mess with it, the more kids learn to distrust hunger and eat past fullness.

I thank LL Birch for her research while recollecting my daughter's intrigue with the sour cream. It was one meal, one day, one week. She eventually DID stop eating. The next day's lunch included grilled cheese and tomatoes...and she only wanted the tomatoes.

The sour cream and tomatoes remind me my daughter came into this world fully prepared to survive on food. As long as I don't mess with the system. Or her sour cream.
Header Image from Bangbouh @ Flickr