How we eat, what we eat, when we eat… when did it become so overwhelming? Why do we find ourselves analyzing every ingredient, depriving, forbidding, and stressing ourselves out to a point where we lose focus of the true purpose of food? You try this diet, eliminate this ingredient, forbid a certain food group entirely, and find yourself going down a rabbit hole of information. This year a certain diet is all the rage, next month another food group is horrible for you, sugar is the devil, then the information you have been relying on and base your grocery shopping on… changes. Completely. You’re on your next mission and change this, eliminate that, read this, stop that, feel guilty because you ate that, are scolded because something is being marketed as bad for you, and the rabbit hole just gets deeper and deeper. Technically, we eat to survive, to have energy, to increase our immune system, and to allow our bodies to function at their highest level. When did it get so stressful?
Friday’s “Megyn Kelly TODAY” was an interesting topic to me not only because I am a Health Coach, but I’m also a mom and a real person. Just because I’m a Health Coach doesn’t mean I don’t read, watch, listen or become affected by all the information that is out there. It’s overwhelming, can be incorrect, may not work for your unique body, and it can actually create stress, obsession, and affect how your children view food in their lives.
Megyn Kelly had Ramani Durvasula, author of “You Are Why You Eat.”, on this segment and they talked about the topic of Orthorexia. Which is the obsession with eating foods that one considers healthy (Google Dictionary). Notice the words “that one CONSIDERS healthy.” There is no blanket definition of what “healthy” means for every human being. Ramani discussed how anything can become unhealthy or dangerous when it creates an obsession. I agree with her 100%. I found myself in this obsession when I became a Health Coach.
And especially when I became a mother.
Every ingredient was Googled. I read healthy mom blogs. Followed other health coaches on social media and read the articles they’d attach about all the foods that are bad for us. I had special instructions for the nanny. More like a 4-page print out. For my mother. For my husband. Absolutely no juice. No processed foods EVER! Sugar was evil. My hormones were affected by any grain that I put in my body. Dairy is the most disgusting thing you can put in your body. I have more rules but even I can’t stand to read them. My rules were charged up wherever I seemed to go. My chiropractor’s office. A talk I would attend. My curriculum. Newsletters I subscribed to. A documentary I would watch. I was being fueled and at the same time I was obsessing and stressing out big time.
I just want to say, because this can get a bit touchy, that I’m not talking about people out there that have legitimate allergies, autoimmune disorders, food intolerances, or illnesses where certain foods trigger symptoms. I am not one of these people so this post is not focusing on this special audience.
What I am focusing on is avoiding, or getting out of the trap, where food is taking over your life. Is it interrupting your ability to enjoy life and the world around you? Do you find shame in eating certain foods? Do you realize how this can affect your children? We are the leaders, role models, and the inspiration to our children and how they view the foods that are around them. With all the outside influences they have, and will continue to have, how are we as parents paying attention to the signs and modeling a healthy mindset about food?
When I noticed I was being taken over by all the influences around me, when I realized I was giving others anxiety about what to feed my daughter, when I had so much guilt over 3 bites of a dessert, when I saw how I analyzed every ounce of food that was put into my mouth (and my daughter’s!), I knew I had to make a change. For both me and for my family. Here are some tips that Ramani Durvasula had on “Megyn Kelly TODAY” that I agree with and have been doing in our home:
- Don’t demonize foods or create food shame. Your child will not only judge themselves, but it will also create an unhealthy relationship with food.
- Be a gatekeeper instead, it’s about what you present to them and teaching them a healthy relationship with food.
- Teach them how to regulate. Talk about variety of foods instead of “bad” food or shaming food. Too much off anything, even if it’s “healthy”, isn’t good.
- Avoid sentences like “In this house, we don’t eat sugar.” Because they will have sugar in their life. At a birthday. A special occasion. Someone else’s house. The key here is balancing the treats with foods that fuel their bodies.
- Eating the same. Everyone eats the same way, dinners are as a family, & no separate meals should be the focus the majority of the time.
- Eating together as a family as much as possible.
- Share food prep.
- Share meal planning.
- Model healthy eating- “Do as I do, not as I say.”
- Open the conversation and teach them how to look at the imagery around. them in the world- social media, magazines, movies, & peer conversations.
- Trust your child to know their body & trust their body.
For more on this segment, you can watch the segment and read about it here: Watch Here!
You can get your copy of “You Are Why You Eat.” Here: Buy Here!
It’s all about learning, growing, and paying attention to what brings us joy & happiness. This is very specific to you as an individual. If you don’t find stress in eating healthy and the choices your family makes, that’s FANTASTIC. Keep going with it! We all need to step back, pause, and reflect on what makes our lives the best possible.