In part 1 of this series you explored and learned that you needed and deserved a do-over when it comes to your child’s food relationships.
In part 2 you learned you learned about the issues it can cause when we grow up not knowing how to tune in to our
In this last part of the series we will dive into some action steps you can take to get started on your very own do-over.
The first step you will take is shifting your mindset. I’m hoping that if you’ve read this far in the series you’ve already started this process (if you skipped right to this one, you’ll want to go back and read the first two, start here). Your mindset needs to be in the zone of relinquishing control over the food your child puts in their mouth, how much food they eat, and when they are hungry.
I know. That feels scary. And a little like you’re giving up being a parent.
But I don’t mean you let the inmates run the asylum.
You can give up your need to control these things without backing off entirely. For example, you can work with your child (age appropriate of course) to create a list of foods they enjoy eating. Then when you plan and prepare meals, be sure to include plenty of food you know they will eat, alongside new foods you’d like them to try.
You release control over what they choose out of those foods and let them put their food on their plate (or help them as appropriate, but they are the ones who decide what is chosen out of the available foods). In this manner you do not have to become a short order cook.
In this same manner, you allow them to determine when they are full and want to be done eating.
The next step has two parts. Overall you will be taking your mindset shift and putting it where your mouth is.
Part one involves using words and phrases directly with your child that indicates your belief in their ability to tune in to their own body signals.
You can do this by asking them questions like:
What food sounds good for supper tonight?
What is your tummy telling you right now?
How do you know when you’re hungry?
And part two involves using words indirectly. Your child will hear and pick up on everything. Nobody knows this better than you. So be aware and cautious of your word choices (as well as your actions) around them.
If they hear and see you limiting yourself from certain foods, they will follow suit (or rebel and eat those foods in secret, which will lead to feelings of shame and guilt). If they see you commenting about your body size or shape and wanting to shrink it, they will get the message there is something wrong with them too if they are or just feel overweight themselves.
On the other hand, when they hear you speaking out loud about how you’re hungry for a piece of toast with peanut butter and a little honey…and then they see you eating that and stopping when you’re full (whether that’s after half a piece and you throw away the uneaten galgo or whether it’s after two full pieces), they will follow suit. No resulting guilt or shame.
When they see you wearing clothes that you feel good in and you have fun and enjoy yourself with confidence, they will follow suit.
Speak these truths out loud so they learn (or relearn) how to speak to themselves. Yes, I do mean you need to be saying things like, “I really like how good I’m feeling today.” Or, “I’m looking forward to the fun we’re going to have at the pool party.” Speaking these kinds of thoughts out loud will demonstrate positivity and that normal conversation and thoughts don’t have to revolve around shame. In speaking with moms and kids, it’s a common thing for the unspoken thoughts to be negative and focused on wishing they were different. This is why I believe so strongly in including this action step in your process of shifting towards a more intuitive way of eating.
I also offer free curiosity calls if you’re ready to chat with me about how we might work together to help you continue to develop your intuitive eating muscle, and you can book one of those calls here.