October 2007

What do we say as mothers, when our daughters say: “I look fat!”

The F-word, I am calling it now. The dreaded F-word. Even if you have trained yourself to never ever utter those words in front of your longsuffering boyfriend or husband, or are still stuck in that place of discharging your anxiety and expecting to be reassured when they say back, (as they are trained, with an inward roll of their eyes: “Of course, you don’t look fat!”, when your daughter first utters those words, you will be at a loss. “What do I say?!” “How can I reassure her how beautiful she is and make sure she doesn’t develop an eating disorder?!” Anything you think to say feels like a trap. Reassurance feels like a temporary balm, just like when your husband in the rote way he may have developed by now says back: “Of course you don’t look fat, baby!” (Or, in the film, The Ya-Ya Sisterhood, the daughter says back to her Mom: “If anything, you look a bit too thin!” We can laugh about it amongst ourselves, but when our daughters start saying this, we really can be at a complete loss.
My tip: It is pure anxiety, and self-consciousness and some kids, like adults, are more self-conscious earlier on, and more anxious than others. Find a way to limit the comment, don’t fall into the trap of responding in any way, and see if you can target what they seem to be nervous about. Sometimes you just have to limit it, keep them moving forward. Don’t let them get stuck. That is how you will help them learn to deal with anxiety and not get into the trap. Of course, sometimes you also get sucked in, after all, we are certainly not perfect! Like I always say: Perfect is “for the most part”. Try for a bit more, and you will be surprised at what can happen.

“Do I Look Fat?”

The moment I found out that my first child was a girl, (after I fantasized about the cute clothing I would get to dress her in,) was: “What would raising a girl be like? What would I do differently, or the same as my Mom had done?” Thirteen years later (and two girls in addition later,) the issues that come up are endless, of course. I hear from moms with boys that they are different, not as complicated, not as emotional. So of course, the first day my oldest daughter said: “I look fat in these pants”! I was horrified. What was I supposed to say? What was I supposed to do? And here I am, the professional! I certainly don’t have all the answers, (some!) but I do want to start to hear from you guys out there: “What do you worry about?” Let’s start a forum on this important issue that many women, girls, fathers, boys, struggle with. How do you maintain a sense of humor about it all? Let’s face the new F-word, and I promise I will give you great tips and strategies in the coming months

Think Outside the Lunchbox

Tips on packing your kids’ school lunch:
1) Think smaller; half a sandwich, burrito
2) Edamame, chickpeas are additional protein sources if peanuts are not allowed in your school
3) Add a treat if your kid likes this; you don’t need them eating other kids’ treats if they want them!
4) Capitalize on ‘after school hunger’ by giving them food food, to avoid snacking non stop till dinner

Welcome to Real Food for Real Life

“Everything you Ever Wanted to Know About Your Kids and Food but Didn’t Know Who to Ask”
Here it is; The blog where nothing is too delicate to discuss: “The new F-word? Do you think your child is ‘Fat’ and what can you do about it?,” to “My husband has terrible eating habits, and we fight about how to teach our kids to eat!”

No topic will go uncovered. Everyone can join in the Q and A’s. We are all in this together. What parent doesn’t worry or wish that their child have good eating habits? What mom doesn’t ever have a thought passing in their head and a wish that her daughter’s figure be something that doesn’t give her ‘agida’?! (We moms don’t like to talk about these feelings!)

Here is the place. Real questions brought up; real issues, real answers. Real Food for Real Life. For now, visit my interview on http://newyork.urbanbaby.com/ub_daily/100207daily.html

See you soon!

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