I have to be honest, January has always been a tricky time to be in the healthcare industry, especially as a dietitian. While you might think it’s a boom in business as every other person seems to be making resolutions to lose weight, eat better or exercise more, the problem is that most plan to go about it in the wrong ways. Like many others in my field, I continue the arduous work of trying to reframe mindsets around dieting and help clients realize that the newest trend in diets (whether it be the keto-diet or the Whole30) won’t actually be the magical transformation they were hoping for, and that much to their chagrin, the advice they’ve heard for seemingly their whole lives is still the recommended way to go: balance & moderation.
This new year, however, I ask you to think about what your goals are for your CHILD’S nutrition and dietary behaviors. Do you want them to start eliminating entire food groups, obsessing over every calorie or “macro”, skipping meals, or even replacing them with liquid meals (ie: juices/shakes)? How would you feel if they decided to hit the gym first thing in the morning every morning and made sure to jump on a scale right after to track their results? Of course if your child is still quite young this may seem funny to imagine them doing anything even close to those things but what you might not realize is that they have been paying close attention to your actions since the day they were born. As a parent you become your child’s greatest role model in their most formative years, and as the saying goes “monkey see, monkey do” for better or worse. Research proves that a parent who frequently diets creates disordered eating behaviors in their children. In fact, you might even be able to think back to when you were a child and what your parent may have done in regards to their own restrictive intake or perhaps their choice of words about their own body image, and how it helped shape your perspectives about the same things.
So what should you do instead? Use this new year to create new ways of thinking about food and your relationship with food. Seek out a mental health professional that can help you work through some psychological ties with food, a registered dietitian well versed in the principles of Intuitive Eating, or even a parent coach to help you better understand the impact of your actions on your child’s behaviors via conscious parenting approach.
Whatever you do, dump the diet forever!
Want to learn more about how to be a better role model for your child by improving your relationship with food? Contact me [email protected] to set up a private session OR check out my workshop this month “Wisdom From Within: Feeding Your (inner) Child” cohosted by Maria Sanders Parent Coach on January 21st at 2:00 pm at Montclair Baby in Montclair NJ.