I love to work with fellow moms, helping them to choose healthy habits over restrictions every day. I feel it’s a really important part of my job, and here’s why.
Every time we look in the mirror and say, “I need to work out more before I can eat the cake”, and our children walk behind us, they see that. Every time we put on some makeup to make ourselves appear different in the world, our children see this too. They learn these behaviours from a very young age and become conditioned to see and believe that they need to alter their appearance in some way to show up in the world.
I’m not laying this out to make you feel guilty or upset in any way; I simply want to show you how you can change this path for your children, by doing the work and unlearning the diet rules and the appearance rules.
When you relearn things in a way that’s much more aligned to how you feel, operate, and present yourself to the world, that will bring you true contentment and happiness. It means that you can do the things you really enjoy doing and you can give these things the energy they deserve. Most importantly, you’re doing that for your children.
Let’s take a look at the small steps you can take today to implement these positive changes.
Watch the video below or continue reading below:
The power of positive self-talk
It’s no great secret that negative self-talk can cause us stress and give us anxiety. It stems from self-doubt; those horrible feelings we can’t quite ignore. On the other end of the spectrum, speaking to ourselves in a positive way really encourages us to be more confident and more effective in how we cope with things. It empowers us to celebrate our achievements and to attain that feeling of overall wellness.
Is your self-talk helpful for you? Is it lifting you up or is it pulling you down? If it’s pulling you down, will it ultimately pull other people around you down too? These are the questions you need to ask yourself to identify if this area needs work.
Let’s think about those times when we think, “I don’t look good in this”, or “I better work out tomorrow to make up for this”. Is this the kind of dialogue you want your children to be privy to? We’re the gatekeepers of our children’s health and we are the ones who can change the path for them. If they see a struggle, they learn to struggle.
I believe that part of the reason some of us try to protect our children is because we don’t want them to experience the negative self-talk that we’ve experienced. The only way for that to happen is for you to stop and do the work; to learn how to change that voice inside, so you can speak to yourself with more kindness and show yourself more compassion. You need to begin living your life just for what it is – living life. It’s not about appearance or maintaining fancy ideals surrounding how you look or how you behave. It’s about living your life in a way that’s right for you, that’s meaningful for you.
The power of intuitive eating
The next step is to share the intuitive eating principles with you.
What has this got to do with supporting your child? Well, intuitive eating is as powerful as positive self-talk when it comes to the influence it can have on how your child views and feels about food.
The intuitive eating model is extremely supportive, as it encourages you to eat according to your real values and your real feelings. It allows you to honour your own health over societal demands and ideas. It’s not just about eating to hunger and fullness and saying no to diet culture, it’s about allowing all foods back into your diet.
But let me be very clear and very real here; intuitive eating involves you changing 100 per cent. There is no escaping it.
One of the biggest fears I had, when I went on my own journey, was that I would change, I would be a different person, and that fear of change and of the unknown kept me stuck for a long time. So, there’s no doubt about it – you will change, and you may not do so in the way you think you want to, but you will change in a way that feels good for you and for your body.
The importance of community and group support
What I’ve found of late, is that the more confident I’ve become in talking about this way of eating and this way of being around food, the more nods I get at the table. The more people I get sharing with me their own journey and their own struggles with food.
I find that really reassuring, because as a community when we all collectively realise together that we’ve had a struggle, it’s easier to process it. That’s what the intuitive eating model really brings – a sense of community. It draws us together, as a group of people who’ve had similar experiences with our relationship with food.
If you can do that for yourself, if you can find that group of people to talk to, you will create a vital support system that will help to keep you on track during this period of change. It’s not about finding a setting where you have to go and put yourself on a weighing scales every week and feel bad if you’ve gained weight or not lost weight; or you might feel great for a moment when you have lost weight, until you think about all the stuff you’ve had to give up that week and the hardship it took to lose that weight. Is that a community? Is that really the community you want, or do you want to find a group of people who will build you up and make you feel like the glorious human that you are?
The importance of intuitive eating to your health and wellbeing
At its core, intuitive eating is about honouring your health. By learning to nourish and nurture yourself beyond the food you put in your mouth, you create your own version of health and wellbeing. That means you don’t have to stick to the rigid rules, and that hardship I mentioned doesn’t happen as much.
You learn to speak to yourself with much more kindness and compassion as you begin to let go of all the rules. To me, intuitive eating is primarily about being real to yourself. It’s about working on accepting your body, accepting yourself, and accepting the life that you are living. This doesn’t mean that you can’t change it for the better, it simply allows you to accept it first, and then to become aware of that acceptance.
The intuitive eating model teaches us that emotional eating is normal. We also learn that choosing a salad today is completely normal and choosing a Snickers tomorrow is normal. Choosing a burger today and deciding to have a vegetarian curry tomorrow is normal.
Isn’t that what we want for our children?
I encourage you, as their mom and the gatekeeper to their health, to think about this: could you invest in yourself enough so that the positive effects would ripple out not only to your children, but to the other children in their circle? Every individual has the power to create that change, that movement, that wave that brings all of us together in this lovely community of people, who don’t think about what they should and shouldn’t eat anymore.
So, what do you want to do? Do you want to teach your kids to eat broccoli because it’s got vitamin B in it, or do you want to teach your kids to self-regulate how they eat; to understand how to process their emotions and to be aware of themselves and that negative voice within? Do you want them to learn how to speak back to that voice with compassion and kindness? Are these the kinds of things you’re interested in learning, for you and for your children?
Don’t play the blame game
“Don’t blame yourself for not knowing what you didn’t learn before you got the chance to learn it.” This is a wonderful phrase I heard some time back, and I wanted to share it with you.
When you go on a journey of altering how you eat, there’s a lot of blame, shame, guilt, and fear that comes with the territory. This is because we tell ourselves we should have known this or that. The reality, however, is that what feels so simple in terms of eating towards hunger and fullness, and remembering satisfaction in the middle, is actually a very tricky process to master because of all the noise that has come in around us.
But it’s never too late to block out all of that noise and stop previous misinformed habits in the process. If you can find it in your heart to say, “It’s okay, I’m not blaming myself for not knowing this and I’m curious about how I can change”, this is a gift you can give to yourself. It’s also a gift you can give to other people around you, especially your children.
The fact that you have mustered the strength and courage to face up to something that brings up those feelings of fear, shame and guilt, will be so inspiring for your kids.
There’s no shame in having done this. There’s no shame in having been caught up in diet rules. There’s no guilt in overeating. These are all feelings we have because we’ve been conditioned to feel this way and we’ve been told we should have these feelings. And yet, when we didn’t know any better, how could we have done any different?
Intuitive eating – this concept of eating to hunger and fullness – has so many layers to it.
To explore its importance further and to allow others to experience its benefits, I want to create a community of women looking to embark on a journey of defining their health according to what it means for them. That’s you; I want to create it for you, according to what it means for you.
I want this community to be populated by strong women, who are willing to put in the work and to let go of the fear and the unknown. I want these women to have the courage to ask themselves deeply personal questions:
- Could I have a better way of being with my body?
- Could I be more neutral about how I feel about my body?
- Could I be more accepting of the fat that I have?
- Could I be more accepting of my ‘thinness’?
- Could I, perhaps, have no feelings about it in any way?
My goal is to create a wonderful space for you, so that you get the guidance and support necessary to do this work, and to do it with other people, because together you will build the energy to change.
I want you to work on acceptance and neutrality around your body and the food you eat, while also focusing on mindfulness, heartfelt peace, tranquillity, and having fun. The process will see you consistently working towards feeling more peaceful, giving yourself permission to free up the space in your mind that’s occupied by what you should and shouldn’t eat. Free it up, let it go, and let’s bring something else in. Your children will thank you for it.
If you’d like to find out more about my program, sign up here. I’d love to hear from you!