Posted tagged ‘anorexia’

‘You’re fine just the way you are’ & other gifts from Mom

April 16, 2012
on mother's day, the best thing a mother can do for a daughter is to accept her, as she is, without offering improvements and criticism about body image. Anorexia, bulimia and other eating disorders affect tweens, teens, children, teenagers and adolescents.

The four girls in 1961. Do you like the bobbles on my hat?

One of the most precious gifts my mother gave me and my three sisters was this simple statement: “You’re fine just how you are.” She shopped with me for size 11-and-a-half shoes, 36DD bras, and shirts with extra long sleeves to fit my generous frame. NEVER did she comment or show any negative body language towards my solid foundation, curves and useful long arms.

When my three sisters or I complained about a less-than-perfect body part, Mom shrugged it off, emphasized good posture, Stomach in, head up, shoulder back, and of course, looked us straight in the eye and said in a kind sincere voice, “You’re just fine the way you are.” She convinced me that I am indeed, just fine the way I am.

body image and anorexia, bulimia and other body-issues plague girls and women today. mothers on Mother's Day can do well to say, YOu're just fine the way you are. MOther-daughter relationships can be built on a solid foundation of acceptance. we are not barbie dolls

Mom with her four daughters. I'm the youngest, bottom right.

I still feel fine, and found a man named Bob who thinks my extra-large curves, feet and arms are just fine. After carrying three 10-pound babies, (and one 8 pounds 11 ounces) stretch marks covered my belly. Bob calls those marks of motherhood fire because they emanate from my pubis and resemble a fire, the fire of life. Bob’s and Mom’s total acceptance of me bring tears to my eyes.Apparently, I’m lucky. My son Ian and other young people warn me, “Most young women have body issues.” He’s right. Eating disorders are epidemic among girls, teens and young adults.

Contrast the total acceptance Mom gave us with the blog post below about a Brazilian woman’s experience about her body image copied from Bullying Stories on wordpress.

[This is the second in a series of Mother’s Day blogs because mothers deserve a month’s worth of posting.]

I am 30 years old. Born and raised in Brazil, I lived there for 24 years. Growing up in a house with 3 sisters and being the only “chubby” one, it’s not so hard to imagine the “verbal” bullying I had to endure. … It came from adults for the most part and it was targeted, recurrent and persistent. …According to them, I was chubby, short, my forehead was too big, my face was too round, my hair was too thin, my breasts were too big, etc…In addition, I’d have them compare me and my so-called “flaws” to my sisters/relatives. That was extremely unfair since we’re all very different both physically and personality wise. Needless to say, such comparisons always ended with them determining or hinting my “disadvantaged” position. When I would go buy clothes, I’d always have what they said in mind: “you can’t wear this, you have to wear that.”
 
Years went by and I took extreme/unhealthy measures to lose weight (think throwing up and drinking hot water and soap). I got thinner indeed but the bullying never stopped completely. It was extremely detrimental to my emotional development and well-being. It affected the way I conducted all my personal interactions. For a long time, I even forced myself to avoid any possibility of having real relationships with boys. I’ve met a few and even though they were nice to me I simply could not believe that we could have a normal, healthy relationship. I would always question myself: ” why would they want to date me? That can’t be serious.”
~Luzia

See her whole post at Bullying Stories on wordpress.

The writing on this poster made by the Body Shop to raise money to eradicate violence against women reads, "There are 3 billion women who don't look like supermodels and only 8 who do." Mattel sued The Body Shop and forced them to stop selling this poster.
The writing on this poster  made by the Body Shop to raise money to eradicate violence against women,  “There are 3 billion women who don’t look like supermodels and only 8 who do ” incited Mattel to sue The Body Shop to stop selling this poster.
 
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Power-sharing can defuse conflict in families

March 26, 2012
tweens, teens, school age, toddlers and preschoolers all need the experience of feeling powerful. Parents must learn to share power through "family meetings" "encouragement' and "mutual respect" as well as natural and  logical consequences. Power balance is important. Use chores for positive power. Avoid power struggles. there are no winners or losers, only competetitors.

Giving kids a little leeway can go a long way to make peace at home. Instead of scolding my kids for being on top of our van, I got out the camera. Children develop personal power when they can take risks, have fun and occasionally break the rules in life.

Here are some excerpts from a letter from a mother in Ireland who read my book and implemented many of the practices and an attitude of mutual respect. I added emphasis.

“Eating was a particular problem for my daughter. She is 9 years old and tiny. I, too, was a small child. Some days she did not eat enough and was hungry and angry. This was a huge worry because she is really into fashion and her paternal grandmother is depressed.

“I realize now that I was bullying my daughter and not eating my food was the only way she had of showing me her power. …She is enjoying her food without need for any further intervention. …

“I asked her early on after reading your book “Which is better, to be loved, or to be loved and needed?”

“She answered that it is better to be loved and needed. She enjoys the chores and we have bonded in a new way while cleaning the bathroom. I do the toilet and she does the bath and sink. I admire her work and she enjoys working with me.

“If I had been thinking about it until doomsday, it would never have occurred to me that this is how my daughter wanted to spend time with me. Your book gave me the idea of helping and my husband has used this stunt since then to get the kids working. They have clean bath and sink on their chore list from the meeting and when we work with them it makes it into a prestige job.

“I don’t know why it works, but it does. Prestige jobs and doing something unique to you are some of the best points in your book, I think.”

This letter blew me away because it connects the lack of personal power — a core issue around anorexia, and how to create personal power through chores. We are such flock animals, that we seek prestige any way possible, including by cleaning the toilet.

I hated sharing power with my kids. I wanted to do it MY WAY!  I didn’t like backing down from power struggles and feeling like I lost. I learned to quit showing up on the battlefield and occasionally let kids climb on the van with the hose. Some parents go to the opposite extreme and kids live on top of the van with the hose. This is too much power.

Find a happy medium to share power through mutual respect, trust a child to make decisions, listen to them during family meetings, do family chores together, and use encouragement.

Investing the time and attention in this will bring results. Parenting is not cheap or easy. It is worth the effort because it’s good for everyone.

Now is the time for mindful eating

November 23, 2009

With five brothers and three sisters, I learned to act quickly when good food was available. We always had enough to eat, but the first time I saw leftovers on meat was when I visited my husband’s family at age 22.

My mother advised my ever-hungry brothers, “Have some bread and gravy, a peanut butter sandwich or a can of soup if you’re still hungry.”

They taught me to have a good offense when snacks and desserts were served. Luckily, I followed my brothers and sisters outside to play in the yard, so the grab-and-stuff eating habits didn’t make me obese.

Back then, parents encouraged their children to walk to school and play outside, so I worked off the second desserts and potato chips. High fructose corn syrup wasn’t yet on the food pyramid.

With childhood obesity predicted to skyrocket to one-in-five obese children by 2010, parents must take preventative action.

Mindful eating is the practice of eating slowly, paying attention to the scent, sensation and taste of what you are chewing and swallowing.

Mindful eating means remembering the people who grew, harvested, transported, sold and prepared the food. When we remember the effort behind food, it’s harder to waste it.

Try this exercise to eat more mindfully with your family, borrowed from the Unitarian Universalist Winter 2009 magazine.

www.sarahdbelle.wordpress.com, childhood obesity, family wellness, family fitness, children healthy eating habits, teens, anorexia, teenage girls, healthy body image, moderation, mindful eating, thanksgiving day, celebrate food

This photo is from a fellow blogger, http://www.sarahdbelle.wordpress.com. Sarah writes about food and her struggle with anorexia.

1. choose two fruits or vegetables that everyone in the family can eat, for example, strawberries and carrots. Have enough for everyone to eat one of each.

2. Wash the produce, slice and arrange them artfully on two serving plates, one for strawberries, one for carrots.

3. Pass the strawberries. Invite each person to take one and slowly, quietly chew it. “Take your time. Chew throughly and deliberately, to fully experience the texture and flavor. Imagine the earth, the sun, the water and the air that nurtured the strawberry. Taste the sunlight in the strawberry.”

4. Next, pass the tray of carrots and say the same thing for the carrots.

5. Share a moment of silence.

6. Talk about what it was like to each simple foods together, silently. What did you learn about eating? About strawberries? About carrots?

7. What would it be like to eat a whole meal in mindful silence? Could you do it? Why or why not?

Enjoy a happy and mindful Thanksgiving Day dinner with your family.