(145) Can I eat intuitively and help my child with a diet restriction? (with Kathryn Riner)

Many on their Food Peace™ journey find it tough to raise children because of the pressure to limit certain foods or focus on weight. Even tougher when a child is placed on a restrictive diet or given a recommendation to avoid certain foods or food groups. Can you relate? How did this effect your Food Peace journey? Listen to the latest Love Food episode podcast that examines this part of the journey with special guest Kathryn Riner.

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This episode is brought to you by my courses: PCOS and Food Peace and Dietitians PCOS and Food Peace. You CAN make peace with food even with PCOS and I want to show you how. Get 30% off using the coupon code ‘lovefood’ at check out through the month of February 2019.

thirdwheelED is a social media advocacy platform that raises awareness of eating disorders in LGBTQ+ communities. Started by a queer couple whose writing addresses the intersectionality of eating disorders and body image, including gender dysphoria; a queer identity; trauma; and gender identity and expression, CJ and OJ provide a dual perspective of eating disorder recovery through the lens of a nonbinary person in recovery and of a nontraditional family carer, who just happens to also be a registered dietitian! CJ and OJ would love to work with eating disorder professionals on cultivating inclusive treatment for eating disorders in LGBTQ+ communities and are available to discuss training, webinars, and speaking engagements. You can follow them on instagram, facebook, and twitter @thirdwheeled or email them at info@thirdwheeled.com.

This episode’s Dear Food letter:

Dear Food, 

You and I have had our ups and our downs.  When I was younger I avoided you.  When I was older, I feared you.  Yet, I could never quite get over you.  You helped me connect with my children through baking and cooking.  Covered with flour in the kitchen, we created some of my favorite memories.  Then I would swear you off and eat ‘diet’ versions of you, leaving my children confused and looking for an answer.
I realized that something was wrong when my 7 year old twin girls started measuring themselves.  They would tell me proudly how they had said no to the pizza at the cafeteria and had only eaten the small salad for lunch.  I had never talked to them about you, food, but they caught on quickly.  I felt awful.  I didn’t want my children to go through the same confusion and disappointment that I felt.  This led me to my journey to finding my own peace with you, food.
After discovering intuitive eating and ellyn satter’s books about a year ago, our family has practiced the principles as we eat together each day.  We have learned how to reconnect with both nutritious and fun versions of you.  I have felt so much peace when I’ve see them eat a cookie with enthusiasm, and then reach for bell peppers with that same enjoyment.  The obsessions with weight are gone for both me and my children.  I thought we had it all figured out!
Then we hit a roadblock with you, food.  My 6 year old son was diagnosed with PANDAS, an autoimmune disorder.  He has an infection in his brain, and his body is confusing his own brain tissue for the infection itself.  After an ineffective round of antibiotics, his doctor is pushing us to go on a ‘no sugar diet’, so there is nothing to feed the infection.  This means no sugar and very limited fruits and carbohydrates.  The diet could last for months or even years.
I am happy to do anything I can to see my son be healthy again.  But I am concerned, food.  I am worried that by throwing good and bad labels into our families food vocabulary, we will undo all of our hard work. I am worried that even after my son is healthy, he will still have a fear of these versions of you.  I am worried that he will start sneaking you at friends houses or at school and end up eating more sugar than he is now (which isn’t a lot).
Yet, I am also worried that if I let him choose, he will never get better.  I have always been good at being extreme with you, food.  It seems easier just to ban everything that might be hurting him.
When I brought up these concerns with our doctor, he just seemed confused.  He said that if I have the discipline to make an extreme change, that could only be helpful to my son.
The holiday season is here and it is time to make a decision.  Is there a way to eat intuitively and follow these dietary restrictions?  If we leave weight out of it, is it still a diet?  I just want to make life a little more simple for my children than it was for me.
Scared and Hopeful

Show Notes:

Do you have a complicated relationship with food? I want to help! Send your Dear Food letter to LoveFoodPodcast@gmail.com. 

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Helping Your Large Child Thrive in a Fat-Phobic World

This post was originally posted on Mom Dishes It Out where I am a proud contributor. To see the original post please click here: Helping Your Large Child Thrive in a Fat-Phobic World

Source: Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity
Source: Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity


As a parent of a larger child, the difficult challenge is the voice inside my head telling me that I am doing something wrong. It’s telling me I am ‘letting’ her get fat and not doing something about it.  —Jennifer, mom

We live in a world where fat bodies are discriminated against, bullied, and considered unacceptable. What if your child is larger than what society deems ok? It is important for you to teach your large child how to respect his or her body since our society will not. You will be your child’s advocate for healthy ways of experiencing food, exercise, and body image. Where do you start?

Unconditional Acceptance

Let your child know through your words and actions you accept him or her unconditionally.  If your child comes to you upset about his/her large body, let your child know you love them as he/she is, that you love them no matter what and no matter what size. Do not suggest a diet or exercising together.  If you were to do so, the suggestion sets up a condition. It says, “No, you are not ok as you are. I will help you change.”

Meals and Snacks

Set up regular meal and snack times so your child knows when food will be served. Older children and teens may start to feel ashamed of eating enough in public. They may restrict themselves to low-calorie foods when eating with friends. This way of eating is often referred to as “eating for show.” It means that even though…To be redirected to the original post please click here: Helping Your Large Child Thrive in a Fat-Phobic World