Category Archives: food bytes

mom finds “diet list” in her 7-year-old daughter’s room.

You read that subject line right. According to this post on Mommyish, a mother found a heartbreaking “diet list”, complete with documentation of daily food intake and exercises, on the floor of her 7-year-old daughter’s bedroom.

I can’t even imagine.

It’s been a while since I’ve written about something like this. I’m grateful for that fact, truly, because any time I come across something like this every hope and dream I have about the world in which we live dies just a little bit more.

Sorry for the melodrama but here’s the deal — I have a kid now. Not that this wouldn’t have pissed me off a year ago, but it’s a little different now that I’m a parent. In a moment of fleeting amnesia, I forgot how terrible the world can be sometimes, so I decided to bring a little life into it. So I had a little boy. A little boy who will sit next to little girls in his classes at school. Girls he will talk to and possibly befriend. Or fall in love with. A little boy whose utterances about girls’ appearances could either be encouraging or incredibly damaging.

See, people? Now it’s personal.

Anyway — here’s a picture of the “diyet” list this poor mother found.

diet_list

If you read the article, you’ll find that the mother’s discovery of her 7-year-old’s diet plan sends her into a tailspin of parental questions, as I’m sure would be the case for any warm-blooded parent with a heartbeat and a brain stem — How did my daughter learn about diets? Did she hear this from me? Was it from someone at school? Was it something on TV? 

I’ve only been a parent for 7 and a half months, but I am already wracked with so much mom-guilt it’s not even funny. Guilt because I work full time. Guilt because my son once choked on a piece of carrot that somehow didn’t get pureed enough. Guilt because he’s teething and so nursing isn’t exactly his favorite thing at the moment. The idea that I’m hurting my child in any way causes me paralyzing grief each day; I can’t imagine the pain I’d feel in my gut if I ever knew that my child didn’t like himself and that feeling was somehow tied back to something I said or did.

The reality is that we do live in a broken world, one that puts so much emphasis on our outward appearance that it’s literally (in this case at least) destroying our youth. We can’t get away from airbrushed magazine covers or commercials for diet pills or anti-aging cream. But what we can control are the words that come out of our own mouths.

You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are beautiful. You are strong. You are capable. You are worth so much more than your skin color or weight or height or eye color or anything gives you credit for. 

Here’s the thing, though. I sincerely doubt this mother ever told her 7-year-old she needed to go on a diet. I also find it highly unlikely that this mother ever uttered anything to her daughter that might suggest she didn’t like her appearance at all. I’m sure this mom doted on her daughter every day like all of us would our own children. So what’s the disconnect?

While it’s extremely important to make sure we say these things to our children (both boys and girls) as well as our friends and family, we’ve got to start with us. The words we say to ourselves are just as important, if not more so. They’re not just heard by us; they’re heard by others. Especially, I’d argue, the littlest ones. The ones we wish couldn’t hear us the most.

What if she heard her mom complaining about her body? What if this woman (who, at this stage in life, is her daughter’s main example for womanhood) offhandedly commented on her lovehandles or something like we all tend to do? And what if this little girl just assumed that’s what life is like for a girl these days? To be unhappy with her body?

Furthermore, what if this little girl was a classmate of Dax’s? And what if she had no idea what a diet was, but when talking to Dax, learned I was on a diet.

“What’s a diet?” she might inquire.

“My mom says she has to eat less food because she’s fat,” he might respond, if he were to repeat anything I’ve ever said around him concerning my own body.

Let’s break this cycle. Let’s start with us. Let’s talk about ourselves positively and encourage others to do the same. Let’s tell our children they are the perfect creations they are. Let’s end this.

Now.

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check out that sweet bod.

I really love this graphic. I’d seen it before, but a friend posted it on my Facebook this week and reminded me of its existence. It says so much while saying so little — look at all these delicious fruits, whose shapes hold no bearing on how nutritious and yummy they are!

When I first saw this, that’s as far as my brain took it. But after seeing it again this week, I’ve since gotten a new perspective. Even food isn’t safe from being scrutinized for its appearance.

Much of the world’s food is thrown away for not “looking” appetizing enough. Grocery stores are chock full of genetically modified fruits that are designed to be bigger and better looking than their natural counterparts. We’re conditioned to think that because a fruit looks smaller or different from the “perfect”, blemish-free genetically modified foods, that they must be less fresh, less tasty, or less nutritious, while the reality is that the organic ones are actually better for you.

I don’t really need to draw the connection for you. I’m pretty sure you’re smart enough to do it yourself.

BRB, gonna go catch up with the tomato in my kitchen about how my mid-section is too squishy and ask it how it got so taut, while simultaneously offering it advice on how to reduce skin redness.

Peh.

 

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eat your heart out, girlfriend!

The days and weeks are all blurring together. I can’t remember the last time I wore real clothes or left the house. (Sunday? Was it Sunday? I think it was Sunday.) But each and every moment I spend with my little boy (even the screamy ones, though I have to admit, at a lesser extent) is precious. And hey, who cares, right? I have Netflix to keep me company.

EXCEPT WHEN THE INTERNET AT OUR APARTMENT DIES AND THEN I DON’T. [sobsobsob]

What did new moms do back in the 80s, huh? No Internet? No Netflix? HOW DID THEY SURVIVE?

The first time our Internet died (it’s been dodgy for the better part of a week) I was pretty cheerful about it. “OH! My baby loves to hear my voice,” I thought, “so I’ll read to him. Oh, and BONUS! I have to read all these ‘new mom’ books anyway so why don’t I read THOSE to him and kill two birds? MAN, I’M A GENIUS!”

So I picked up The Girlfriends’ Guide to Surviving the First Year of Motherhood by Vicki Iovine and started reading it to my newborn. I actually finished it in about two days. And bless my son, he was so entertained, even though I could tell he didn’t give two hoots about the subject matter. (I can hear his little thoughts now: “Breast pads? Post-natal incontinence? Mommy, why do I need to know about these things?”)

I really liked Iovine’s first book, The Girlfriends’ Guide to Pregnancyso when a friend of mine loaned me Iovine’s book on motherhood I was really excited to read it. For the most part, it did for me what Pregnancy did — told everything about motherhood to me straight, even the not-so-happy parts. I love Iovine’s “no nonsense” take on all the crazy bizarre things that happen to women during and after they gestate. I was all about to give The First Year of Motherhood my hearty approval until I came to a chapter entitled

I Want My Old Body Back!

Even though I’ve already made peace with the new body I have, I wouldn’t mind being able to wear my pre-pregnancy jeans again (mostly because I’m cheap and the thought of me buying new pants makes my wallet cry). So I read on. Because this book is written from the point of view of my “girlfriend”, I expected good ol’ Vicki to tell me, “Hey, girl, it’s okay. You’ll get your old body back naturally and healthily. No worries, girl. For now, focus on nourishing that babe!” Because that’s what I’d tell any of my girlfriends.

I’ve decided that, based on this chapter, Vicki is not my girlfriend. Check out some excerpts:

Eat Only One Meal a Day. Relax, I didn’t say eat once a day. In fact, I think you should eat several times a day, but only once should you sit down and tuck into those three-coursers that were so much fun during pregnancy…

To avoid feeling cranky and deprived, always include a food that my Scottish friends call “fuller”: you know, something that makes you feel full and satisfied. A light pasta, roasted potatoes, rice or a piece of bread are all good “fuller”.

At least once a week, make a big pot of soup to eat at those other times when your body thinks it needs another meal.

You know what that sounds like? That sounds like an eating disorder to me.

When I was knee-deep in disordered eating, those are the kinds of thoughts I’d have: “To avoid feeling deprived, I’ll do X. To trick my body into thinking it doesn’t need more food, I’ll do Y.”

WHAT?

You know what’s happening when your body “feels” deprived or “think it needs another meal”?

YOU ARE DEPRIVED AND PROBABLY SHOULD EAT ANOTHER MEAL.

For the past week or so, I haven’t been able to eat but one meal a day. Because my baby boy loves me so much (let’s go with that as the reason) he won’t let me put him down. So while Dan is away at work all day, I am literally doing nothing but holding, rocking, and nursing my baby. Even if he is as comatose as someone who is actually in a coma, the second I lay him in his bassinet he wakes up and screams bloody murder. Therefore, when my husband gets home, I practically throw our child at him so I can eat something.

You know what that’s done to me? Nothing good for my figure, that’s for sure. And what’s more, I believe it’s diminishing my milk supply.

At the end of the chapter, Iovine kind of comes back around to say that even though your body will never be the same again, the new you is a “better” you. But I feel like limiting myself to one meal a day is doing nothing to make me better. From what I can tell, it’s making me worse. I’m crankier, more tired (if that’s even possible), and my baby is feeling the effects at mealtime.

So tonight, Dan and I made an agreement that he couldn’t leave in the morning until I had a for real breakfast. Like, with protein and stuff. So that even if I have to wait until he gets home to eat again, at least I’m not starting out on E.

In related news, I’m still jiggly and boy do I WORK IT.

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things i love thursday! (april 26, 2012)

It’s hard to believe it’s only been a week. So much has happened. So many wonderful things. We are so blessed. On to this week’s list of love.

THINGS THAT MADE ME SMILE THIS WEEK:

  • Having a wonderful place to stay with friends we adore.
  • Being able to blog, thanks to a friend loaning me her laptop.
  • Chrissie’s bachelorette party! Yeah!
  • Sparkly shoes.
  • The rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.
  • Disposable cameras, and Gary’s use of them.
  • Finally getting Chrissie married off. What a gorgeous wedding!
  • Being able to hang out with good friends during said wedding.
  • Shirley Temples.
  • Hanging out with Stephen and Ashley finally. We’ve only been trying to do that for a year and a half.
  • Hearing my sweet little boy’s heartbeat this morning.
  • Walking around the neighborhood.
  • “Camping” with my husband.
  • Mocha frappes.
  • Sweet friends buying us dinner.
  • Brownies.
  • Seeing the kitties and Nikki and Chris!
  • Naps in my car.
  • Hanging out with my girlfriends.
  • Being prayed for.
  • Bible study shenanigans and birth analogies.
  • Baby Isaiah snuggles.
  • Chocolate (shocking, I know).
  • Being part of a wonderful, generous, supportive community.
  • Frozen yogurt.
  • Sleep.
  • Baby kicks.
  • Life.
  • God.

What do you love this week?

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beauty and torture.

The other day I was putting on make up in front of my husband. Usually I don’t do that because Dan hates when I wear makeup, so I like to keep up the guise that I don’t actually wear it by waiting until I’m alone to put on just a tad of concealer to cover my blemishes. But this time, we were both getting ready for an event we were going to together, so I had to lift the veil.

As I was taking the eyelash curler to my lids, I had some interesting thoughts to myself:

This kind of looks like a torture device. I wonder if Dan, or any other male who is unfamiliar with such an apparatus, thinks I’m torturing myself? 

Wait. As a matter of fact, curling my eyelashes IS pretty bizarre, whether it looks so or not. These little hairs aren’t even an inch long. Does anyone notice whether I use the curler or not? Come to think of it, if I catch my eyelid at just the WRONG angle, it absolutely IS torture! I’m torturing myself! Ah!

Why do we do such strange things to ourselves in the name of beauty?

Today I stumbled across something on the Internet that takes the torture-for-beauty cake (and doesn’t eat it, apparently):

Image via The Daily What

(From TDW) Disturbing Trend of the Day: In a last-gasp attempt to fit into the THE DRESS, desperate brides-to-be in the U.S. (like Jessica Schnaider, pictured) can now have a feeding tube inserted into their nose that provides a drip of liquid protein and fat (with no carbohydrates) through the esophagus into the stomach. The $1,500, 10-day treatment is effective: The tube delivers just 800 calories a day, and generally results in the loss of at least 10 percent of body weight — and perfect wedding pictures. But… ew?

This makes me so sad. And hurt. And angry. Mostly, though, it makes me want to put my two weeks’ notice in on life on this earth.

I think about all my close friends whom have gotten married recently. I think about my close friends who are talking about getting married soon. I think about my wedding almost three years ago. And my heart breaks into a thousand pieces just imagining any of them literally torturing themselves like this before the happiest day of their lives.

I never watch the show Mike & Molly, but last night it was on while Dan and I were doing chores. The subject matter of last night’s episode was Molly being on an unhealthy juice fast in order to drop several pounds in three weeks to fit into her wedding dress. Sigh. Granted, the moral of the episode was that what Molly was doing was turning her into a crazy person, not at all the person that Mike wanted to marry, but still — the mere fact that this was portrayed on television at all puts the idea into girls’ heads that you can’t possibly wear a wedding dress without obsessing over your weight first. And oh, ha ha ha, it’s a comedy, so let’s all laugh at how silly it is instead of talking about how serious and disturbing it is. Oh ha ha ha, CBS, you’re hilarious.

So how did we get here? How did we get from ha ha ha, silly sit coms about overweight people, to bloody feeding tubes?! Are you kidding me? When will the insanity stop?

Why, oh why, are we perpetuating this? Why are we continually sending out messages that this type of behavior is acceptable and normal? WAKE UP, WORLD. THIS ISN’T OKAY.

I have no more words to offer. Instead, here’s Internet phenom Jenna Marbles on diets, F words and all. Enjoy.

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actually hourglass-shaped.

When I first saw a picture of Romanian model Ioana Spangenberg, I thought to myself, Holy Photoshop, Batman! That has to be the WORST editing job I’ve ever seen!

But uh, I was surprised to find out that this isn’t Photoshop. This is what Ioana actually looks like.

Now, I’m not one to be a policeman and regulate others’ bodies. That’s how I got diagnosed with an eating disorder in the first place and I know how exhausting it can be to defend your natural, God-given appearance. So, I’m really struggling with the fact that Ioana is claiming she is naturally built this way and — on top of that — eats three big meals a day!

I’m having a hard time buying this. Ioana HAS been informed that a head of lettuce does not count as a “big meal” right? I mean, I can see how that could make things confusing for her. All I’m saying is that if I were eating three big heads of lettuce a day, I might look like that, too.

What do you think: do you buy it?

Click here to read more about Ioana and see her, like, walk around and stuff.

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fighting childhood obesity without fighting children.

A couple months ago, a good friend of mine and mother of three emailed me about childhood obesity. She’s passionate on the subject (as it should be) but is concerned about keeping her kids healthy, in shape, and making smart choices about food in a way that doesn’t encourage disordered eating in the future. (By the way, as someone who plans on having children at some point, this notion TERRIFIES me to death. If I do ANYTHING that breaks my kids to the point of disordered eating, I probably will never forgive myself. I’m even hesitant to tell them about my struggles lest they give them any ideas.)

This subject is a touchy one so I’ve done my best to avoid writing on it until now. But this afternoon, this article popped up in my Google reader about children and diets. I guess it’s time.

The first time I was ever displeased with my body was when I was eight years old. Eight. Not eighteen. Eight. A child. I distinctly remember standing in the bathroom and looking at my body from the side and being angry that my stomach poked out. (Imagine a child’s body. That’s exactly the way an eight-year-old should look.) Then, I resolved that once I got boobs, my body wouldn’t look so bad. So I looked forward to developing boobs. Then, I got boobs. And my ballet teachers made me hate them. And I wanted to starve them away and look like an eight year old again.

Sigh.

As a person who spent the better part of her childhood obsessed with not being fat, I can’t accurately articulate my feelings on the subject. While I absolutely hate the idea of any child being put on a diet (do NOT get me started on this) the obesity epidemic in America, particularly when it comes to children, is something that I think shouldn’t be ignored.

So. The question is, then, how do we encourage our children to make healthy decisions about food and exercise without scaring them into destructive behavior like eating disorders?

I’m no expert. I have no degree on this subject and I have no children. But. Here’s how I’m going to try to address it in the future.

1. replacing negative comments with positive ones.

The entire focus of the diet industry is to deconstruct and violently remove parts of ourselves. Seriously. “Shrink your belly!” “Melt your thighs!” “Burn more fat!” There’s nothing that sounds positive about any of that. It’s laborious, damaging, and scary. By the same token, using negative words about our bodies in front of or (God forbid) to our children has the same effect. We should never say to our children, “Don’t eat that X because it’s fattening and bad,” or, “Make sure to get outside and play so you don’t get fat.” Rather, we should say, “Make sure you do eat all your veggies so you will become big and strong,” or “Playing outside is so good for you because it keeps your body strong!” If working in marketing has taught me anything, it’s that your message is 90% spin.

2. practicing what i preach.

People say that children are sponges — they absorb everything adults do, retain it, and eventually leak it out on their own. I completely agree with this, but I disagree with the idea that it goes away when we grow up. Personally, I don’t think I ever stopped being a sponge. I’m always watching people and sometimes (unfortunately) emulating them. If our kids see us complain about our bodies or use negative language toward food, they’re going to do it. Period. I can’t pinpoint the reason that I thought my eight year old belly stuck out too far, but I can only assume that it’s probably because I heard someone else say that about themselves.

3. focusing on what we can do, not what we look like.

This, I think, is the biggest miss of our entire society. We focus so much on what we look like and hardly at all on what we can do. (My biggest pet peeve concerning this, for instance, is the body ideal of having a completely bone-thin body with giant boobs and a round butt. Sorry, but this isn’t anatomically possible. Yet, our society demands it of us women, because all we seem to be worth is how easy we are on the eyes.) By putting the focus on what we can do — our talents, our passions, our gifts, our strengths — we put value in the things that, despite the passage of time, will not change. I think this is crucial to raising happy, healthy children.

4. not a diet — but a way of life.

Diets don’t work. They don’t. If you can’t sustain a behavior for the rest of your life, it’s not going to help you. Sure, cutting out carbs helps you lose weight for a minute; but once you eat a bagel again (and you will, I promise) you’ll gain it all back and then some. Committing to a healthy lifestyle — choosing healthy foods, eating “unhealthy” foods in moderation, being active, and training your mind to think positively — is the way to go. I am making a vow, here and now on my blog, to never, ever, EVER, say the words, “I need to go on a diet” in front of my kids. I may say, “I need to eat more fruits and vegetables,” or “I should keep my sugar intake to a minimum,” or some variant of those, but I will NEVER say, “I need to go on a diet.” Everything inside me would cringe if I heard my kids say that and so, per number 2 and 3, I will never say it myself.

And there you have it. It’s a bit rough, and may be tweaked a bit once I actually have kids. But there it is.

What about you? Do you have kids? If so, how have you encouraged health in your house?

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