Fat and Sassy

my views on being larger than life.

Biggest Fear January 19, 2010

So I am driving my kids in the car to go out to eat for a birthday dinner with their grandparents.   And the youngest daughter, the one most like me, pops up with “I think I eat too much…I’m going to try to be less hungry”  and my heart just broke….my biggest fear is I will somehow “give” my eating disorder to my daughters.   Even though i am step mom (their mother passed   over 3 years ago now.)  I love them like my own.  (for those that belive in the supernatural, i have dreampt about them since i was 12, but i digress again as usual)  I try VERY hard to cook balanced meals, not talk about good food bad food and try to help them look at food as fuel for your body…we need various food groups like your car need fluids or it wont run right.  At the same time i teach them to cook, to bake, to love food and life.

We tried hard to explain that she needs to eat and drink so her body can grow big and strong….. but now I worry….I’ve know her since she was 3…..she has always LOVED seafood and veggies…in fact at buffets she often just eats sliced tomatoes, seeds, cheese, and strawberries, happy as a clam.   But with that comment i find myself worried more and more….is she restricting?  or just enjoying the foods she loves?  do i force her to eat the meat and such that is the “main course” with dinner?  (our usual rule is as many bites as your age of veggies, fruit and protein)  She also has a bad gag reflex and will start to choke and puke a little when she’s upset (smells and tastes will also set her off).     At what point is that bulimia?  She has the other “triggers” for and ED too….a need to be perfect….childhood trama…..a crushing need to feel accepted.  Already when she messes up, she will run away and call herself stupid.   I try to tell her we have to make mistakes to learn but i don’t know if she hears me.  

Kids being the curious buggers that they are have caught me in a few ED freakout moments, so I sat down and explained as best  as I could how some people are fat and some people are thin, and how the people that sell diet stuff try to make you feel bad to sell the diet stuff.   They are starting to read, so we look at the tiny print on the diet commercials.  “mommy it says average weight loss 5 lbs total, thats not as much as the girl in the ad.”  But how do you explain bulimia and EVERYTHING that comes with it to a 6 and a 7 yr old without making them question their body, their self-worth?  How do you armor a child that , due to her genetics (her mom was 200+ her dad is over 300 lb) has a pretty good chance of being overweight?  (and do it without damaging her self-worth)

I honestly stay up at night worrying about stuff like this, and cry for a world where i have to worry about getting a 6-year-old ready for a life of being fat, of loving yourself in the face of pressure to diet because you are never, ever good enough.


3 Responses to “Biggest Fear”

  1. CTJen Says:

    My heart is breaking for you. I wish I knew what to say. ((HUGS))

  2. Miriam Heddy Says:

    Children hear everything–all of our internalized conflict over our bodies. They hear, “”overweight” and it’s not unreasonable to wonder over *what* weight? “Balanced meals”–as opposed to unbalanced? Is there something wrong with any given meal? (Personally, given that I have kids who sometimes decide on white food only, I try to focus on a week’s worth of food rather than any one meal being representative of all or most food groups). As for the notion of fuel, it’s a messy metaphor, since it’s mechanical, and not quite true in that cars don’t get fat even if they do come in lots of sizes (and kids are generally too young to understand fuel economy).

    Kids test out and try on language they hear from the media and people in their lives, and it’s impossible for them not to hear messages that say that *everyone* (unless they are actually starving to death) eats too much and should be less hungry.

    Pushing at that and asking, “Why” and giving them a chance to try to articulate their reasoning and that gives *you* a chance to answer it–to offer a rational counter-message and give them a chance to see that what they’re hearing is sort of silly. We’re as hungry as we are hungry. We can’t actually try to make ourselves less hungry (except by eating) without making ourselves very sick. And why would we want to do that?

    That said, I have 3 kids of my own, and I sometimes also feel that overwhelming sense of exhaustion at all the garbage messages I have to counter every day.

  3. bri Says:

    Maybe a HAES oriented nutritionist or a HAES friendly counsellor would be able to help you work through some of this stuff? The HAES site or the ASDAH org might be able to help you find someone… (ASDAH is Assoc for Size Diversity and Health). I am a member as I am a HAES friendly and FA oriented counsellor but seeing as I am in Australia I am not able to be much help to you by way of referrals etc.

    Oh and *hugs* I really feel for you, going through this stuff is hard and when you have your own triggers, it is even harder.

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