Talk the Talk: Listen to Your Body

If you are just joining us for learning how to Talk the Talk, here is the main idea:

We can’t scold, nag, guilt, or beat our families into healthy submission. It won’t work. A little dialogue will do wonders for getting your crew on board.

Dialogue isn’t about one awkward lecture. It is about using natural events in your family routine to point out how eating right makes a difference, for good or bad.

In a previous post we talked about using the talking point, “Food is Fuel. It has helped me teach basic nutrition and feeding concepts to Big P and Middle E. It’s cool to see Big P turn down a lollipop without any helicopter-mommy-pressure because “it’s not good fuel.” Of course pure sugar is fuel – just not premium grade (or nutrient dense.)

Start with these two talking points:

Here’s a bit more about the second talking point, “Listen to Your Body.” I used this line constantly when teaching my boys to use the toilet. Please laugh. It was such a great ally in teaching them to respond to that feeling.

Here’s how it works with food:

This talking point helps create more self- awareness for their body.  They learn to pay attention to hunger cues and stop eating when they are satisfied not stuffed. It also works well when reminding kids to drink water.

Our culture supports eating at literally every event and venue. It can cause us to eat just to eat and not because we are hungry. At home we sometimes dish out food and expect them to eat all of it. If they don’t – they fear losing out on dessert or worse, the guilt of hurting Mom’s feelings. It can easily turn into a battle of wills. Let’s remove guilt and pressure from the table. According to Registered Dietician and Blogger, Maryann Tomovich Jacobsen, children go through several growth spurts and are good at self-regulating how much food they need.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • When your child hasn’t touched their plate, gently ask, “What is your body telling you? Are you full? Or would you like to try some?” Be happy with one bite.
  • If your children are old enough to successfully wield a spoon, serve your meal ‘family style.’ Let your children serve themselves. You can ask a few times through the meal, “How do you feel?”
  • If your child mentions they are thirsty, you can reply, “Oh, you’re thirsty. That’s just your body telling you it needs water.”

Recently Big P was lying across two chairs, clearly uncomfortable. He explained to me, “I ate too much watermelon!” This was a great moment for us to talk about slowing down a bit and listening to… you guessed it…his body.

Why do these talking points work? They are easy to remember and they are excellent reminders for both moms and kids.

Good Luck! Keep the Don’t Panic Mom Community posted on your progress!

Want to read more about pressuring kids to eat? You’ll like this post over at Jill Castle’s Blog, Just the Right Byte.

Want to read more about picky eaters and how growth spurts alter kids’ eating patterns? You’ll enjoy this post by Maryann Tomovich Jacobsen over at Raising Healthy Eaters.