I went to Target this afternoon to buy some Easter goodies for my children. I was also buying some snacks for a meeting I am having at my house this afternoon. My cart was filled with a varied assortment of food, treats, and of course the chalk spray that I use to make bunny foot prints on our driveway each year. I think I am more aware of some of the things I see and hear because of what I do and the clients I work with; however, some days I am still taken back. Today was one of those days. I was on my final round through the store and on my way to the front, making every effort not to grab anything else. Another mom, likely around the same age as me, was hurrying to the same checkout isles. Her daughter was trailing behind as she hurried to the front. with her daughter trailing behind. As she was briskly walking to the front she kept telling her daughter, “No you cannot have those. They are bad for you.” Her daughter looked so confused. After all, she was only four, maybe five. “Please mommy, they are so good!” Her mom replied, “Yes, several things that tastes good are bad for us!”. It is in these moments that I think of the times people ask me why people are developing eating disorders at such a young age. Yes, there are multiple causes of eating disorders- genetic predisposition, biological, social, and environmental. Think of the conversations we have around our children. Are we saying things to lift them up? Are our comments creating that little voice in their heads that scream “you are not good enough!” I hope we can flood the airwaves with everything our youth need to hear to show them that they are good enough—as they are. Evidence has shown that half of young girls felt “too fat” to be “perfect” and young girls are dieting and alarming rates. Young boys are dieting and demonstrating disordered eating behaviors as well. Kids have the ability to self-regulate their intake. We disrupt this natural ability by instilling rules on food and weight. I teach my children that foods contain different nutrients that out bodies need and in order to do our best, we need to eat a varied diet. This means we get to have all foods in moderation. If you have any questions on how to best handle food in your family, contact me. I am happy to answer your questions.
Amy Helms, MS, RD, LD, CLT
Hi! I’m Amy, the founder of New Hope Counseling and Wellness Center, LLC. I’m an experienced dietitian and I believe in the power of human connection and self-compassion to foster growth and powerful transformation. I have dedicated my career to counseling, supervising, and teaching in the field of nutrition, body image, intuitive eating, eating disorders, and food allergies. Please reach out if I can support you on your journey.