Teach Them To Eat In Peace!!
Linda Wechter-Ashkin PhD NCSP BC-TMHC ADHD CCSP
Food has always been very important to our family. As child Sunday dinners were a highlight of the week. I loved walking into my grandma’s house during the winter months and smelling the veal cutlets frying. When the summer came, we would stay outside and barbeque and to this day even though I am a vegetarian the smell of a coal burning barbeque brings tears to my eyes. When Dave and I met we spent our weekends searching for the best potato skins and it was nothing for us to drive hours for the perfect conquest. When the kids were young, we spent countless hours in the kitchen trying out recipes, some that were successful and some not so much. As they got older, I loved when they would both come over with friends and we would all cook a meal together or have a contest to see who could make the best dessert or pizza. Food has always meant joy to me. It’s always been so much less about what I ate than who I ate it with.
Despite the joy food has brought me I have also struggled with it. I became anorexic for a while exercising 2 hours each day and limiting myself to one meal and half of a portion of whatever was put in front of me no matter what the size of it was. I remember in one restaurant looking at my plate that contained 2 very small potato skins and wanting to cry but still throwing half away. When I was pregnant, I remember the struggle of having to make myself eat 3 meals. When the kids were young, especially Rikki I was so afraid that they weren’t eating enough that I definitely became obsessed with what they ate. To this day I have forbidden foods and forbidden times to eat specific foods that I still struggle with.
If I’m being transparent, I worry about the body dysmorphia I displayed to my children, especially my daughter. I think about how many times I stood in front of a mirror with her there, complaining about how fat my 110-pound body looked in some outfit I had purchased. I think about how many meals she saw me skip and the self-depreciating words I often spoke about myself after eating too many carbs. Honestly, I didn’t think about it until much later. I never food shamed her, and I always told her she was beautiful. But how could she truly my words about her when she heard my words about myself. I have apologized and I’ve been forgiven but that doesn’t change anything really. I wasn’t a bad mom, just one that needed to take time to face her own food battles so as not to spread them to the next generation. Too late for me, but maybe not for you. If you find yourself in a constant food fight it’s time to do something about it. Not only for you but for every little girl you come across. When we know better, we do better, but we need the tools to do better. Help is out there. We can help.