Bringing It Down to the Earth

Posts tagged ‘Soul-Full Parenting’

How Can I Put My Child on a Diet Program Without Making Her Feel Self-Concious?

Question: My daughter is 5 years old and weighs 72 lbs. I dont want her to have a weight problem when she gets older. Is it wrong for me to put her on a diet and excercise program?

Maureen’s Answer:

You asked, “Is it wrong to put her on a diet and exercise program?” I feel the more effective question to ask yourself here is what feels “right” or “wrong” to you. And I‘d like you to consider that question with something very important in mind. On the deepest level there really is no right or wrong, only moving closer to love (feels right!) or further away from love (feels “wrong” – i.e. -unpeaceful, disconnected, empty, or bad). It’s really feeling a lack of love that so often compels people to overeat, in an unconscious effort to fill the void.

So if I am interpreting your real question correctly, you are asking, “How can I best help my daughter to feel, happy, accepted, safe, cared for, and loved?” Well, that doesn’t have to be a some-day-in-the-future experience for her (or you!), and you certainly don’t need to diet your way there! You can offer feelings of deep fulfillment to her right now—or with her next meal.

Share with your daughter the most effective “diet” there is, the only one that can bring the truest, most easily shared and enjoyable experience: “Eat with love, what’s grown with love, prepared with love and served with love.” Simple ’eh? All you have to do is ask yourself, “Is this food a symbol of my love?” If so, offer it joyously.

Do you realize that your daughter sees you as the most amazing, powerful, beautiful being on the planet? Therefore, whatever you see in her, she subconsciously desires to become. To all children, parents are the authority—they feel we know best. What a powerful opportunity that presents for you. See only her perfection, her beauty and—most importantly—her strength and unique individuality, and then just step back and watch! Believe me, you won’t feel fear for her well-being any longer. The only reason any of us parents are ever overly concerned for the well-being of our children is if we mistrust ourselves! While all the while, we hold within us such wisdom—because the gift that comes along with parenthood is the wisdom of love. It sounds to me like you just forgot how to access your own truest mother-lovin’ wisdom for a brief moment in time. (Fear does that to us, by the way.)

There is a way for you to discern whether or not your consideration of putting your daughter on a diet is fear-based or love-based. Here’s how: just sit still for a moment, and completely divorce yourself from the “good” or “bad” opinions of other people. Now, consider the same question you asked me, imagining that you and your daughter exist in a vacuum of sorts—there’s no one else on the planet to judge either one of you. There’s only, you, your daughter and love. Now you tell me, do you need to do anything… let alone put your daughter on a diet!? It’s the fear (most often of both the good or bad opinions of other people) that begets the emptiness that leads to guilt and excess weight. Show her she’s unconditionally loved, just as she already loves you! What beautiful mirrors you’ll be to one another then. Just relax and love yourself for being such a caring, amazing mother who now realizes it’s only the love that fulfills us all—it’s our deepest craving and at the very same time, who we really are! And then just enjoy her—and every meal you have the grace to share together—she’s perfect and so are you!

If you feel it may be healthy for your daughter to spend more time exercising, you can simply encourage her to spend more time outside. Children have a natural curiosity and playfulness, so there’s no need for a “diet or exercise program.” Just find out what sports and games she’s naturally interested in. It could be that a tap dance class, a place on the soccer team, or a friendly game of tag with the neighbors is all your daughter needs to spark a more active lifestyle.

For more from Soul-Full Eating: A (Delicious!) Path to Higher Consciousness visit eatwithsoul.com

Should I Make My Daughter Finish All of the Food on Her Plate?

Question: My two-year-old daughter often sits with us at the table and eats—usually. My question is, should I have her eat if she doesn’t want to? Should I force her to try new foods? Should I make her sit there until her plate is clean or until she’s eaten two bites of peas? If she asks to leave the table before her father and I are finished eating, do I let her?

Maureen‘s Answer:

As you may know, the theme of Soul-Full Eating is: “Eat with love, what’s grown with love, prepared with love and served with love.”

I feel that across the board, this simple statement is the answer to all kinds of struggles that adults have with food. But it’s important that as adults we ask ourselves, when do most food struggles begin? The answer is often in childhood. Many of us grew up in households where it was expected that we “clean our plates” before we could be excused from the table. Let’s get more specific to your questions now… to an inquisitive, on-the-go two-year-old this can be a torturous experience. Often, before the adults at the dining table have finished two mouthfuls of their food, a two year old will declare, “I’m done.” That’s because they’re genuinely satiated with one or two bites themselves and are now ready to move on to “more interesting things.”

So I’d like you to ask yourself, if you’re asking an “expert” how to feed your own child… maybe at some point you were led to believe that other people’s opinions and feelings are more valid and important than your own. The only question I believe you need to ask here—to yourself!—is, “what feels most loving to me now?” How can you best show my daughter that she is completely loved—even at the dinner table?

By the way, my sister-in-law still speaks about how traumatized she was by having to sit at the dining room table long after every one of her siblings was excused, until she ate those last three cold and wilting peas. As she relates it, as a child she rebelled and tried to assert her autonomy for hours and hours saying, “I don’t like peas!.” Unfortunately she’d eventually break and eat them—her dad was a military Colonel at the time, so he knew how to win a battle! But, at what cost?

We never crave food as much as we crave love. And you can teach your children self-love via eating food. Yes! Offer them good, wholesome, healthy choices—plenty of them—this will spark their creativity and feelings of empowerment as they can make their own choices and feel your love as they do so.

If you find that, as an adult, you are unsure if you are in a battle with food yourself, here’s an excerpted exercise from Soul-Full Eating, that’s often very revelatory for my readers. Try it and let me know what you find out. And remember, it’s through conscious parenting that we often discover the spontaneous, joyous, oh-so-loveable “lost child” in ourselves.

SOMETHING TO CHEW ON
Spend five minutes meditating on or writing about the following questions: When you were young, were you given praise for finishing every last bite on your plate? Were you ever coerced into eating even after you felt full by being told about the starving children in other parts of the world or about how others suffered and sacrificed to provide you with your meal?

If so, then it’s likely that guilt has been coloring your world when it comes to eating—guilt for not eating enough, or guilt for eating too much. We are all born with an internal comfort-seeking mechanism—the Soul—The “Voice” of sanity. However, for many of us, it’s been layered over, smothered and silenced by the guilt inherent in our fear-based conditioning.

SOUL-FULL EXERCISE #1
Just for one day, do only what you genuinely love to do. Can you do that? Lucky you, if you don’t have to put a hold on everything and completely rearrange your entire life to do this. That means you are already being True to your Soul!
But if you do have to do a bit of finagling of time and space in order to allow your authentic-self to emerge, that’s still fine. Why? Because now you can see that you really do deserve to love yourself more. Once you do this once, there may be no turning back!
Eating what you really don’t love, without love, is just one small symptom of a greater picture of denying your brilliance and self-worth.

Coconut Water: Better than Any Sports Drink

Question: What is the healthiest thing for my eight-year-old son to eat and drink before playing sports?

Maureen’s Answer:

Word hasn’t really hit the mainstream yet, but more and more people are discovering a truly wonderful source for the five essential electrolytes that help athletes perform at peak levels—not in manufactured sports drinks, but in coconut water! Tropical residents have known the benefits of drinking coconut water for a very long time. Because they work, play and live active lives in a hot, humid climate, they perspire often—and just as athletes, they must re-hydrate their bodies often to maintain optimum health.

Coconut water is a refreshing, tasty, and electrolyte-replacing beverage that—in my opinion—far surpasses every artificial sports drink. Coconut water contains no artificial sweeteners or added sugars. It’s not colored or artificially flavored and it’s fat and cholesterol free. But of most important concern to athletes, is that it’s an excellent source of the five essential electrolytes: potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and sodium—all delivered in nature’s perfect balance.

You can purchase whole Thai Baby Coconuts in oriental markets and in some natural foods stores, such as Whole Foods. These are not the little round brown coconuts—those are more mature and typically contain more coconut meat than water. Thai baby coconuts are found in the refrigerated sections of stores and they typically have the white husk still around the coconut shell.

These whole coconuts require some skill and tools to open, so although fresh, live coconuts are the best tasting, you can now purchase cartons (individual serving sized; or larger, 34 FL. Oz. sized cartons) that are convenient, easy to chill and drink from at any location—like sports fields! If you don’t have an oriental food store or natural food store nearby. Ask the grocers in your local supermarket to order some for you. Who knows, you may start a new trend for the folks in your neighborhood—and promote a winning (well-hydrated) team!

Two brands of coconut water that I particularly like are: Vita Coco and O.N.E. – here’s a link where you can find them on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/search?ie=UTF8&keywords=Vita%20Coco&tag=swoggle5776-20&search-alias=grocery&sort=salesrank

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