One of the most common questions I get from Parents and my Body Image Talks is – How do I handle sugar? I get that restriction isn’t great but it’s EVERYWHERE and if I just let them go wild, they won’t ever want to eat anything else!
Here are three practical things you can do.
ONE: Learn as much as you can about why sugar is NOT addictive and doesn’t have to cause fear. Give yourself an hour and go deep.
Three links to start you off:
– A great article on why sugar is not addictive (or at least the scientific community cannot find any evidence that it is)
– An amazing PODCAST where they discuss sugar addiction at about 53 minutes. And don’t miss the bit where they talk about how REAL feeling addicted to sugar is – at about 1.16.
– An article to help quell your fear: Why you don’t need to FEAR sugar.
Just so you know…We go WAY deeper into this in the online course that follows on from the Parent Talk.
TWO: Stop talking about sugar being ‘bad’.
If we label a food ‘bad’, fear can arise when our kids eat that food and if they enjoy it (they will enjoy it) they can start to feel that they are bad. If you talk about sugar like it is just another one of the many foods we enjoy – a lot of stress and tension disappear. It’s fine to just say no, you can’t have that now. You don’t have to add ‘it’s bad for you’ or ‘it’s unhealthy’.
When our kid’s relationship with food is peaceful they are less likely to feel stressed when eating…
…so even if a food doesn’t have a high nutritional content (sugar doesn’t) we don’t have to add a layer of fear (and stress), which can lead to more health issues than eating a low nutrient food ever will.
When a child is left to discover how a food feels in their body after eating, rather than being told what is good and bad for them, they are likely to choose nutrient-dense foods more often and low nutrient foods less often.
Also – They are more likely to stop eating when their hunger is satisfied if they are helped to discover what makes their body feel good after they’ve eaten it. This process can take time – but once it’s learned it’s magic.
Being allowed to explore what feels good is way easier when labels like ‘good’ and ‘bad’/ ‘healthy’ and ‘unhealthy’ are not assigned to food. Makes you think, doesn’t it?
THREE: If you spend a lot of time worrying about sugar and fighting with your kids about it...
Please investigate the Divisions of Responsibility model approach to feeding your kids. It’s the only approach I know of that leads to complete peace and sets kids up to feel empowered (and stress-free) when it comes to feeding themselves (as they inevitably will have to when you are not around).
I’m not qualified to teach the divisions of responsibility but I can help you find experts who are.
I see your dedication to your kids avoiding a messed up body image – and I want to take the opportunity to thank you for that. You are AMAZING.
Keep turning up – it’s beautiful.