By Amy Dickinson
Ask Amy: Advice for the Real World
DEAR AMY: My partner and I have two young daughters. Our oldest is 3.
We have both struggled with our own body images and have done various diets throughout our lives. I guess I carry around more shame around the diets, so I don't say much about them.
My partner talks a lot about her diets, about losing weight and taking in less calories, etc. We have talked about this and she says the more we hide it, the bigger deal it will become, which I do agree with.
Body image has been such a painful issue for both of us. I don't want to pass that on to our daughters in this already diet/body image obsessed world.
What are your thoughts? -- New Moms
DEAR NEW MOMS: The contrast between your kids' two moms -- with you being ashamed and your partner being obsessed -- means you would pass along your anxiety without offering healthy solutions. I applaud your determination to find another way.
For young children, learning how to feed themselves and how to make good food choices gives them an important sense of dominion over their own bodies.
The best thing is for you two parents to get on the same page and agree to create the healthiest environment possible at home. You and your partner should see a professional nutritionist together.
Learn how to involve your children in making healthy food choices. Plant a garden together. Visit farmers' markets and choose a range of healthy whole foods for meals and snacks.
Your mealtimes should be (chaotic) celebrations of togetherness, with everyone pitching in (even very young children can shell peas or put apple slices and cheese on a plate), and with all of you eating the same type meals at the same time - together.
You should never criticize your own body (or anyone else's) in front of your children. Any dieting you discuss should be framed in terms of being healthy and feeling good.
For inspiration, check out the book "Real Food for Healthy Kids: 200-Plus Easy, Wholesome Recipes," by Tanya Wenman Steel and Tracey Seaman.
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