Food Psych

I recently started listening to a podcast called Food Psych. I heard about it from someone on Twitter and decided to check it out. It’s about intuitive eating, breaking out of diet culture, eating disorder recovery and Healthy at Every Size.

I’ve listened to about 10 episodes so far. They are long, a little over an hour or so. Each episode starts with a Q&A and then the rest of the episode is an interview with someone new each week, depending on the topic.

I am finding it very informative and interesting.

I learned that bulimia isn’t always about throwing up after eating. It can also mean a binge and then a strict restriction period to “make up for” the binge. I did not know that.

I also learned about orthorexia.

It was interesting to hear this term and learn more about it. Reflecting on my time blogging and reading “Healthy Living Blogs” for almost a decade now, I can see clearly that that whole “thing” was probably orthorexia. Focusing on diet culture, weight loss, over-exercising, being rigid about workout schedules and only eating “healthy foods.” There was a blogger that put a carrot in a hot dog bun instead of eating a hot dog, and a bunch of other truly bizarre (and disordered) things.

I was definitely part of this culture. It makes me think long and hard about my own journey. The podcast talks about how 90% of people who lose weight cannot keep it off. I guess I fall into this category? I lost 110 pounds and kept it off for over 10 years. I think that is pretty commendable. But at the same time, I maintained my weight by strict workout schedules and very low calorie intake. I don’t know that I fall into the eating disorder category per se, but definitely the diet culture category.

Something that happened recently: Logan has been telling me repeatedly lately that he’s hungry. This is after a meal, he had plenty of food during the meal. Michael and I have questioned if he was hungry or bored. We offer “you can have applesauce or a banana or some carrots” and of course he says no. He wants the crackers or granola bar.

This has been very triggering to me. First, I remember being a kid and wanting a snack and my mom would offer fruit or vegetables only. I grew up in a very strict food house, in the 90’s when it was the all low-fat/non-fat/no-sugar craze. So we didn’t get “treats” which lead to me bingeing later.

So hearing my son tell me he’s hungry and he wants to have a sweet treat, is triggering. Michael and I have been very conscious about letting him be intuitive, not being strict with food. We don’t want him to grow up with body issues/food issues etc. I especially don’t want that because I know how it feels and what it leads to.

But here I am, Saturday afternoon when Logan has had some crackers and raisins as a snack (with watered down apple juice to drink) and he’s whining that he’s hungry and I feel MY food issues pop up and I am mixed: do I restrict him? Do I give in and potentially create not healthy eating habits?

Boys can have eating disorders, too. It’s not just girls, even if it USUALLY is girls. I don’t want Logan to grow up like I did. I don’t want him to have body shame, or become obese, etc. It’s a hard balance for me, especially since I am still trying to come to terms with my own food issues.

At one of Logan’s recent “well baby” check up appointments with his doctor, whom I REALLY liked, gave me pause. She weighed him and stuff and suggested we “monitor” his weight. I was flabbergasted. Logan has been in the 97% percentile for height his entire life. 95% sure he will be a very tall boy (my brother is 6’6) because there are a lot of tall men in both sides of the family. His weight was around the 50% percentile, as it has been his whole life as well. I didn’t question the doctor, partly because I was so surprised she even mentioned my toddler’s weight. But I left feeling like “WTF”. Logan is tall and skinny as a rail. His clothes in his size are always a little too big.

This was the first experience as a parent of “Body shaming” my kid. It stuck with me for months. And listening to Food Psych Podcast, I am hearing in these interviews of people who had their body and food issues start at a VERY young age. Like ME. I was 9 when I suddenly realized there was something “Wrong” with my body. (I was not fat in anyway, but I THOUGHT I was.)

I’m working through a lot of things right now, thinking about stuff. But I wanted to pass on the info about the podcast because I am really enjoying it and I think a lot of people will too.

Author: Lisa Eirene

About Lisa Eirene Lisa lost 110 pounds through calorie counting and exercise. She swims, bikes, runs, hikes and is enjoying life in Portland, Oregon. Her weight loss story has been featured in First Magazine, Yahoo Health, Woman's Day and Glamour.com.

14 thoughts on “Food Psych”

  1. Thank you for sharing that podcast information! It sounds really interesting.

    I don’t have kids but there are kids in my life and in my extended family. It’s really really interesting to see how differently households manage food, and it’s very different from how I was raised (you eat what’s served and you don’t leave the table til it’s gone). I can see how it would be really hard to separate your own food thoughts from how Logan is learning to interact with food! Good luck doing the minimal amount of damage, parents can never get it perfect!

    What a strange comment from his doctor, and of course it caught you off guard. I can’t see how 97% height and 50% weight says “monitor” to anyone – how odd. Maybe you can prep some neutral questions in advance of the next meeting, or follow up with online questions, if you want to dig into it more deeply.

    1. I grew up in a house like you, you eat everything on your plate and don’t leave the table until it’s gone. It definitely did damage. I think kids in general are pretty good at intuitive eating, it’s when we force our own food stuff and rules on them that they can get disordered.

      It was a strange comment. Especially considering his age and the fact that as kids grow they grow OUT then grow UP in their growth spurts. That’s normal!

  2. Is it possible this is actually blood sugar related for him? If his blood sugar drops, I think the natural response is to feel hunger and crave carbs.

    The snack you described would send blood sugar up and then it would drop. And it would not hold him, he would be hungry again.

    I think it is a good habit to pair protein with other foods, in general, for kids, teach them to eat that way.

    I would try adding protein/healthy fat with every snack and see if that helps. Cheese stick, deviled eggs, nuts, peanut butter, yogurt, jerky, rolled sliced meat, etc. So raisins for example might be ants on a log (celery, peanut butter, raisins).

    Thinly sliced apples pair great with cheese slices.

    Spreads and dips are very very fun way to eat veggies. Or peanut butter on apples is great.

    I used a round sandwich cutter for many years.

    We use to roll up all kinds of layers and then slice into pinwheels for fun snacks.

    I have added protein powder to lots of things over the years like pancakes and waffles to even out the numbers and hold kids longer.

    I just went back and looked at pictures. He has a full face, do you suppose that is throwing off what she sees? His clothes are loose on him, that might be throwing her off too.

    I too used to dilute apple juice by half with water. I diluted chocolate milk by half with regular skim milk too. We drank real orange juice in the morning. But my kids rarely had anything but water to drink the rest of the day. And that is a super good habit (in my opinion).

    1. Those are some great tips. We already do a lot of them. Some of the trouble is Logan is still at the picky-eater stage. But we do what we can. I haven’t tried protein powder. That’s a great idea. We aren’t a juice family (although Logan gets watered down apple juice once a day). He’s the only one in our family that drinks milk, too.

      1. I get an unflavored protein powder that just sort of disappears into things. You could probably even stir it into peanut butter.

        I also add egg to a lot of (cooked) things. My example of waffles and pancakes. I use Kodiak mix. I use milk instead of water, I add egg and protein powder. It is shocking how much you can change the numbers from carb heavy to nearly even.

        There are higher protein noodles available now too. I also buy very thin sliced bread. And the small flour tortillas that are available now. And I get very small apples.

        My kids used to eat small bananas with peanut butter (girls) or wrapped in cheese (son).

        They are also all into dark chocolate (turn up their noses at milk chocolate). That one took a while, I just kept upping the percentage.

        With all the recipes out now, another good thing is to only make just enough servings when baking. Mug cakes which can be split 2-3 ways. Baking 6 cookies so you each have two and they are gone, etc. My drop biscuit recipe makes 6 too, and they are small. I also have 6ā€ cake pans. A layered 6ā€ cake is very very fun, split between several people.

        So I adjust the scale and quantity of the occasional things. And I make just enough with no leftovers. Exactly like you buying one piece of cake to split.

  3. This is going to sound like a silly question, Lisa, but was the doctor suggesting you monitor his weight because it’s too low? 50% in weight while 97% in height sounds like he is quite slender and she might think he’d benefit from a little extra. Just a thought…

      1. That is a very good point. I suggest sending her an email and saying she caught you off guard with her comment on his weight and asking for a telehealth appt or phone call. I would compile a list of questions following both tracks so you are ready.

          1. I’ll be interested to hear what she has to say. It’s always hard to switch pediatricians – I drove my oldest 45 miles each way for a couple of years after we moved because I trusted the doctor who’d known him for his whole little life. Good luck!

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