26-year-old dietitian who specializes in eating disorders shares five things parents should never do

A dietitian who specializes in eating disorders has revealed why parents shouldn’t force kids to finish their plates or go on a diet.

Kate Regan, 26, from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, said conditions such as anorexia and bulimia can be triggered at a young age and well-meaning parents can inadvertently cause children to develop relationships unhealthy food.

The expert shared the five things she would never do when she becomes a parent – from not dieting to never labeling food ‘unhealthy or healthy’ or shaming anyone.

Kate Regan, 26, from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, said conditions such as anorexia and bulimia can be triggered at a young age and well-meaning parents can inadvertently cause children to develop relationships unhealthy food.

She said: ‘I will not under any circumstances put my child on a diet or tell him he needs to lose weight.

“A lot of eating disorders start in childhood. Diets are inherently restrictive and teach you to follow a set of rules compared to how we are born, where the instinct is to eat intuitively.

“Diets veer away from your natural ability to listen to your body tell you when it’s hungry or full, which carries over into adulthood.”

The expert shared the five things she would never do when she becomes a parent - from not dieting to never labeling food

The expert shared the five things she would never do when she becomes a parent – from not dieting to never labeling food ‘unhealthy or healthy’ or shaming anyone.

The second piece of advice was for parents not to diet or “intentionally pursue weight loss” themselves.

Kate explained that even if you don’t tell your child directly, they notice and absorb your actions and behaviors, and they can still be influenced.

She said: “A child will grow up believing that there is a right way and a wrong way to eat and that pursuing intentional weight loss is more important than their health.

“Rather than dieting, I would prioritize health-promoting behaviors over looking at the number on the scale.”

Elsewhere, the expert insisted she would never label foods ‘healthy or unhealthy’ or ‘good or bad’.

The dietitian went on to explain that she would rather call them ‘play foods’ and ‘fun foods’ as opposed to ‘nutrient dense’ or ‘nutritious’ foods.

Kate said: “Using gender neutral language to describe foods removes morality and lets children know that it is okay for all foods to fit into their diet.

Elsewhere, the expert insisted she would never label food

Elsewhere, the expert insisted she would never label foods ‘healthy or unhealthy’ or ‘good or bad’.

“When you attach morality to food, a lot of guilt and shame can come into play. They can internalize ‘bad’ feelings about them when they eat ‘bad’ food and feel like a ‘bad’ nobody.

WHAT IS ANOREXIA?

Anorexia is a serious mental illness in which a person limits their food intake, often leading to severe underweight.

Many also exercise excessively.

Some people may experience periods of bulimia, followed by purging.

Sufferers often have a distorted view of themselves and think they are bigger than they really are.

Untreated, patients can suffer from loss of muscle and bone strength, as well as depression, low libido and cessation of menstruation in women.

In severe cases, patients may have heart problems and organ damage.

Behavioral signs of anorexia include people saying they have already eaten or will eat later, as well as counting calories, skipping meals, hiding food, and eating slowly .

In addition to weight loss, sufferers may experience insomnia, constipation, bloating, feeling cold, hair loss, and swelling in the hands, face, and feet.

Treatment focuses on therapy and self-help groups to encourage healthy eating and coping mechanisms.

Source: Overcome Eating Disorders

She went on to insist that she would never shame herself, her child or others in front of her child.

“If my child ever comes up to me and says ‘I feel fat,’ I won’t respond with ‘you’re not fat – you’re beautiful,’ but I will respond with curiosity,” she said. .

“Ask yourself why they might think that, why they might feel that, and support their feelings, without implying that being fat is a bad thing, which it isn’t.”

She said she would never make a child finish his plate of food, or tell him he can’t have anything else when he says he’s still hungry.

Kate, who is on TikTok @wholesomechicknutrition, said: “When kids are encouraged to finish all foods even if they say they are full, it teaches them to ignore their fullness cues. This can cause them to lose touch with these signals.

When she shared some of her advice online, many people shared their own experiences, especially on the “finish your plate” advice.

Getting children to finish their meals was one many people said they had experienced in their own childhood – and praised her for highlighting the risks.

One viewer wrote, “I was just waiting for the ‘finish all the food on the plate’. It definitely still impacts my relationship with food.

Another said: “I wish my mum would never make me finish all the food on my plate, I feel like I have to finish everything even though I’m drunk.”

A third agreed: “I don’t know what full is because my dad forced me to eat when I was a kid and now calls me fat as an adult.”

Congratulating Kate for posting the video, one said: ‘I was really worried to see this video thinking it would be a lot of shame for mum but I’m so glad I watched it. Great message!’

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