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Today Steph and Dr. Elana recap the interview with Dana Suchow on the topic of preventing eating disorders and raising body confident kids. They discuss signs/symptoms of disordered eating parents can be on the lookout for. They also share how to navigate compliments on your child’s appearance and how to build your child’s self-love armor to protect them from criticism or bullying.
We’d like to say a special thank you to today’s podcast partner: Tessemae’s. Tessemae’s is flavor-forward, organic fresh food company that makes clean label dressings, marinades, condiments, salad kits, and single-serve pouches with uncompromised ingredients of the highest quality. Use code WHOLEMAMAS15 for 15% off your entire purchase at Tessemaes.com, now through September 30, 2019.
Stephanie Greunke 0:03
Things that we do both verbally and non-verbally can send this message that we’re not good enough, or food is bad, or we need to hide in pictures because we don’t want people to see your whole body, or talk about our double chins and pictures. I mean, there’s so much that we see as children growing up that we internalize.
Welcome back to the Whole Mamas podcast. We’re here to give you tools, resources and evidence based information so you can make the best decisions for yourself and your family. Whether you’re trying to conceive or are navigating life with a toddler or a teenager, we’ve got you covered. I’m Stephanie Greunke, registered dietitian and program director for Whole30’s Whole Mamas club. I’m also the co- creator of Whole30’s pregnancy program where I teach moms how to navigate the endless decisions regarding pregnancy and also creating our postpartum program. And my co host is Dr. Elana Roumell, pediatric naturopathic doctor and creator of Med School for Moms, an online resource where she teaches moms how to safely be a doctor mom.
On today’s episode, Dr. Elana and I are going to recap the episode with Dana Suchow on the topic of preventing eating disorders and raising body competent kids. We discussed signs and symptoms of disordered eating that parents can be on the lookout for we also share how to navigate compliments on your child’s appearance and how to build your child’s self love armor to protect them from criticism and bullying.
But before we jump into the episode, I would like to thank our podcast partner Tessamaes. If you’re doing a September Whole30 or you just want help in the kitchen with your meal prep, you will love their variety of dressings, marinades, condiments and salad kits. One unique product that I love and I keep in my purse and pantry at all times is their single serve dressing patches. I love ordering large salads at restaurants and using the single serve pouches to make a delicious clean option. I love using their ranch and they also are great for your kids lunchbox to prevent spills and get them to eat more veggies which is such a great goal. If gums and other additives give you digestive distress, you may enjoy knowing that these dressings don’t contain any gums, artificial ingredients or synthetic chemicals. Just straightforward, organic, Whole30 Approved ingredients that you can pronounce from a company that was started by a mama on a mission to feed her family healthy food. They now have a shelf stable pantry line so you can keep that bottle of Ranch or creamy Green Goddess in your pantry or out on the counter for easy access. In fact, their new creamy Green Goddess is one of my favorite products that I pour on just about everything. I use it as a dip for my hard boiled eggs. I drizzle it on salad, and I mix it in a bowl with cauliflower rice, chicken and roasted veggies for an easy lunch. It’s packed with flavorful herbs like tarragon, and has a deep umami flavor with a touch of sweetness from the coconut aminos; and I think you’ll love it. Right now Tessamaes is offering our listeners a great deal. If you visit their website at tessamaes.com, which is tessemaes.com you can get 15% off your entire purchase by using code: wholemamas15. This offer ends on September 30, so don’t miss out!
All right now on to the show. And now our nourish yourself segment. So Elana, what did you do today? Or what are you going to do today to nourish yourself?
Elana Roumell 3:26
Alright, so I haven’t talked about this much. I was really back and forth. If I wanted to do something, as far as do I want to do baby shower, do I want to do like a blessing way, do I want to do a baby sprinkle, which actually just found out is a real thing. So some people are confused. So I decided to do a baby sprinkle. And apparently a baby sprinkle is like a small baby shower. So it’s not a full shower, because that would be showering with love, a sprinkle is just a little sprinkle of love, which I think is a really cute title to a little gathering. So I was kind of back and forth if I wanted to do this and I just realized after thinking if I didn’t want to do anything that it’s so nourishing to me to have my girlfriends together. Like I love my girlfriends, you included Steph. So I’m so excited! I just saw your RSVP that you’re coming. So thank you. And I’ve just like why would I pass up on an opportunity to have an excuse to get all my girlfriends together before I have this next baby? So I kind of bit the bullet. Then I decided “All right, I’m going to have it”. And I only talked to a couple friends just to say, should I do it? Should I not do it? And then right away, they offered to plan it, and I was like, are you sure? They are like, please let me do this for you. And I was like, no, that’s not why I asked. I just wanted to see like, it shouldn’t be hard. It’s just going to be a small group of people. And so they’re like taking the lead. They want to plan it. And I’m like, you know what, I’m really glad that I’m doing it for myself. So it’s now on my calendar, we just sent the Evite. And so that was really nourishing to me to feel like I’m doing this for myself and friends are helping me. But there’s just something so cool about getting women together. So I’m really glad that I decided to do it after all.
Stephanie Greunke 5:00
Yeah, absolutely. And I think it’s just changing the mindset that it’s not about having this huge ordeal and getting a ton of gifts, you just want to have your community together and to celebrate you and to celebrate this new baby in this life transition and to know that you have people in your corner. I think feeling supported is so important as we go into the postpartum period. And so I’m glad you accepted that, I’m glad you kind of reached out to get feelers, and that your friends were all over that jumping on it to do it for you.
Elana Roumell 5:26
Thank you. I it’s weird that like at first I just didn’t want it. And I don’t think that that’s, I don’t think that’s uncommon with your second child. It’s like I had the big baby shower. I, I did the blessing way and I actually loved it. I mean, I don’t regret that at all. But then just coming into this, I was like, I don’t feel like I need that. Like I don’t need stuff. I don’t want gifts, I don’t want all of that. And I was like, but hold on. I do love my friends. It’s not about the gifts. You know, it’s not about the fancy party. It’s just about being with each other. So that’s why I really decided to do it. And so that felt really, really heart warming to me today. What did you do? Or what are you going to do to nourish yourself today?
Stephanie Greunke 6:04
Well, I’m so disappointed. I think in the last couple of podcasts, I talked about how I am really making an effort to do more self care and to nourish myself and I had a really rough couple of months. And now I’m finding my way out of that patch. And one of the things I was talking about was joining that yoga studio by my house and unfortunately, I mean, you know how this goes they had planned an opening in late July, early August, and that got pushed to the end of September, maybe even October and I was so disappointed to hear that news. And my first thought is like, Well, okay, I guess I’m just not going to start yoga until it opens. And I’ve been kind of postponing starting a yoga practice until then. But I decided today there is an app called the Peloton app. I don’t know if you seen the Peloton bikes or the Peloton treadmills. They’re crazy expensive, but they have an app that’s like $20 a month. And it’s incredible. It has so many different opportunities for you to like run outside, and they have like fun runs and tons of different trainers. And you can pick how long you want to do it. But they also have a ton of yoga classes and stretching classes. And so I decided to purchase a month of that until the yoga studio opens so that I can do that yoga in the meantime, because it’s so important to me. And I know sometimes with things like this, if we have a date that’s postponed or sometimes if it’s not a good time because of a small setback, we use that as a convenient excuse. And I’m not going to do that with yoga.
Elana Roumell 7:33
Oh, I really love this. I’m so glad you kind of found like a roundabout. And to be honest, it almost seems like you probably will end up doing both, even when the yoga classes do start opening up in September, you’ll just end up probably doing both; this app sounds great.
Stephanie Greunke 7:46
Yeah, it’s a really great app. And I mean, it is a cost. It’s $20 a month, but there are so many free youtube videos, too. If you don’t want to spend $20 a month. There’s a lot of things that are out there. So yeah, I think it’s just good to pull through and follow through on something that’s important to you, even if there is a blip in your radar.
Elana Roumell 8:05
Mm hmmm, it’s well done. Yeah, you figured out all your resources. And there are so many resources these days with this. So very cool, off to check that out myself.
Stephanie Greunke 8:13
Yeah. So let’s get into the interview that you had with Dana, I really love having this episode available to share with our listeners now. And then as an evergreen resource, because unfortunately, we’re seeing disordered eating behaviors show up earlier and earlier, in our little ones, and if it’s not addressed, that person, that little human or the older adult can struggle with their relationship with food and their body for the rest of their life. And you mentioned that you’re seeing disordered eating behaviors in little ones as early as five years old. So can you provide a few examples of what this looks like and the kids that you’re seeing, and maybe some science that parents can be on the lookout for?
Elana Roumell 8:52
Yes, and it is, it’s really truly so prevalent that I’m glad that we have a show on this, I agree with you. And in my practice, I actually see two different ways it comes up; it either comes up with language that the kid uses, or it comes up in the way that they talk about their body. So I’m listening for both of those. The language part of it is, they’ll say something like, “This food is good, or this food is bad”. And they are already labeling food. And I kind of find that that may not necessarily be diagnostic for an eating disorder, but it could be a potential segue to them thinking of how food is. And so I would like to talk about that. And I talked to the parents about how they label food and, what goes on in the house when it comes to restricting or you know how they like to talk about food. So that’s kind of one thing that may clue you in on, you know, hearing a little girl, for example, just say like, Oh, yeah, I don’t eat ice cream, because ice cream is not a good food, that’s a bad food. And I don’t necessarily want kids to, you know, grow up already having these opinions or ideas simply because I do think it’s important for them to be able to understand this for themselves. I mean, you know, a five year old kid doesn’t really understand what that means. And so I think it’s important to talk about that more, as far as good or bad. And then the other thing that I’ve actually heard, and this is another girl, it wasn’t a boy, but she actually told me she felt like her thighs were fat. And I couldn’t even believe it. I was like, oh, my goodness, you know, my heart like melted. And I, you know, I got curious, and we started talking a little bit about it. And it was really then it ended up being more of a conversation with mom, because I wanted to hear this mom saying that stuff about herself. And then the child is kind of projecting on herself or, you know, what is she kind of hearing around the house. And so these are just little things that I kind of clue in on. And when I get a little bit concerned, when they’re very, very young. And then of course, I have like the teenagers who you could just see if they’re athletes, or if they’re not getting their period for a lot of these women or, again, the males, the males can definitely have body dysmorphic disorders. In fact, I have a, I think he’s a 19 year old who actually shared with me a real big experience during high school when he was anorexic. And so this happens often. And if you could just build a good trusting relationship with your patients, then they can really share this with you. But oftentimes, you’re looking at either the language that they’re saying, or actually comments on their actual body.
Stephanie Greunke 11:22
You know, one example that I had of this, and I had no idea that this is disordered eating was happening so early too. We had a six year old, one of my friends has a six year old daughter, and she was going to school with a jacket on or like a long sleeve shirt, even in the hot summer months. And, you know, the mom was asking her, you know, “Why aren’t you hot? Like, why are you wearing a jacket or a long, long sweatshirt?” And the daughter didn’t want to say anything for a while she’s like, “Oh, I’m just cold”, and kind of played it off like that. And come to find out girls at school were teasing her that her arms looked fat. And so she was wearing the sweatshirt and jacket, to cover up her arms. And it just broke my heart knowing that it happened so early. So I think, yeah, sometimes if you’re seeing things that don’t really make sense, or you’re hearing this language, or if you’re hearing those good food, bad food language type terms, it is something to explore and really understand where that’s coming from. And you’ll work with a professional that can help.
Elana Roumell 12:18
That’s a great story. I appreciate you sharing that. And something that Dana and I talked a lot about is through Dana’s experience, she found a correlation between somehow adults making comments to kids that kind of started that story for a child, for them to then start questioning their body or the foods that they’re eating. But I would actually have to say that it’s also very much from the kids in their class that can say something. So in your example, with the fat arms, it was probably someone in her class that said something and I shared a story on the podcast that it was someone who said something to me that had me stop singing, you know, and that’s not a body dysmorphic type of thing, but it’s still something that I remember, was really prevalent to me. So I’m just curious, in your experience working with clients, do you find that it also starts by an either an adult or even a child saying something to them that can trigger?
Stephanie Greunke 13:12
Almost every time. I have a question on my questionnaire that I have people fill out before we start working together, that talks about what food was like for them growing up, and the conversations they had around food and the types of food that they eat when they were younger. And oftentimes, I’ll hear stories about, you know, these women, were going to Weight Watchers meetings or diet meetings with their mom from an early age and maybe their mom even enrolled them in Weight Watchers with them as early as eight, nine, ten years old. Or they just went because that was like babysitting, you know, they had to go with their mom. I hear stories about you moms talking about how they hate their body, or they’re picking at their body in front of the mirror, or, you know, pulling at certain pieces while the one is watching. So they see that growing up, they may talk about the fact that they’re fat, they may talk about the diet that they’re going on, they may even you know just how they are with their food on their plate, you know, we just we talked about picky eating behaviors. And they may see mom eating different foods than they are, or pushing food around their plate and just kind of picking at it. Or there’s so many things that we do both verbally and non verbally that can send this message that we’re not good enough, or food is bad, or we need to hide in pictures, because we don’t want people to see our whole body or talk about our double chins and pictures. I mean, there’s so much that we see as children growing up that we internalize.
Elana Roumell 14:42
Yeah, you know, I’m just sitting here listening. And it’s really heartbreaking to me, because you never know what someone says to your child that can literally put them on a path for years of time, for some destructive behaviors, or poor choices, or images of their body that are just truly discrediting of themselves and creating insecure thoughts. And it’s like, as parents, what do we do to almost like, protect and shelter our kids? I mean, we can’t keep them home and have no one talk to them. I mean, that is absolutely not an option. But you know, some of my thoughts, if you don’t mind, just as I’m thinking of this is like, what would I do if, you know, one day someone said something to Aviva, then I just started noticing that she’s acting a little differently. And I think two of those things is one, as parents, we really do have to be as observant as possible. So if we do see a change, that we then approach it, and we talk about it, we don’t just like brush it off. But the other real part of it, I think, really has to do with creating a safe space for our children to be comfortable sharing with you. And Dana and I spoke a little bit about this. And she said, you know, the best thing to do is just love your child so much and create such safe spaces for them to be vulnerable, that they do come to you when they’re sad, and they’re upset. And then they share, saying, well, this person said this to me. And my feelings are hurt. Do you remember that in the episode stuff when we were talking about that?
Stephanie Greunke 16:09
Oh, yeah, absolutely. I loved that conversation.
Elana Roumell 16:12
I loved what Dana said, Dana is like, what I needed in that moment was someone to say, you know, I’ve been there too. And I got through it. You know, and to validate her experience. And it was interesting, because after I recorded the episode, I sat down with Anthony and I talked to him about it; because, you know, it’s something that is very real, and it could easily come up. And I said, “What would you say to her, if Aviva came home one day and said, someone told me that my butt looks big or whatever, you know, like something random”? He would say, “Oh, don’t let it bother you.” He said that! And I said, that’s so interesting you would say that, because that’s exactly what Dana said not to do. And he goes, tell me why. And I said, because you’re you’re devaluing her experience. She’s in pain. He goes, well what would you suggest instead? I said, what she recommended was to say, you know, someone did that to me, too. And it really hurts. And I got through it. And he sat there and was like, Oh, my God, yeah, I can see how that could be effective. And I said, yeah, I said, let’s really be conscientious of that, you know, let’s really, really do our best to work on that and not just like, discredit and say, “Oh, don’t worry about it, that that person doesn’t know any better”. You know, really be there with them and sit with them and say, gosh, that must have really hurt when that person said that to you. You know, in my life when I was a kid, you know, someone said this to me, and it really hurt. But guess what, with time I got through it, and I know you can too. And I get like the chills, because I just think it’s like such a beautiful way to interact with our children. Because it’s inevitable that it can happen and having a safe space to really talk to them, I think is so incredibly important. What do you think you would do in that situation Steph?
Stephanie Greunke 17:56
I think I would do, I mean, after learning how she approached it, that that’s exactly what I’m going to do. But I also, I try to implement that even as far as my kids crying, I mean, I think in our society, we’re told like little boys shouldn’t cry, or a little boys shouldn’t show emotions. And that’s a conversation that I have often with my husband, when he tries to kind of hush the boys from crying or tell them like, “Oh get over it”. And I’m like, No, like, we want them to be able to express all kinds of emotions with us, and to be able to explore how they’re feeling and why they’re feeling these things. So that when we start getting into older ages, and they’re in high school, or they’re experiencing bullying, they can feel like we’re their safe space to have these conversations. So absolutely. I love that you said that. I also think it’s really important not to put too much shame or guilt on ourselves. If we are looking back at some of our behaviors, and we’re like, oh, you know, I probably shouldn’t have said that around my little one, or I shouldn’t have picked my belly or I should be more mindful. And one thing that she said that I really loved is that, you know, there’s no such thing as perfect parenting and that no child comes out of childhood trauma free. And our goal is just to really help them build that competence and have that safe space and to be mindful of these things going forward. Because we can’t erase what happened, but we can continue to be their safe space and work on how we approach communicating about our body.
Elana Roumell 19:27
Yes, thanks so much for bringing that up. I loved how she said that. There was so many great little nuggets in there. I mean, so many great takeaways. And I think what we discussed in that part was, I think, all too often, as parents, we want to like really shelter our kids from suffering. Because we know suffering is like not fun. It’s not good. But this is something I teach a lot in my course in med school for moms, too, is even being sick is suffering. And we’re like so uncomfortable with our kids being sick, or we’re so uncomfortable with our kids being bullied or we’re so uncomfortable with our kids feelings some way, but you know, we have to start feeling comfortable with that because it’s just simply life. And if we can provide as parents, our kids with the tools to know how to get through that suffering, that’s really where I think they can successfully mature and grow and not let things get to them. And I love, she said this, she called it I think the love shield or love armor, I forget exactly. Can you remember what she called it? I love, oh my god it was the best!
Stephanie Greunke 20:29
Oh, I don’t remember if it was a love shield, it was something like a body armor.
Elana Roumell 20:32
Like an armor, right. And she’s like, if if you can instill self love and your child, they know that’s their greatest shield, because anyone at any time can say anything to them. And they just know they’ve got the shield that they got it, you know, and I got the chills, I was like, Oh my gosh, that is like the best thing you can do. So I think that example of what you do with your boys when they cry, even at this young age will instill that in them. It is safe to cry, it’s okay to cry, come to me when you cry, you know, so that when things do get more sophisticated, then there’s like bigger issues, that it’s still something, it’s safe to do this, it’s safe to process a grief. Yes. And then suffering and pain is no longer this emphasis of just bury it, like don’t deal with it, it’s fine. It really is something to, to work through. So I just love that.
Stephanie Greunke 21:21
Yeah. And I think you know, having this be a persistent philosophy amongst you and your partner and the caregivers and you know, the people that they’re around so that they’re continually getting that safe space from a lot of people. So, you know, it’s not just about me doing this, but also making sure my partner’s in line. And I love that you brought this up with Anthony too to make sure that you are both in Allied Force to promote that safe space.
Elana Roumell 21:45
Oh, completely. And this is how it is even with food, right? I mean, we all need to be on the same page, when it comes to how we want to get our picky eater to eat more food, or, you know, sleep schedules, or I mean, there’s everything you just have to be aligned with. Because if they don’t get a consistent message, then it is a little bit confusing to them. So it’s so important not only just to share with your spouse, but even other caretakers and friends and family who like to share things with your kids, right. I mean, this is like an important aspect of just being a parent,
Stephanie Greunke 22:17
You know, and on the complete opposite side, I think having an alligned message when it comes to compliments, and this is something that we talked about, oftentimes we will see little girls and be like, “Oh, you’re so pretty” and talk about their external appearance versus complimenting their humanity. And so she was talking about changing that you’re pretty to something like oh, you picked out a beautiful dress, or I love your sense of style in those colors. And this is really hard to do. It’s something that’s hardwired within us, I feel like we give this type of praise so easily. And it takes a moment to step back and to really rethink how we’re going to give that compliment. And in that episode, I love that you were so authentic and that this is something that you’re still working on. And you and Anthony correct each other for something like this too. But I think it can be hard when other people, maybe it is your close friends, but maybe it is, you know, acquaintances, people that you meet at the park that will say something like that to your daughter or your son about how they look. So how do you approach these type of compliments from other people? I’m sure people are praising Aviva about how pretty she is all the time, you know, and you have to correct that.
Elana Roumell 23:28
Oh, my goodness, it is like this whole issue, I’m so passionate about because I want everyone to be on board with this because it is so easy to slip. And it’s not that it’s ill intention. That’s the thing, it’s all good intention, these are compliments that you’re giving. But what the outcome could be, could actually end up being more harmful than good, you know, puts a lot of pressure on kids and puts a lot of expectations on them. So, what I’ve been doing, at least in my short experience of all of this is, when I hear someone say something like, “Oh, you’re so smart, or you’re so pretty”, any of these kind of labels; I’ll actually let them know, I stop them. And I said, you know, it’s really interesting. I learned this from my therapist, and I would love to share this with you. Have you ever thought about this? Because I was really shocked by it because I do this too. Have you ever thought that if we say to our kids, you’re so smart, or whatever the example is, that they’re actually going to put so much pressure on themselves to be smart, that then they’re actually going to have an insecurity kind of complex about being smart, and then they’re gonna have to prove how smart they are. And every time I say this to somebody, you see them starting to like really think. You see them process this like hmm, I never even thought about that. And I say so what my therapist has taught me to do instead is, X, Y & Z, which is, don’t comment on how pretty they are, how smart they are, or even how good of an eater they are. It’s more so about commenting on humanity, which I really loved how she said that is, it’s some aspect of this. So Wow, like, I love how you said that word. Yeah, I don’t know about being smart. Maybe as an example is like, wow, I love how you put those words together. Like I love when you say I love you, to me, that just makes me feel really good. Versus, you’re so smart. So you know, ike this, blanket term as just an example. And I just, I take it as an opportunity to give like someone an aha moment. And then as they start thinking about it, I then say, it’s something that Anthony and I are really committed to doing around Aviva, and it is not easy. I also am very humble about it, we mess up all the time. And we do it all the time. And I joke that hopefully by the third kid, we get it right; if we even have three, you know, I don’t know how many we’re going to have. But anyway, I kind of bring them in with curiosity. And then they lean in towards it, versus telling them like, I don’t want you to say that around my kid or that’s not right, or judge them for it. And I’ll tell you though, the person that I’m having, by far the hardest time with though is my father in law. It’s like, he’s just so used to the, you’re so pretty, you’re so smart. You’re so this, you’re so that. I’m constantly saying, Hey, you know, like, this is what we’re really trying to do and work on. And he’s not getting it as much as some of my friends or other family members necessarily. But it’s okay, because it’s still just a conversation that we have. And it’s just a reminder of like, Oh, yeah, I guess that is an interesting aspect. But it’s so ingrained in him that it’s like second nature, he just does it. So it just takes some communication some time. And we’re all processing it together. And I’m just so committed to that for my kids, that it just takes a lot of practice, because that’s not how I was raised. I was raised with those type of compliments. And I, I see what it did, I think to me, and the pressure I put on myself that I really would like to break that cycle. So that one day my kids could be parents in the very mindful way. And that that would be my biggest goal for my grandkids.
Stephanie Greunke 26:54
Yeah, I really appreciate your approach. And I think what is so important about that approach is you use “I” language, and you use something like, “my therapist told me about that” versus saying, “Oh, you really shouldn’t say that to her or you are doing something wrong”. Or, you know, you’re pointing your finger. Putting it back in the perspective of Oh, hey, I learned something interesting. I think this, my therapist thinks this, and that can that can ease the tension that could easily happen. If you say, well, no, YOU shouldn’t be doing this people will feel offended. So I think that’s great.
Elana Roumell 27:25
Yeah, that’s really the approach I go with. So I appreciate you noticing that. And then the other thing is saying how hard it is for me too. So that they also get that like, Oh, this is isn’t easy, like I really see. And then, explain what the impact is of doing that. So this is a great question you bring up and I’m so glad to talk about it. Because these little things, although doesn’t seem so major, could be the trigger for some people. And for some kids and every kid is so unique that for some, they’ll just, they won’t even care, then for others, they like really put a lot of pressure on themselves. And you don’t really know which child’s going to take to what but I think it’s important for us to just be extra mindful of it if we can. Right, let’s go into a little bit of another topic, because I just find that eating disorders to be so prevalent. And even Dana mentioned up to 80 to 90% of people have some form of disordered eating. And even though the statistics of eating disorders are probably much lower, that you still see it. So it may not be a diagnosis, but there’s still flavors of it in even in 80 to 90% of people. So I was just curious if you agreed with those high rates?
Stephanie Greunke 28:34
Yeah, I agree with those high rates, especially how she described it, she described disordered eating really broadly. It could be something like you eat a food, and then you feel guilty about it, or you abstain from a certain food because it’s not clean enough, or you feel the need to exercise to burn off what you just ate, or you feel the need to lose weight to be accepted or loved. All those things she classified as disordered eating. And if that’s the case, then, definitely, I see 80 to 90% of my clients, even ones that don’t necessarily have an issue with food, they do feel this, this association from their body, and they feel like they’re, how their body looks is state of how good of a person they are. And so, you know, another example of how this is true, and the listeners probably know that I love Rachel Hollis. And she had this this conference, the Rise conference, and she had this checklist of things like, past traumas that people may have experienced, and she had them check off what applied to each person. And on that list, the there was a question or I guess the statement that said, I hate my body, not I dislike my body, I am like, I wish I could lose 10 pounds, but I hate my body. And she had people stand up who had that listed and checked on their sheet. As you said, nearly everybody stood up, that they hated their body. And that’s a powerful word. And so I really do think that many of us are struggling with some form of disordered eating, and may not be to the point where we need to go see a therapist or be classified as an eating disorder. But I think we really do all have a lot of work when it comes to figuring out what Food Freedom looks like for us and finding acceptance with who we are. And I think there’s a difference between having a goal of, for example, maybe you want to lose 10 or 20 pounds, or you would feel more comfortable at that weight. That’s okay, that’s nothing to feel ashamed about. But it’s also a matter of being healthy, and being confident in who you are as a person and not classifying your worth based on the number. And this is something that Melissa Hartwig Urban talks about so beautifully in her book Food Freedom Forever. So if you haven’t read that book, or like really checked out the resources there, she has so many amazing tools to really help guide you when it comes to navigating disordered eating and find a approach that works for you.
Elana Roumell 31:06
I think what all of you said was great, and it actually hurts my heart so much to hear how every single woman stood up in that Rachel Hollis seminar or workshop. I mean, it’s just so prevalent in that way. And it’s like, why do we get to this point, and we’ve all been there and Steph, you and I, we both have been so transparent, we both have been through eating disorders. And I just find it to be kind of crazy, because, you know, we’re educated, we’re confident women, and we have a history of this. And this is why we’ve actually come to be the woman we are today. So for me personally, I don’t necessarily regret anything. I mean, I think my eating disorder has made me who I am. And actually, it’s helped me be the doctor and to empathize with a lot of my patients. And also I think being able to be a strong mom, then for for my kids as well. And it’s hard, you know, and it’s not easy. And so any of the tools or any of the resources to get through it is just so incredibly important. If you don’t mind I just wanted to bring up a quick bit is that eating disorders really look so different. And this is why I do also agree with Dana, that the prevalence is so high is that, you know, it’s not just about throwing up or binge eating or losing weight or, you know, it could even look like what I had was called Orthorexia Nervosa. And ironically, I’m actually hosting, I’m co leading an event at the end of August. So I think this show airs after that event. But while we’re recording it, I’m prepping for that. And it’s something that again, I’m so passionate about helping advocate because orthorexia is actually just something that people are so occupied with eating the right type of foods or eating so healthy, and it goes in different degrees. And it’s like, I don’t think that is even talked about that much. Orthorexia Nervosa is actually a diagnosis. But some people don’t even think about it, like you mean, you can actually eat too healthy and have an eating disorder? or you mean, you can actually, still eat and have an eating disorder? I mean, I think we just have so many different ideas of what an eating disorder is, that I couldn’t agree more that there’s just so many people that are thinking about this simply because it’s something we do multiple times a day. And it’s something we can choose and control. And there’s not that many things in life that we can control. So if we can gravitate and grab onto something we can control, kids love that, teenagers love that, even adults, we love to be able to control something, especially when we’re feeling like life is out of control. And it goes right to food and an eating disorder or even over exercising or, you know, these lifestyle habits. So I just wanted to bring that up too is, I just don’t want people limiting themselves or their kids to thinking that oh, well, they’re not losing weight, or if they are actually eating then oh, yeah, there’s nothing to worry about. But there’s definitely things to worry about. And I love that we are now able to give more and more education advocacy for these type of experiences.
Stephanie Greunke 34:11
Yeah. And she was saying that disordered eating is so normalized that it does often go undiagnosed. And we often encourage this behavior. So somebody says that they’re going to eliminate X, Y, and Z. We’re almost like, yeah, good job without maybe taking a step back and asking them like, Well, why? What is your reason? And when it comes to our relationship with food, it’s often not as much about the food as it’s about what’s going on with us. I think we like to blame the food, but it’s also why are we eating the way that we’re doing? What are these deep, maybe traumatic experiences that we’re going through, or this emotional connection with food. That’s something that is often talked about at Overeaters Anonymous is that it’s not the food, that’s the issue. It’s something else in your life that we really need to be looking at. And that takes a lot of time to get through. And it takes a lot of help, and often from professionals that can work with you. So, you know, I think this episode could not come at a better time. I wish we would have had something earlier because it is really, you know, especially the moms that are listening, many of them may have done elimination diets before and are very particular about what they eat, they may identify with orthorexia. So I’m really glad we’re having this conversation.
Elana Roumell 35:28
Great. Yeah, I think it’s really a big asset to so many people. It’s great.
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Stephanie Greunke 36:43
Now, one thing that she brought up in the episode I thought was really important was that eating disorders do occur in men or those that identify and as men, and it’s also very prevalent within the LGBTQIA+ population. And I think you know, we can be dismissive of concerns from individuals who identify as male and the concerns that they have about their body. Because we think it’s only an issue for sis gender women. And I know, I’ve heard body concerns and complaints and some concerning behaviors or patterns around food from male partners, especially when it comes to things like infertility, sometimes these men identify as their body weight being the issue, and that’s why the couple’s struggling, and they’re really hard on themselves. And I know your husband is a trainer. So I’m curious, is this something that he is talking about or hearing from his clients who are identifying as male?
Elana Roumell 37:45
That’s a very good question, and I would really have to ask him specifically, if that’s the case or not, so I don’t want to speak for him. But I do know, because he does come home with a lot of stories, obviously, but I wouldn’t say his current clients, but he was really about a decade ago, very much into the bodybuilding community. You know, he was lifting a lot of weights, he was in shows, he was really in it, he was doing it. And so he was training clients in that same realm. And that’s where he saw a lot of disorder; not only eating, but also disordered thinking. You know, a lot of body dysmorphic issues, a lot of unfortunate drug use, a lot of overconsumption of different supplements that actually aren’t necessarily healthy on the body, it’s stressing the body in many ways. And this is where he shares a lot of stories, whether men or women, it didn’t matter, this community seemed to have a flavor of a lot of control over their exercise regimen, and then their food. And of course, it’s not everyone who’s into bodybuilding. But for him, in his experience and his community, it was a real big issue. And he even identifies with himself having an eating disorder simply around that time of his life. It was actually something that when we started dating, we were able to relate to one another. And we were both so like, impressed and happy that we met each other at a time that we overcame those obstacles. We felt so privileged that we feel so healthy, and our mindset is so balanced, that it’s interesting for us that when we end up going out to eat, and we end up eating something that isn’t necessarily in a category of like a healthy food, we both actually celebrate it, because we both can do it without judging ourselves. And so we encourage it here and there. Where for other people, eating junk food, or eating things that aren’t so healthy for them is actually something that they crave or they do day to day, and they have a different relationship with it. So our relationship is that it’s nice for us to kind of dip into those kind of foods, because we restricted ourselves for so many years, that now that we could do it without the judgment, the shame, the guilt, it’s actually something that we have so much Food Freedom around, that we like celebrate it, and we see how far we’ve both come in very different type of disordered eating. So I hope that answers your question Steph. I think it is so interesting to me to see that this is not a gender specific type of condition, or diagnosis or experience. This is absolutely something that all human beings of any age can really go through. And they have their own unique experience. And they come out of it in a very unique way. And I just find it to be so inspirational, to be honest, when I do meet people who have overcome it, because there’s just so, they’re stronger for it, and they can teach others about it, and they can inspire others. And so that’s kind of the category that I like to fall into. And I’m excited that I have a partner that can really relate to it as well.
Stephanie Greunke 40:52
Yeah, thank you so much for sharing that, I um, it was really interesting to hear her talk about how it can present differently and in men and in females. And how she saw that, with the men that she was working with, she saw a lot more binge eating and some orthorexia. And, and also bulemia and there is like this emphasis on exercising and being cut and toned. And I think sometimes we just, we don’t give each other enough credit or grace that we’re both navigating a lot of what is being shown to us as like the perfect body image and how we’re supposed to look. And so just, yeah, I think having the conversations and also being open minded to let them express, your partner express what they’re feeling so that we can have that safe space, like we talked about, not just for our kids, but for each other.
Elana Roumell 41:37
Oh, no question. Absolutely. What is another maybe takeaway that you got from the show the interview with Dana?
Stephanie Greunke 41:44
I think being really mindful of verbals and non verbals. And again, this isn’t about perfection, this isn’t about going back into your past and thinking about all the things that you did wrong, but just feeling empowered with this information to start doing something about it if you identify as possibly exhibiting these behaviors that we want to start changing. And also, I think it was really important, she mentioned this in the podcast, but being cautious about how you praise friends. And so maybe you’ll see a friend at the park that you haven’t seen in a while. And you may say something with all like good intent, saying like, “Oh, my gosh, you look great, have you lost weight?” or “Oh my gosh, your skin looks so clear, like what have you been doing?”, and praising their external appearance. And they may take that, and they may be really excited that you say that, but they also may take it in the sense of well, was I not good enough beforehand, or Oh, my gosh, she was judging my skin beforehand. And now it’s clear, and now I’m good, or they’re little one may be around you when you’re saying those things. So I think again, that mindfulness practices is so important, and also understanding that we’re human, and these are ingrained and giving ourselves grace when we do identify that they happen.
Elana Roumell 43:00
I loved how she brought that up. And it’s so interesting, because we all have that inclination to want to say that to someone, or we have that instinct that we want to compliment. And I’m such of the belief that you should always compliment if you have something nice to say, say it, and we got to now say it mindfully. So it’s so interesting, that we really have to take a big step with being observant with our language. And I really loved how she gave those examples that you just repeated. I think for me, the biggest takeaway too, is just the whole mindset part of it. And what I loved actually, about Dana’s work is her whole entire focus is on mindset. She knows she could do the nutrition part, or she if she wanted to, she can delve into, you know, I don’t know the exercise part. But she goes, she doesn’t want to dilute herself with that. Because the mindset is such a big part, she just refers to others, in order to help her clients with that. She sees there’s so much work to do with the mindset part, that that’s her gift to others. And I think she does a great job with that. And I love how she goes to different schools to teach groups. And, you know, she really teaches teachers and parents and other caregivers, how to be with their children. And again, it’s all about just being proactive and knowledgeable and educated. So we can just do our best because we’re going to fit, we’re going to make mistakes, we’re going to overcompliment, we’re going to say the wrong things, and maybe trigger. And we can also take responsibility for it as parents and you know, clean it up and then just keep on moving forward as best as we can just being as mindful as possible. So there’s just such a great, powerful mindset piece about this whole thing. And I was just very intrigued with some of her tools. I’m so glad we were able to share that with you guys on the on the podcast.
Stephanie Greunke 44:40
Yeah, absolutely. Life is messy. And we’re all perfectly imperfect. So, love this episode. Thank you so much for interviewing her. And we will put all of the resources that she outlined again in the show notes for this episode. So if you miss them in the interview with her, you can find out all of the tools and resources she has that are about raising body competent kids. So thank you. Thank you, Elana for this interview.
Elana Roumell 45:06
Oh, my pleasure. I mean she was so wonderful. I love all the interviews, we get to do, they are treats for all of us.
Stephanie Greunke 45:12
All right. That’s it for today. I really hope you enjoyed the interview with Dana and our recap. I think these episodes are so powerful, because unfortunately, there’s a lot of negativity, there’s bullying that’s happened, we are so hard on ourselves. So learning how to build that self love armor, to protect ourselves from those critiques and criticism and the comparison on social media is so important. And as a reminder, thank you to our partner Tessamaes. Don’t forget to try the creamy Green Goddess, which I absolutely love. And I know you will love to. And if you’re interested in trying their single serve pouches, I would love to hear how those work for you, and if your kids enjoy that special little treat in their lunch box. Right now Tessamaes is offering our listeners a great deal, so you can get 15% off your entire purchase if you go to their website and use code, wholemamas15, that’s WHOLEMAMAS15, and this offer ends on September 30, so you don’t want to miss out. If you enjoyed this episode, please help us out by sharing our podcast with your mama friends and writing us a review on iTunes. Let us know what you enjoyed about this episode and help us grow our village. You can also visit our website for mamasclub.com/podcast to review show notes, find past episodes and leave comments and questions for future shows. And we also have a transcript available on there too. So if you want to search the notes and see what you miss, you are welcome to do so. And as always, please remember that the views and ideas presented on this podcast are for informational purposes only. All information content and material presented on the podcast is not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis and or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider. Consult your provider before starting any diet supplement regimen or to determine the appropriateness of the information shared on this podcast, or if you have any questions regarding pediatrics, pregnancy or your prenatal treatment plan. Now go on, have a great day, and nourish and nurture yourself and your family.
- Steph and Dr. Elana’s takeaways from the interview and personal experiences with disordered eating
- Signs to look for that may signal disordered eating in kids
- How childhood interactions can lead to issues later in life
- How to build your child’s self-love armor
- Navigating compliments other adults give your kids
- Being mindful of how we talk about our own bodies or how we talk to other adults about image
- Dana’s resources to support parents in raising body confident kids
- Connect with Dana on Instagram
- Read Dana’s article on our website
- Learn more about Whole Mamas Pregnancy Program
- Sign up for our Weekly Pregnancy Emails
- Take the Free Mini-Course at Dr. Elana’s Med School For Moms
- Schedule an appointment with Dr. Elana
- Follow Steph and Elana on Instagram
- Whole Mamas Podcast Archive
This episode's guest
The Whole Mamas podcast is led by Stephanie Greunke, a registered dietitian, and Dr. Elana Roumell, a naturopathic doctor, both trained in functional medicine and passionate about pregnancy, postpartum, and pediatrics. They invite experts on the show, answer burning questions, highlight key points, and make sure you feel empowered to take action. Find Whole Mamas and the Whole Mamas hosts on Instagram @wholemamasclub, @stephgreunke, @drelanaroumell, and at www.wholemamasclub.com.