by Coco Peate
To the lady who was throwing up her lunch in the bathroom stall next to me...
I could hear you, I knew what you were doing, and I cried a little for you. I wanted to knock on your stall and put my arm around you and tell you that you needed to stop. I wanted to tell you that you needed to love yourself enough to get past everything that brought you to this point. I know, however, that it’s not that easy. Moving past an eating disorder can seem impossible. I know the desperate feeling that eating even a very small amount of food can cause you. It can be so hard for people who haven’t been there to know what this is like.
I do hope and pray that one day soon someone will ask you what you need in order to get better. I hope that they listen, that they understand, and that they help you. Your honesty and courage and their compassion and love will help see you through. I know that being told that you need to eat, that it's what's on the inside that matters, that just "eating healthy counts" are not the words that help. I know you can't see how your already very small pants barely stayed on your tiny frame or how your arms were so thin that I wondered how long you have been struggling.
Perhaps this is new to you, or you have been doing this for so long that you can’t remember when it started. Please know that there is always a way out. It’s not easy, but know that it can get better. It starts with knowing your worth just as you are and deciding that you must love yourself. Once you can appreciate and value yourself, change can happen.
Guest Post By Bernadette Lueck
As parents it is our responsibility to take care of our children. They are our focus and passion. I have learned over the years from parenting my own eight children that kids can teach us so much. If we listen carefully they will remind us to take the same care of the big kid in all of us.
If you are full stop eating:
How often do we hear from our children that they can't finish their dinner because they are too full. We on the other hand will eat every bite because it tastes good or we perceive that the uneaten food must be thrown away. Sometimes we even finish their plate because we don't want it to go to waste. We lose sight of the fact that foods primary purpose is to nourish us. Putting on extra pounds over the years comes from lots of missed opportunities to listen to our "I'm full" signal.
Give this a try next time you sit down to eat. Eat slowly and enjoy your meal. After 15 minutes ask yourself if you are full. If the answer is yes, put the rest away for a snack later or for the next meal.
Keep it clean, simple and colorful:
Children like simple food. They often like food that is free of sauces and gravies. Our diets should be clean of extra breading and fat. Vegetables should be clean of anything that takes their natural color and flavor away. Try to eat a rainbow of color each day. Food that are colorful are full of antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Avoid food that comes in a box.
Go outside for a little recess:
Vitamin D is an important vitamin that many adults are deficient. Our bodies will produce Vitamin D in response to sunlight. Vitamin D is essential for bone strength as it helps the body process calcium from the diet. Take time to soak in a few minutes of sunshine and fresh air each day.
Take a nap and go to bed on time:
Getting proper sleep is important in the prevention of depression, heart disease and mental clarity. Disrupted or shortened sleep has also been shown to contribute to obesity and hormonal disorders. Set a bed time for yourself and be strict about it. Have a nightly routine of a little quiet reading, journaling or a non stressful television program.
Don't eat things that are foreign to you:
We have become so trusting when it comes to the foods we eat. Many of the foods we eat are processed or genetically modified. The next time you are at the store, look at the ingredient list of the food that you are considering buying. Do you know what each ingredient is and why it is there? If the answer is no than don't trust it as being wholesome and nourishing.
Bring a Sack Lunch:
Pack a healthy lunch for yourself each day. Include lean protein, some vegetables and fruit and water. When we take the time to carefully plan our nutrition we don't fall victim to the fast food lunch. You'll be saving money as well as nourishing yourself.
Crawl before you walk:
When our children are born we don't expect them to walk until after they crawl and not run until after they walk. Be kind and loving to yourself and remember that healthy, positive change involves those baby steps.
I love milk and I am certain I know why. Yes, it tastes good and it has many health benefits for myself and my family, but I’m convinced that my love of milk comes from spending many summers in México as a child and many winters in Chicago.
I lived in México until I was 5 years old and then went back to visit almost every summer until I was an adult. One of the most vivid memoires from my time trips was watching my aunt milk the family cows. She would wash her hands, grab her red bucket from the kitchen counter and always ask me if I wanted to go with her. I really enjoyed going with her to milk the cows. I liked this quite time with her and I felt great to be picked for such an important chore in the house. Milking the cows seemed to take forever and I swear my aunt would sweat a little bit - it was hard work after all! When we were done, we would head back to her kitchen. The moment the milk made its way into the house we had an instant party. Family members seemed to just pop into the kitchen for a glass! My tia would get to work right away – the milk usually ended up in a rice pudding that afternoon or in a delicious gelatina, yum! In the evenings the adults poured it liberally into their café con leche, of course.
Back in Chicago, my early memories of milk take place on cold Chicago evenings. I grew up with 4 kids in a small Southside apartment and I’m certain that we contributed significantly to the local economy with the amount of milk that our family consumed. I can recall so many evenings when the snow was on the ground and the temperature outside was bone chilling. Then my mamí would announce “aye, la leche!” when we were almost or completely out of milk and that was REALLY bad in our home. My brother always had cereal before going bed and my father needed it for his oatmeal first thing in the morning. My mamí would get dressed and walk to the local market in that bitter cold, just for milk. Many times I went with her. When I run out to the grocery store at 10:30 p.m. so that my kids won’t wake up to a milkless house I always think of my mamí and her late night milk runs, but I live in sunny southern California, thank goodness!
In college I had a small fridge in my dorm room – always with a small milk container, of course! Fast forward many years to my life now. I am mother to 4 young kids. In our home, milk is a staple part of our diet. For the most part, my kids only drink milk and water.
Given my appreciation for milk, I am very proud to announce my role as Positivity Ambassador. I have teamed up with the California Milk Processors Board and some amazing Latina Mom Bloggers to share with you the many benefits of making milk a part of a healthy lifestyle. Between now and Christmas I’ll be doing a series of posts on milk’s benefits, easy tips on incorporating milk into our busy lives and my favorite milk based recipes. I will be sharing this information with you with help of the campaign’s fun (and fictional) mascot, The Master of the Glass Half Full, aka “El Maestro Del Vaso Medio Lleno.” Check out this video of The Master at work - he certainly has a passion for milk!
He is basically the world’s most passionate advocate for milk, so I like him already, but it’s his positive attitude and outlook on life that I truly love. No matter how much he drinks or pours, the Master’s glass of milk is always half full – always! What a great philosophy to live by, to see the positive in all things (I could use help in this area!).
Disclosure: This is part of a sponsored campaign with the California Milk Processor’s Board and Latina Mom Bloggers.