“Present” is a guest post from Intuitive Eating specialist, Tiffany Schwieterman. If you’ve struggled with yo-yo dieting or obsessive thoughts about weight that have robbed you of a full, free life, you’ll love this article from Tiffany. You can learn more about Tiffany and her work on her website: www.tiffanyschwieterman.com
My daughter was born on Christmas Eve, 2010. I wanted to be a Mom more than ANYTHING.
I longed to be able to hold and snuggle my infant/toddler as much as possible. When I was a baby, I would have been content in my Mom’s arms 24-7. When she dropped me off with my baby-sitter, she had to bring an extra shirt. She would leave the shirt that she had been wearing, and my baby-sitter would put it on. I was okay…as long as I could at least smell my Mom.
My daughter however, wanted “down” as soon as had the skills to make that request physically and/or verbally. She was happy to be dropped off at daycare. She fed herself as soon as she was able. She hasn’t allowed me to pick out her outfit or dress her since she turned two. She didn’t want me to walk her down the hall to her preschool classroom, she wanted to go by herself. You get the picture – an independent soul.
As parents, there are so many things that we would do, if we could, to create an ideal world for our children. For me, that would include creating a world where diet culture doesn’t interfere with her life.
I hope that diet culture never…
- Steals the joy that she experiences from moving and challenging her body.
- Makes her doubt the healthy relationship that she has with food and her body.
- Occupies her time and energy that could be better spent on her academics, career aspirations, hobbies, friendships, relationships, or enjoying motherhood (If that’s what she wants).
My daughter is the greatest Christmas present I could ever receive. I have realized over the past 17 months of my Intuitive Eating journey, that one of the greatest presents I can give back to her, is for me to be PRESENT.
For almost the first seven years of her life, I had obsessive thoughts about food and my body – EVERY DAY. I packed her up, and took her to a Weight Watchers (WW) meeting when she was THREE DAYS old. A meeting that I had planned to attend and anxiously waited for, months before she was born. I remember being at a WW meeting after I had a lost a significant amount of weight. I was being congratulated (for my obsessive life-sucking thoughts and behaviors). I was asked how I was so successful. I replied “I never deviate from the plan. I know how I’m going to spend my daily and bonus points for the entire week ahead.” Even the WW leader had the wherewithal to feel and look concerned. He asked “What about the unexpected treats in the office break room, or a surprise date night?” I replied:
“I don’t allow myself to participate in anything unplanned – it’s not worth it.”
Um…what? It’s not worth it? Avoiding spontaneity and surprises at all costs? How sad. This mentality continued no matter what diet I was on during the years that followed. If I was following the plan, I was a superior being. If I deviated in any way, I was disgusting. Needless to say, I was not PRESENT. I wasn’t present or connected in/with my own body. I certainly wasn’t fully participating in life.
I was very happily married, I was proud of my jobs, and I loved being a Mom. Simultaneously, diet culture was robbing me of so much time, energy, and opportunities for fun and connection.
I can now easily enjoy spontaneous sushi dates with my daughter. I can do this without feeling stressed about going “off plan,” or considering it a “cheat meal.” I can easily eat the special Christmas cookie that she made me, without trying to estimate how many calories I’m consuming. I can go on a walk with her and our dog, without being frustrated if we aren’t going fast or long enough to be “worth it.”
I couldn’t dream of a better Christmas present than my daughter. Intuitive Eating and Health At Every Size has given me the gift of being able to be PRESENT for her, the rest of our family, my friends, passions, clients and…me.
-This is a guest blog post written by a wonderful Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, Tiffany Schwieterman, located in Vancouver, WA.