Nourished & Free™

Raising Kids to Have a Good Relationship with Food with Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC

March 28, 2023 Michelle Yates, MS, RD, LMNT Episode 26
Nourished & Free™
Raising Kids to Have a Good Relationship with Food with Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC
Show Notes Transcript

For women who are working on their relationships with food, it's natural to ask the question "how do I help my kids not have the same problems I did?". We're diving into all things intuitive eating for kids in this episode with special guest, Crystal Karges.

Topics Covered 👇

  • [0:09] Who is Crystal Karges?
  • [1:37] Crystal's story of struggling with an ED and being triggered in motherhood
  • [4:33] What to do when becoming pregnant triggers your ED
  • [10:13] Feeding your own kids with a history of an ED
  • [15:24] But if I let my kids eat whatever they want, they'll just eat goldfish all day!
  • [19:39] Black and white thinking when it comes to feeding kids
  • [21:47] How to teach your kids intuitive eating when you don't have it all figured out
  • [28:58] What to say to kids to encourage positivity around food and their bodies
  • [32:05] Letting your kids have experiences with food
  • [36:04] Resources from Crystal

Crystal's Bio:
Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and Intuitive Eating Counselor. Crystal specializes in maternal health and child feeding, working with mothers in the perinatal period and beyond to help them heal from generational cycles of diet culture, mother free from food guilt and body shame, and raise intuitive eaters.

Connect with Crystal:

? My Signature 4-Month Program, Nourished & Free
? Follow me on Instagram (you'll get to know me pretty quickly ?)
? Check out my Blog for tons of helpful articles

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 Welcome back to the show where we talk all things intuitive eating, disordered eating, body image, and how to create a healthy relationship with food. I am so excited to have Crystal Karges here today. Crystal is a registered dietician nutritionist, international board certified lactation consultant, and intuitive eating counselor.

She specializes in maternal health and child feeding, so I'm so thrilled that we get to have her on the show today to talk. Raising intuitive eaters. She loves working with mothers in the perinatal period and beyond to help them heal from the generational cycles of tight culture and help free mothers from food, guilt and body shame while raising their little intuitive eaters.

You're going to love this episode, and when you finish, I would love it if you would leave a rating and review and let us know what you thought of this and share it with all of your friends who would find it helpful. All right, let's. 

All right. We've 

got Crystal here. 

Welcome. Welcome. Thank you. It's such a blast to be here.

Oh my gosh. I'm so honored. We've been trying to get this on the schedule for quite some 

time. . Yes, I know. That's mom life. . It really is. I think we've 

actually been talking for like a year about this episode. 

I think we're already here long. I'm so glad to finally be here. Yeah. Yeah, 

me too. So Crystal, I, I would love.

For the listeners who don't know, you have never come across you before. Um, can you just share your story and like your story with disordered eating and getting into dietetics, all of that. I'd love to hear. Sure. I would love to 

Thank you for asking. So yeah, I struggled with an eating disorder in my late teens and early twenties and it was, it was rough.

It was rough there for a while and. Thankfully was able to connect to the help and resources that I needed for, for healing and to find recovery. And you know, it was just such a bumpy road in so many ways. And one thing that I did not expect was how things would resurface for me when I became a mom. And so I was.

Thankful to have some recovery under my belt before I became pregnant with my first, and, you know, which was a miracle in itself because I was told by so many doctors and healthcare providers that because of my eating disorder, that I would have difficulty conceiving on my own. You know, and, and thankfully we were able to and didn't have any issues.

But once I became pregnant and stepped into our traditional prenatal care system, it was just such, it was just like a minefield for me. And thankfully I didn't relapse into my eating disorder, but it was a struggle in terms of body image and just the weight centric approach to prenatal care. And you know, I went from not weighing myself and not owning a scale to being weighed like multiple times over the course of my prenatal treatment.

And so, . It was just rough and I think it really resurfaced a lot of old wounds for me. And you know, then it came time to actually feeding my own kid , and that was like a whole other ballgame too. And I think through this process of my own recovery journey, and then also like wanting to raise children.

Who don't experience the same struggles that I did around food in my body has been so eye-opening for me and has taught me so much and there's so much that I've learned and so much I'm still learning. But you know, it just has really made me see like how much diet culture really permeates like. Whole motherhood journey and feeding kids and raising kids, and so I just, through my own experiences, am just on a mission to help moms, you know, raise kids who are intuitive eaters and so we can truly like raise up this generation of children who don't struggle with disordered eating and body image issues.


What a beautiful mission. What a beautiful mission. I think so many of us were raised by,  is boomers, right? Is it baby boomers that raise millennials? And, and there's just, there was so much diet culture that we grew up with and yeah. It's so hard to not just automatically pass that on because it's how you were raised, you know?

Right. And there has to be this active rewiring of like, no, I'm not gonna do that. I'm going to be different. And, you know, changing the tone. Um, and I, I, man, like you talking about, Prenatal care, bringing up old wounds for you. I was like, wow, I didn't realize that's kind of what happened for me too. . Mm-hmm.

like, yeah, you are weighed all the time. You know, like, 

and it's. When 

you're pregnant, you just, you get objectified more than 

any other time. I think , right? And it feels like everything that you're doing is being scrutinized. Like I remember like my ob like questioning my weight gain over a certain period of time and you know, like that can be so triggering for someone you know, who is an eating disorder recovery or even, even if you just.

are, are still having a positive relationship with food, but all of a sudden being questioned about how your body's changing. Like it can just throw you for a loop. 

Yeah. It's really hard not to let that throw 

you through a loop. 

Right? Yeah. And yeah, I remember when I was pregnant with my son and he's nine months now, he, when we were doing the 20 week anatomy scan and everything, um, I had midwives for this one and they were awesome.

Loved them. They were great. Hmm. Um, But one of the , this still like blows my mind. This is gonna like make your blood boil. I feel like , I feel like she came in and told me that. Um, he was measuring a little big, he was measuring the 95th or something like that, percentile, and she was like, if you wanna get ahead of that a little bit, then you can have less than a hundred carbs a day.

And anyway, she like told me that about the a hundred grams of carbs and I literally just like, did not know what to say. It was like one of those moments where you're like, I am so shocked somebody said this that I don't know how to respond. . 

Yeah, that is so. It's so unfortunate because it's comments like that that can just like completely derail us during pregnancy and like, well, what do I do?

And these are comments that we hear throughout. Our motherhood journey. It's like you start taking your kids to your well check appointments and all these numbers get thrown at us. And I think, yeah, that can start to see these really early rooted fears around our child's body, around their size and you know, can cause us to question like whether or not we can really trust our kids.

And I really feel like those. Those early beginnings of feeling like we can't trust our kids and we can't trust our bodies, can really interfere with the feeding relationship that we're supposed to have with them as they grow up. And you know, it's just really unfortunate, like, Unfortunately, our medical care system is very like rooted in diet culture, and so yeah, I just feel like as moms we need to be like armed.

We need to understand like when this information is being thrown at us, how to interpret it correctly. Otherwise, like it can really send us down these dark rabbit holes that are hard to get out of. Totally. 

Yeah. Even that comment, it sent me into this like minor spiral where I was like, wait, should I only, and then I was like, no, no, no, like I'm a dietician.

I can think about this logically. That makes no sense at all. That's super low. I'm like halfway through my pregnancy. I definitely need more energy than that. Yeah, good for you. And he ended up being like fairly small too. Like he came early and I was like, this is stupid . 

I know. Like there's so much mis serpent misinterpretation around how our kids grow and Right.

Again, like I've heard so many stories of that like where you know, providers like your kid's too small, you need to pressure them to eat or your. Getting too big. You need to restrict and that is so detrimental to that child, like being able to learn how to self-regulate and yeah, it creates so much like anxiety for moms and parents.

And so man, I really feel for you and it, yeah, that does make my blood boil.  . 

I actually posted about that story, and I don't know if you're in any Facebook groups for dieticians, but I posted about it and I had so many comments, like everybody was so mad. It was hilarious. And I actually ended up saying something at my next appointment.

I was like, Hey, you realize that's super triggering for people with eating disorders, right? Like please don't say that. But anyway, besides, good for you. 

Yeah. Yeah. That's the other thing is that there's not a lot of education. In general about eating disorders and for sure not in pregnancy. And you know, through my pregnancies I start to wisen up and kind of figure out how to advocate for myself.

But even like, yeah, in sharing that with my providers, like, Hey, by the way, I have this eating disorder history. Mo, most of 'em didn't know what to do with that information, you know, so it's really tricky to figure out like how to navigate it, how to advocate and like protect your recovery. Because even if you do vocalize it, unfortunately, a lot of providers just don't know how to help you or what to do, or what to do differently than what they're used to.

Yeah. And they're 

probably not gonna do anything differently, even if you do tell them 

that , sadly. Yeah. Unfortunately. It was like, okay, well it's noted in your chart, but that was it. You know? So it's, it can be hard, especially, you know, for individuals who are like actively struggling with an eating disorder, which, you know, your body's changing, your appetite's changing everything feels.

So wild  and just like, I don't even feel like I'm in my own body. And so yeah, of course it can be a triggering time, you know? Yeah. And you're, 

it's hard because you're responsible for growing this new life, and so naturally nutrition is a part of that. And, you know, we wanna give our baby the best nutrition, but, but also not obsessed about it either.

And that's so hard to find the balance. Um, yeah, for sure. And then it's tough because once they're born, it doesn't stop there. You're still responsible for feeding them and everything. Um, so how do you feel like in motherhood, especially with your kids being. Out of your belly and you're actually feeding them like food on at the table and everything.

How do you feel like your history has affected feeding them at 

the table? Yeah, that is such a good question, and I think for myself, I just have been so cognizant of my. Previous, like past behaviors around food that, you know, I've really been intentional about doing things differently and I think that's a very similar story for a lot of moms that I've worked with who have this eating disorder piece.

It's like, I wanna make sure I do everything in my power to do something differently for my kids. So like for example, I know for. . Part of my food story growing up was, you know, always being forced to like, finish everything that was put on, on my plate as a kid. . I think that's like really common for a lot of us.

Um, another common one was like sweets. Like we didn't. We weren't allowed to have sweets unless we ate like, you know, what was on our plate and sweets were really taboo and like not accessible. And so that was like part of my eating disorder too. Like I just had this like really tumultuous relationship with sweets.

And so, you know, I feel like now with my kids, Doing things that to an outsider might seem really countercultural.  and like super counterintuitive. Like what you give your kids sweets with dinner and like yeah. You know, you don't make them eat bites of their broccoli and all these different things can seem again like really counterintuitive.

But I have seen the benefits of my own children and you know, definitely am like aware sometimes I think just being in recovery, you know, There's always like those. Pieces that I think can linger in our brains about food and like, you know, like embedded like food rules and things that can come up and, and I think, I think feeding my own children has just made me even more aware of those things and made me super intentional about countering them and doing the opposite of like what has felt, you know, comfortable for me.

Especially when I was struggling with my eating disorder. And so, yeah, it's been, It's been so fun. I love watching my kids eat and I think seeing my kids eat. Yeah, right. And like seeing how they regulate and seeing like how, how they enjoy food. It has been so healing for me. Even like, you know, I've been in recovery for, You know, over 15 years and I've, I still like, am so rewarded by watching my kids eat and just have like a very easy relationship with food.

And it, it does encourage me in the work that I've been doing, cuz it hasn't always been easy and there's been so many things that I've wanted to do and or have done with my kids that haven't come natural to me. And so I think seeing those things, it's like the fruit of our labor, right? It's like we're seeing our kids benefit from.

Being intentional around how we engage with them around food. Yeah. It's 

so funny that you say you love watching your kids eat, cuz I always feel like so weird saying that, but I feel the same way. That's one of my favorite things with my babies is when we're introducing solids, I like live for it. I don't mind the mess.

I think it's so cute and it's so fun. And it's the last they're experiencing it and it's, there's zero negativity with it, right? Like there's Yeah. No reason for them to feel negative about it and. And then there's that, like that sense of responsibility that like I'm the one that will introduce negativity if I let that happen

So I'm right to like actively fight. Not to do that. But it's hard because like I catch myself sometimes, even thinking like with my daughter, if she wants like another cookie or something like that, it's like, oh man, I'm so tempted to just be like, she's a picky eater too. So it's especially, it's like so tempting to just be like, no, and like create all this negativity, create all these rules, create this.

Like, no, you need to eat this first before you can even eat that. But then I'm. What good has that ever done? Literally anybody . 

Yeah. But you, you bring up such a good point that so much of it has to do with us learning to manage our own distress and discomfort that comes up around how our kids may naturally eat.

You know, and it's so much. . It has less to do with them and more to do with us, like managing our own stuff. But yeah, I have a couple selective eaters too, and that can be really triggering in a lot of ways when like mm-hmm. , you're presenting multiple things and they don't want to eat much of anything.

You know, like I'm aware of what's coming up for me and it's sometimes it's hard to. You know, deal with your own discomfort and, and be really intentional about not projecting that on your kids, especially when they're on their fourth cookie or they only ate the bread from dinner, not anything else. It's like, all right, I gotta work through this myself and not project my anxiety on them.


That's so good. I love that you pointed that out, that it's more so about the parent than it is about the kid. Um, whenever I talk about intuitive eating, I, I always end up getting somebody that's, , well, how am I supposed to teach this to my kids? Because if I just let them eat whatever they want, they're just gonna have goldfish all day, or they're just gonna have whatever ice cream all day.

Uh, yeah. How would you respond to somebody that says that? 

Yeah, I'm, I'm smiling because I love this question so much because what, what inevitably happens. Many of us who are healing our relationship with food find intuitive eating right? Like it's, it's an amazing approach to healing our relationship with food, to reconnecting to our body.

And one thing that's important to distinguish is that,  Intuitive eating was an approach for individuals who have a broken relationship with food, right? Mm-hmm. . So it was coined by, you know, Elise Resh and Evelyn Trai, and there's a whole book and it's like an amazing philosophy to food and I think the confusion is a translating that to children.

Yeah, and what we have to remember is that our kids are already like born with their innate, intuitive eating abilities intact. Like that is not something that we have to teach them. We don't have to teach them how to feel their hunger or like respect their hunger. Respect their fullness, or, you know, break or challenge the dieting mentality.

Like they're not born that way. They're born with these intact, intuitive eating abilities. , but they're still learning. Like they're still learning how to eat. Learning how to eat is a skill that they're developing. And so I think there's like sometimes a little bit of a disconnect when it comes to like, I'm learning how to eat intuitively now, how do I translate this to my kids?

And we have to remember that when it comes to our children, it's less about what we have to teach them and more about how can we preserve the intuitive eating abilities.  already have. And another common misconception when it comes to doing that with kids is this idea that like, okay, then I'll just let them eat whatever they want whenever they want.

Like free reign of the fridge and pantry. Because I think we're almost afraid of the opposite. Like I don't want my kids to feel restricted. Right. Um, and we also kind of lose. Lose sight of the bigger picture. And that is that as parents and caregivers, it is important for us to take leadership with food For our children.

We don't wanna put the responsibility on them to figure out what to prepare for a meal or snack. Like we of course wanna be considerate of their preferences, but our kids also need us to take that responsibility, right? So like, Provide regular food, uh, regular eating times, and to provide food throughout the day to provide a reliable structure.

And a flexible routine with food, but within those parameters, allow them autonomy to listen to what their bodies want. So, you know, sometimes that means, okay, I'm deciding as a parent that I wanna offer goldfish and apple slices and peanut butter for, for a snack. But there's a very real possibility that your kid's just gonna want the goldfish, you know,  and.

and that's okay. Right. I think the other thing that I see too is that sometimes, uh, parents, especially if you're a parent in recovery or you have struggled with your own stuff around food, sometimes parents come into this with their own hidden agenda. It's like, okay, well if I'm dictating what I'm offering my kid, it's only gonna be x, y, and.

and then we formulate our own rules about what we're offering them. You know, so there's a lot of nuance obviously in this area. But I think just like the main overarching picture to understand is that you don't have to teach your kids how to eat intuitively. It's more about trusting them, it's more about preserving their abilities.

And the main way that we do that is, uh, you know, kind of doing our job with feeding and trusting our kids to do their part with eating. 

Yeah. I love that. That's so good. That's so good. You bring up so many good nuances that I think are really important to hit on. And it's so, it's just, it's not black and white and that I think 

drives people crazy , 


Like, I just want the 

rules . Yeah. But you know, that is, So interesting too is that, and I see this especially with mom, I, I primarily work with moms in eating disorder recovery and sometimes, like, we're so used to that prescriptive way of eating, whether it was from our eating disorder or chronic dieting, and to not have that in place often feels really scary.

And I see the same translated when it comes to feeding K. It's like, this is too scary for me. Just give me like the exact. Rules that I need to follow. Mm-hmm. , give me the scripts, tell me what to do, tell me what to say. And that can only take you so far because every parent-child relationship is going to be different.

And the goal is for us to be responsive to the child in front of us. And frameworks can only take you so far with that. You know, like for example, I know a lot of parents latch onto the division of responsibility, and this can probably be a whole. Subject in itself. But you know, it's important to understand that your child may not fit into a certain framework for various different reasons, and we don't want frameworks to now become a new set of food rules that we've adopted, right?

Because then that just makes your feeding approach rigid, which is very likened eating disorder rules and behaviors. And so you. We wanna like break free of that and have flexibility around food because that's real life. That's, that's absolutely real life. But yeah, a lot of nuance and also just a lot of compassion.

Like so many of us as parents are navigating this and trying to figure out a way to feed our kids that we did not experience growing up. And so I think it's important to have self-compassion and just give yourself grace through this process because it's, it's, it's hard. It's really. And it's rewarding, but there's a lot of stuff that can come up too that's, that's difficult to navigate.

Absolutely. Yeah. And as 

you were talking about the, um, you know, with raising intuitive leaders, it's like you don't necessarily need to teach them how to do it. You're just almost like facilitating them, trusting their own instincts. Right. Um, I'm imagining that, you know, there's women out there that, or any caregiver out there who's thinking about that and is thinking like, well, okay, so if my kid already knows, Theoretically how to feed themselves and how much and all of that.

But I have been broken by diet culture, and I have all these food rules and I still don't know how to do that for myself. Then I think you kind of touched on this before, that disconnect is so hard, right? When it's like, how do we. Help our kids with knowing what they're  or I guess just trusting what they already know 

when we don't even know that 

anymore, you know?

So do you see that a lot with women, that they are really desiring that for their kids and they're trying to force something that they haven't even learned how to do them, or I guess relearned how to do themselves? Does that 

make sense? Oh yeah. And this is. I see like the trust issue come up a lot where, you know, a mom may be figuring out.

How to trust herself or like reconnect to her own body, to her own appetite. And if you think about it, eating disorders are very dissociative, right? Like they dissociate us from reality, from our bodies as a protective mechanism in a lot of ways. And so it can feel really foreign to learn to come back into your own body and to also like trust your child's body, especially when things that your child is doing.

Don't match your own expectations, like when there's a gap between expectations and reality. And this is also fueled by what I like to call kid food, Instagram , right? Like, yeah, . It's wild out there. Like sometimes I look at some of the things that people are following and I'm just like, Wow. Like it, it just boggles my mind, like these beautiful, like rainbow colored bento boxes with every kind of food that you can imagine,

I'm like, my kid will eat like 10% of that . You know, like, yeah. And I just think that that also feeds into this as well. It's not only our. History and our food story and our experiences and our bodies that are influencing how we feel about our kids. But it's also, you know, the expectations that are being built and created by people around us, by what we see on social media.

Um, all these things are influencing our expectations. And again, when there there is that gap, I think it really can make it harder for us to trust, you know, the child in front of us. But, you know, knowing. Eating doesn't look, it's not a one size fits all, and I think that can help us lean into the process with more trust.

Yeah. Yeah. , 

I love the, the kid food. Instagram. Yeah. There's, that's just like, it's another way for us to compare ourselves and like, we, we do that enough, you know, , we don't 

need to bring that in anymore. I know, and I, I think too, as, as moms in particular that we, we. We feel like how we feed our kids or how our kids eat is a direct reflection of ourselves.

And so I feel like, you know, it's like if my kid's a picky eater, if they're a selective or if they have a really large appetite or all these things, like it feels like a direct. Reflection of us. And so I, you know, hear it from moms all the time who feel like they've internalized, like how their kids eat as a personal failure, you know, because we put so much pressure on ourselves and we're constantly like comparing to other people.

And I think when we give ourselves permission to let go of that, it allows us to connect with the child in front of us, which again, that is the most important thing, you know. Our kids are all different. They all have unique personalities. They all have different temperaments and different ways that they're gonna experience the world.

And I think when we can learn to kind of put the blinders on what other people are doing and, and pay attention to our own child, that that's where it can really kind of foster and facilitate greater trust. You 

just like said so many really profound things in like five seconds , . That was like so good.

And I know. That there are women listening to this or caregivers listening to this that are like, I needed to hear that. I needed to hear that. The way that my child is eating is not a direct reflection of me. Because I think that's really what's going on at the root. And I catch that in myself too sometimes, like with my picky eater, it's like I can get so frustrated and then I think about it and I start to.

Why is this frustrating me? Why, what is this doing in me right now? And, and a lot of times it does come back to that, it comes back to something that's like selfishly motivated, right? Yeah. And it's, and I see this too, like in, you know, if people post in a mom's group or something and they're like, my kid like won't eat healthy foods and they're getting overweight and like, they're, so, they're just starting to freak out, right?

And you can just see that it's anxiety about how that's reflecting on them and. Like again, compassion. That's like understandable, right? That we feel that way because we are the caregiver and we feel like. Everything that our kids do is because of us , you know? Ah, not always, but it, it's like we internalize 

everything, right?

But Absolutely. Yeah. I just think 

it's important for anybody listening that relates to that to know that, man, it is not your fault if you have a picky eater or if your kid doesn't like certain foods or whatever, like they are just their own little human, and you need to connect with them as a human.

Rather than letting that stop you from, from seeing them. You know, I think 

that's so, yeah. That's so well said. I know. It's just funny how like I, I feel. God gives us the kids that we're meant to have that like need to teach us something. And yeah, my second, um, it's funny cuz you hear all these things like, okay, all these ways to avoid picky eating, like baby led weening and do this and do that.

And I did all those things and I still have selective eaters. And so it's like, look, it's less about, I think the less that we stress and the more. You know, we just accept and, and offer our kids unconditional acceptance of where they're at. Like, the easier it is for all of us and the more enjoyable food becomes because we're not putting these unrealistic expectations over our head.

You know, and, but it's hard, like, I think just acknowledging, like, especially for millennials, like how entrenched we are in social media and. Google at our fingertips and like literally like over information overwhelmed can make it so hard to navigate. But yeah, just coming back to like ourselves, our values, what we want, and letting that kind of be our North star.

Especially with something like feeding, which can bring up so many issues. Yeah, 

absolutely. What are, um, what are some things that you personally really love to say about, let's say like, well, it's gonna be different for every age group, right? So let's say for. Parents of young kids like toddler age, um, what are some things that you really love recommending?

Like, Hey, this is how we wanna talk about like, sweets or the more like, 

energy dense foods. Oh, yes. This is such a good question. Uh,  there's so much I, you know, again, a lot of this is shaped from my own experience, but I think again, kids are so used to. The demonization of foods that they enjoy. And we have to remember that developmentally, children are literal thinkers, like they're concrete thinkers.

They interpret things that we say literally, and that is appropriate developmentally for them, all the way up until like 11, 12 years old. And so, When they hear us and sometimes like, again, I don't say these things to create shame for anyone, you know, but when they hear things like, oh, too much of that is gonna make you sick, or too much of that is not good for you.

Like, they interpret those things very literally because of the way their brain is wired developmentally. And again, like this is where leaning into that trust is going to be so key. To nurturing and preserving their innate, intuitive abilities. And remembering too that part of them developing their eating skill is having experiences, right?

Like they're, they're not gonna have it figured out perfectly from the get-go. Like sometimes they're gonna overshoot it, sometimes they're going to eat to a point when they don't feel well. But if we're always like micromanaging them and being the gatekeeper of what and how they eat, they will never learn.

And have the experiences that they need to, to develop the skills that they have. And so I am a huge proponent of really like number one, like not really making food the focal point of conversation. I think that's another thing that we feel as parents is like. How do I talk to my kids about like healthy food and healthy eating, but what we don't understand is that health and nutrition are very abstract concepts to children.

Like there's so much nuance that we couldn't possibly explain to a two-year-old or a three-year-old or a four-year-old, like they're so connected to their body that. Any type of external information is only going to be interpreted as an external rule. Mm-hmm. . And so I think the best thing that we can do is just facilitate conversations that build curiosity around food and their bodies and you know, not project our.

Opinions on them, but allow them the space, the safe spaces to explore what feels best in their body. You know, I always like to remind parents like, look, the only person living your child's body is your child. And you don't know if they needed that third cookie to actually register satiety. Um, or, you know, I mean, I have so many different stories, but one that sticks out to me in particular is my, one of my daughters.

This just came to me at Halloween. When she was three, it was like her first like awareness of like the volume of candy. And that was like the first time that she had like that huge volume of candy and we just like let her go for it. And she literally ate candy to the point where she got sick and like threw up.

And that that whole experience was so uncomfortable for me to watch. And it took everything in me to restrain myself to like, You know, per, per stop myself from intervening. Cuz so much of me wanted to be like, okay, that's enough. Or we're gonna, we're gonna pack this up, we're gonna put it away. You can have more tomorrow.

But I knew deep down inside that she needed that experience to figure out like what, what felt good for her and what didn't. And you know, what's crazy is that she. I think out of all my kids has like the most chill relationship with sweets. Like she'll like eat some and then she's like done with it, you know?

And I really feel like those early experiences were important in shaping her relationship with food, but, This is kind of what I mean when we, we put it on ourselves to like wanna teach them or, or like you gotta know what's healthy and what's good and what's bad. But in reality like when we create that dogma and you know, that dichotomy with food, it only makes food more confusing and can further disconnect them from their.

Body and the, and again, the best thing I think we could do is just facilitate a safe space for them to explore, to learn how to eat a variety of different foods and to not interject our own judgment about it. And truly like kids are able to self-regulate and get what they need over the course of time.

And it really happens naturally on its own when we don't interfere and just focus again on providing and providing. 

So good. I love that story of your daughter too. I think a lot of people probably needed to hear that and just be like, okay, it's okay for them to have an experience like that because they're actually learning.

And I think that you bring up a really good point of our children, yes, are born with intuition, but they are still learning, like you've said. And so they do need to still have experiences to. Just even learn that intuition of that didn't make me feel good physically, so now I'm not sure. Yeah, they did not do that.

Again, they have to experience that in order to 

know that. Absolutely and experiences are the best teachers. Not anything that we're gonna say, not any lecture that we're gonna provide, but like it's that embodiment experience. Like when they can actually feel like, oh, my body doesn't feel good. That data like sticks in their brain and helps inform future eating experiences.

I mean, we're the same way too. It's like, oh, I went too long without eating and now I don't feel good or, , you know, kind of went overboard and now I don't feel good. Like that helps us gather data points. But yeah, like so, so many times we feel uncomfortable and we wanna interject and we do it in a protective way.

It's like, Of course we care for our kids and we want the best for them. At the same time, we want to give them, again, safe spaces to have those experiences that can sharpen and develop their skills. Yeah, 

absolutely. Well, crystal, this was so good. I know this was gonna be such. I can already hear  people saying this was 

their favorite episode,

Aw, this is such a blast. I love chatting with you. Such a good conversation to have and I know 

like it. Yeah, just with our identity that's wrapped up in motherhood and parenting like we. We need to have reminders of like, it's okay. It's okay. You're doing great. Like . Absolutely. 

Absolutely. And you're not alone,

Totally. Yeah. We're all 

just trying to figure it out. We're all just doing our 

best out here, . Exactly. 

Well, thank you so much for your time and um, yeah, let the listers know where they can find you and what they can, um, how they can connect with you if they'd like. . 

I appreciate that, Michelle. Thank you.

Yeah, so I 

host a podcast as well. It's called 

Lift the Shame, mothering free from Diet, culture, food Guilt and Body Shame, and I talk all things raising intuitive eaters and healing your relationship with food. So I'd love to connect with you there. I'm also on Instagram at Crystal Cargas, and then lastly, I.

Free virtual support group for mothers and moms to be in eating disorder recovery. And we have an amazing community that really makes it such a safe and nurturing space to just explore the challenges that come up in this intersection of motherhood and and recovery. So would love to invite you there if that is something that resonates with you, an awesome resource.

That's so cool. Thank you, Michelle. And thank you so much again for having 

me. Yes. Thank you for your time, crystal, and for your e. You are amazing, and I hope 


connect with you soon. Absolutely. Thank you all. If 

you're wanting help with mastering your own relationship with food so that you can confidently raise your intuitive eaters, feel free to visit my website in the show notes and we can talk about how to help you heal from binge eating, disordered eating, chronic dieting, all the things, and I'd love to work with you.