November 22, 2023

Intuitive Eating & The Language of Nutrition with Sarah Remmer

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Intuitive Eating & The Language of Nutrition with Sarah Remmer

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Hello. Welcome back, everyone. And welcome, Sarah. Sarah, how are you this morning?

I’m good. Thank you. How are you?

I am so good. I am really excited to have this conversation with you. I feel like I’ve had the intimate opportunity to get to know you over this past year and The amazing work that you do through our one on one work and in the group.

And you bring so much value and you’ve taught me so much. So this is going to be a really amazing conversation. And I hope one that can be really empowering to the women that are listening. So I’m excited that you’re here.

Aw, thank you for having me. I’m excited to be here.

So before I read your bio, which I’m going to make you sit through.

It’s awkward, isn’t it?

It’s awkward, but we have to, I don’t want to miss anything out. And I always think that the context is really important for people to understand. So I will make you sit through that. But before, before we do that, I’d love for you to just share, it’s the beginning of November.

Right now, which is crazy. And I’d love for you to just share what’s real, what’s alive for you right now in your life. What’s going on.

Wow. So much. I’ll try to keep it. Short and sweet. We’re wrapping. This has been a big year in business for me and my team. We’re growing at a really rapid rate, which is a little bit overwhelming.

Things are busy with my kids. I’ve got three kids and activities are in full swing and the holidays are coming up and everything. So it’s feeling a little bit overwhelming right now, but I’m hoping in November, the calm before the storm, the calm before the storm. I can just enjoy and reflect on what’s happened this year, business wise and have a little bit of relaxing time.

I don’t know if that’s possible, but I’m going to try.

Yeah. So much. It’s been such a year for you. You have, we’re going to dive into all of that, but it’s been just really incredible to witness your growth and everything that you have that you have going on. So I’m excited to dive into that today too.

So yes, you definitely need the time to. Sit back and reflect. I think we all do, right? It’s, we’re always moving so quickly into the next thing and it’s forward motion and it’s the next project and taking those sweet moments to actually step back and reflect and acknowledge ourself and acknowledge the growth is so important.

I Agree. I’m not good at it. I’m trying. We’re trying. You’re learning you that it’s important. Yeah, you’re learning. It’s a process. It’s like years of conditioning of do more, be more, do it faster. We’re all trying to peel back all those layers. You’re not the only one.

It’s nice to know. I’m not. Yeah.

Okay. I’m going to read your bio. So Sarah Remmer, Is our guest today. She’s a registered dietitian. She’s an author. She’s a writer. She’s a speaker, mom of three founder and president of the Center for Family Nutrition, which is a nutrition counseling practices practice that specializes in prenatal infant and child nutrition.

She leads a team of amazing dietitian moms who sees clients one on one to help with feeding and nutrition struggles. She’s a writer. She’s a speaker. She spends a lot of time creating nutrition content for parents, for caregivers, for teachers, and other health professionals, developing recipes and presenting on topics related to nutrition and feeding.

Sarah’s work and nutrition philosophy is Rooted in Ellen Satter’s division of responsibility in feeding the intuitive eating approach and health at every size approach. Her book food to grow on is the ultimate guide to children. Nutrition from pregnancy to packed lunches is an easy to navigate guidebook for parents that answers every nutrition question from prenatal to school aged.

And if you’re not already following Sarah on Instagram, I highly recommend it’s a good time. There is so much knowledge in there, whether you’re a parent or not, I’ll tell you that every time I land on your Instagram and check out what you’re doing one, there’s always a delicious recipe, but I’m also learning something about how to communicate with Children in my life.

And I’m always sending your posts to my friends that are parents because there’s always a little tidbit in there of, say this or don’t say this or and it causes me to really reflect back on some of the imprinting that I’ve experienced in my life and as a kid some of the language that was used that actually really impacted me in my adult life, my teenage life as well.

So I think what you do is. So important. So needed and so powerful. And I would love for you to share a little bit about the why, like what’s the why behind what you do? Did you choose nutrition or did nutrition choose you?

First of all, thank you so much for that really nice introduction. Yeah, to answer your question, I think nutrition chose me.

I I had no idea, what a dietitian was or my, my vision of dietitians actually were. People in lab coats working in the hospital in a clinical setting dealing with two feeds and TPNs and more the clinical side of things, which is very true for many dietitians. But what I didn’t know was that dietitians could work in private practice and see clients one on one clients that really wanted to change.

And it was, I think when I was in high school, I was experiencing some digestive gut related issues. And my mom found after a lot of trial and error after going to doctors and doing some testing and whatnot, she found a dietitian and I went to see this dietitian and it was like, Oh my gosh, this is absolutely amazing because I was always very interested in nutrition and be, I was always very active involved in sport And really passionate about health.

I just had no idea that someone could be could do this for a living. And so it clicked. Like probably in high school, early university time frame where I was like, this is what I need to do. This is exactly, it was like a calling of sorts. I Thought I wanted to go into nursing. So that’s what I started off in university doing is like pre nursing.

And then I discovered this and I applied at the University of Alberta. and got into the program, which was a very tough program, by the way. If you don’t know you know what a dietitian registered dietitian needs to go through for university, it is a grueling degree. It’s very hard.

And then there’s a 15 month unpaid internship at the end and then a huge exam. So it’s a very competitive internship program. When I was in school, it was. I think it was 10 or 12 percent of us who went through the degree actually got an internship. So I feel like that whole process set me up for the challenges of private practice and owning my own business.

Amazing. They need to do a better job in, at like in high school, like the job fairs of showing what. is possible with these types of careers, right? Because they can be I’m not really sure what I could create with that. And I think what you do is so incredible and we need more people devoted to this work.

Yeah, it’s one of those careers that people don’t know about, right? I always did those in high school. They Briggs test to see what type of career would suit me and my personality. And it was like helping people. Psychology, social work, that type of thing. And then marrying that with my passion for health and wellness, I think was the perfect match for me.

I love it. So for those of you, those of us that, maybe have an assumption around what a dietitian does, or maybe don’t know, could you explain a little bit about what a dietitian does? Mhm.

There are so many different roles that a dietitian could have. So dietitians work in, like I said, the clinical setting in the hospital.

They also work in public health. They can work in like in private health care centers or clinics. One on one with patients or clients. There are dietitians that do telehealth as well, just like nurses. There are dietitians that work for the government and large organizations to create facilitate.

Broad change, in our systems. And then there are dietitians that work in private practice in all areas of practice. So I, my practice focuses on, like you said, child and family nutrition. We are going into more preteen teenage as my kids get older. It’s funny. My, my practice evolves, but then there are many dietitians that work in chronic disease management and diabetes and heart disease in digestive health.

So things like celiac disease and IBS, that kind of thing. Yeah, there are many roles that a dietitian can take. Some dietitians just focus on media work. My mentor, actually, she lives in Toronto, and she is, she’s like a dietitian journalist. So she’s a freelance writer. She has a lot of copywriting for companies on food and nutrition, and that’s all she does, just a lot of media stuff.

It’s nice, I think, as a dietitian and any other health professional nowadays, you can be creative with your career and make it what you want it to be. And that’s what I have done and continue to do, which is so cool.

So why childhood nutrition for you and family? It’s a great question.

So I started out out of university in private practice. I was able to connect with another dietician who mentored me and I volunteered with her and then I started working with her. And An area that she trained me in that I had really no experience or even an interest at the time in working in was eating disorders.

And so I worked with her, trained under her and started to see clients with eating disorders. So teens, children, teens and adults. And I really grew a passion for that area of practice. And when I decided to have my own kids, I wanted to branch off on my own first of all, start my own practice.

And I just thought, I want to reach parents right at the beginning when they have babies to teach them or guide them or empower them to raise their kids to have a healthy relationship with food from day one to avoid disordered eating behaviors and eating disorder and dismantle diet culture.

And so that’s what I did. I started the Center for Family Nutrition and I started seeing clients on my own. In between, I guess I didn’t have Matt leaves. I have three kids and I took breaks. Why I didn’t really take much of a break. To be honest with you, I went right back to work, a month or two after I had babies part time and I saw clients in a little office.

Most of whom were new moms, so new moms with babies or toddlers or pregnant women. And at the time, my philosophy was a little bit cutting edge, I would say. A bit against the grain, I would say that. In my university career and in the beginning part of my dietetics career, the philosophy that we had was very much rooted in diet culture.

So a lot of dieting, a lot of you should eat this and not that this is healthy. That’s unhealthy portion size, like portion control grocery store tours where you’re reading the back of the label and telling people what to watch out for and like how much sugar to avoid and all of that. So my philosophy, I started following dietitians who created who wrote the book Intuitive Eating.

And I think I was one of the only dietitians in Canada really That adopted this philosophy so early on, and I found it really helpful in the work that I was doing with eating disorder clients and huge change. I saw huge change happen and these women and men were recovering from their eating disorder as they learned about intuitive eating and rejecting diet culture.

So that sort of was the underpinning for my new practice teaching parents how to raise kids with a healthy relationship with food. Ditching diet culture and just really nurturing their love for food and exploring food and not really. And there’s so much more, there’s so much more to the philosophy that I have in my practice, but it was just a little bit cutting edge.

And now I find that. dietitians all dietitians have taken on this philosophy because there’s a lot of research to support it now, there’s over a hundred studies we know that diet culture is very harmful and leads to disordered eating, so it’s really great to see.

Tell us more about intuitive eating and I’m sure Everyone listening has in some way been impacted by diet culture in some capacity.

So share with us a little bit more about this philosophy.

Okay, so I have to credit the two dietitians who created this philosophy and wrote the book and have conducted these studies to support their work. So Evelyn Triboli and Elise Resch are two dietitians in the U. S. And they wrote this book, Intuitive Eating, and essentially what it is It’s tuning into it’s a mind body approach to eating where you tune into your body to guide you in terms of what you’re eating.

So you’re really listening to your hunger cues and your fullness cues and you’re honoring those. And you’re they teach you how to let go of the external cues for eating. So all the pressure that we feel to reach a certain weight or to be a certain size or pressures from the outside, like what other people are saying or what other people are doing or what the media is saying, and really just be very mindful about what you’re body is saying. So it is, you really do have to let go of any goals of weight loss or changing your weight or shape or size. Because that you, it defeats the purpose because you’re really just trying to tune in. to your body and honor it. So it’s instead of, micromanaging your kids to eat more of this and eat less of that or have two more bites or finish your everything on your plate before you can have dessert.

It’s encouraging. It’s letting go. It’s doing your job, setting boundaries and structure around eating like the timing of eating and you decide what served And you decide where it’s served as parents, but then you it’s hands off and you let your kids figure out the if they eat and how much they eat part of it.

It’s very hard for parents because we grew up in a generation where, Our parents were essentially telling us exactly what to do with food and they were bribing us with food and they were rewarding us for eating certain foods. There’s a lot of diet culture and a lot of it was in order to grow kids to look a certain way and to to be a certain size.

So It’s just really letting go of that. And if we do that, and studies have now shown that if we do truly tune into our bodies and trust our bodies first and foremost, then we will grow into the body that we’re meant to grow into. It’s when we try to manipulate it and control it with external factors that we run into trouble And we start to have a negative relationship with food where we are sneaking it and hoarding it and binging on it and getting it in while we can because we feel restricted.

Yeah, that is. That makes so much sense. The intuitive approach makes so much sense. And I can imagine that’s really challenging for you. Or any dietician following this, because when you’re working with parents, you’re not exactly working with a clean slate. You’re working with their own experiences, right?

So what does that look like in supporting it, right? That journey for someone who is coming from, their own beliefs around food, their own relationship with food, potentially how they’ve been impacted with diet culture. And then how did they, how can they start fresh with building their family and building more positive relationship with food?

Good question. I think most of the parents that come to our practice are already. Open to the idea of of our approach because we’re very transparent about that on our website, on social media. I have a video on the book now page, like it’s very clear that we do not support dieting and restriction.

So I think most people are well aware that’s our philosophy. Even though, I find that when parents, when we. We see them for that first session. And I should say, I don’t see clients one on one anymore. I have a team of dietitians that I lead and I manage the practice, but we do dietitian rounds every month.

So I hear everything from the girls as to, what what they’re seeing. In terms of their clients and through my experience to counseling, this is usually what happens is parents will come to us with a concern with their child, whether it’s picky eating or a weight concern or some sort of challenge that they’re having mealtime battles or power struggles at the table.

And what we’ll learn is that the division of responsibility and feeding. So that that whole. The idea that parents are in charge of what, when, and where, and kids are in charge of if and how much they eat is completely reversed. So parents are trying to control if their child eats and how much they eat, and kids are actually in charge of what, when, and where they’re eating.

So it’s just completely out of whack. That’s usually what we see. So it’s it’s teaching parents about that division of responsibility, getting those roles in place. And then what we find is… There’s usually resistance to this, and so we really have to work with the parents themselves. It’s less working with the kids, and it’s more working with parents to work through their, their relationship with food, how they grew up, their philosophy on feeding, and where that comes from.

And their fears and what those fears are rooted in and usually what those fears are rooted in is I want my child to be healthy grow to be healthy and develop and thrive. But also I want my child to be this certain weight and this certain size so that they fit in and they don’t get made fun of and so that they don’t have to deal with any trauma in that regard.

So it’s working through. Yeah, trying to protect their kids from that, which is completely understandable. But what it means is that There’s some sort of generational trauma that continues to be passed down when it comes to food and eating and body image. And so we’re really trying to disrupt that in our practice and what it means is there are a lot of emotions that come up.

There’s like I said resistance and there’s some aha moments. There’s more awareness and there’s literally we see Changes in generational patterns, which is really amazing. Amazing.

Can you share some of those breakthroughs that occur and some of those patterns that you really see or the common things that you’re hearing from from these parents and the way that you’re able to coach them into a new way and make new choices?

Yeah, I have had, I’ve had so many amazing experiences with clients over the years where it just has made my job so rewarding and so worth it and just makes sense. I had a client who had an eating disorder when, and this is back when I was working with the other dietician and we worked for a long time together and she recovered from her eating disorder.

And then she contacted me eight years later and she said she just, she found my email address and she said, I just want to let you know that I’m going to start crying. It’s so nice. She said, I just want to let you know that you impacted my life so much that I decided to become a dietitian. Wow. And now I work in eating disorders.

And so that was like, I will never forget that ever. That was probably one of the most rewarding things that could have ever happened. We have clients that break down, we have clients that share share a lot. Like a lot of our job is without going out of our scope is counseling and listening and being really compassionate because food brings.

So much emotion. We have to eat every single day. Like you said, a lot of us have a lot of memories and trauma around food, even little micro traumas. Yeah. In our childhood, whether it be from our parents who were Probably very well meaning and well intentioned or teachers or doctors. I’ve had family doctors tell me that they’ve completely changed their practice and the way that they talk to kids and families about their weight and about food and about nutrition, which is.

Amazing. We’ve had lots of clients come back to us and just say, you’ve changed our lives. Like we now, finally our mealtimes are really peaceful and positive and happy and we don’t feel super anxious when we’re eating or when we’re serving food, it’s not a battle anymore. So that’s really amazing because I feel like we’re impacting lives.

Yeah. And really making a difference. Totally.

Yeah. It’s so impactful what we, what you do. Can you share some of the examples though? Some of the changes specifically for people to communicate that to you. So if they’re saying you’ve changed our lives, like what was the shift? What’s the thinking where someone is thinking this and then you’ve given them another choice.

What is that? What’s the bridge?

I think it’s, a lot of it is people have this fear that if your child is a certain weight they are unhealthy and they have a higher risk of chronic disease and they’re doomed in that regard. Telling them that we’re sharing with them that there’s actually zero research to support the fact that weight alone as an isolated factor is a risk factor for chronic disease or early death or Lack of health, long term, that really makes a big impact.

So then it’s exploring, so then they’re like, really? I don’t, but what about all these things that we’ve heard for so many years? And I, it’s very hard because we’ve been ingrained or we’ve been told that you need to be a certain BMI and size. And weight in order to be healthy and any other way to especially higher weights or bigger sizes living in a bigger body automatically means unhealthy or lazy or there’s risk for diabetes or heart disease or whatever.

So when we actually dispel that myth and say there’s actually zero research to support this at all. There’s not one study to support this and there’s not one study to support the fact that a restrictive diet works long term, not one. Wow. So that’s really impactful. And then it’s working on breaking down the feet, those fears, those deep rooted fears.

Because even when they know, even when they have that information, it’s really hard. To change your thinking on it. So it’s yeah but what about this? And what about, I heard this, and I don’t really, I can’t wrap my head around, if we let our kids have dessert every day, and don’t restrict it, like how is that, how does that equal healthy, right?

So it’s really continuously Challenging those thoughts that are literally baked into their psyches from years and a lifetime of hearing these things. Diet culture and wellness culture like shoves this down our throats all the time. So it’s really hard. It’s really hard to think in a different way.

It takes a long time. But it’s just continuing to show them the evidence and work through their own fears. In order to get to a place where they’re like okay, I’m going to try this and we’ll see, throw caution to the wind, try a different way, start changing your thinking, just even having awareness about it is so impactful.

So what I’m hearing is you’re really dismantling all the things that we’re told about. I’d love to go dive deeper into this a little bit about things like BMI, like portion size, like time of day we’re eating, like how did those play a role into your philosophy?

First of all, the BMI scale is totally bunk.

Okay. Bullshit. You heard it here. Bullshit. Yeah, it really is. There’s a method to make you feel bad about yourself. So that’s gone. Great.

But you, exactly. But what’s really hard is that doctors are still using this tool to determine health, whether you’re healthy or not, right? So the BMI scale was developed by a European white male a long time ago, I think in the 1920s, not a health practitioner.

At all. He was actually an astronomer, and he developed this scale not in terms of anything medical or health wise. It was more to measure. It was to compare different sizes of people in a population of white. But somehow it got extrapolated into the medical world and determining health.

But there’s actually no science to, there’s, it’s not grounded in science. But yet we still are using it in our medical system. Wow. So the BMI scale doesn’t take into account all of the other factors that go into health. Yes, nutrition is part of health, obviously, I’m a registered dietitian. Being active.

So the amount that we move our body that is part of health, sleep habits are part of health mental health is part of our health, socioeconomic status our access to food and movement, our genetics. There’s so many things that come into play when it comes to health. Weight is not one of them. Wow. Wow.

So yeah, it’s really unfortunate because we really look to, and I shouldn’t be too hard on, on physicians and doctors because there are many good physician and doctors, but unfortunately Yeah, it’s still a huge part of our medical system, and it’s one of the first things that we’re told when, and when we’re pregnant and things like that, too.

Like, when when you become pregnant, you are supposed to gain a certain amount of weight depending on where you start off on the BMI scale. Really, how is that going to make you feel? How can you tune into your body and eat intuitively when you have this in the back of your mind? That, okay I started out overweight, according to the BMI scale.

So I’m not allowed to eat as much as somebody who was normal weight, regardless of what my body is telling me. So you can see how that really plays with your emotions and your relationship with food when the really there’s. This BMI scale that we speak of, there’s, it’s not grounded in science. Yeah. So yeah.


So that’s amazing to hear. So BMI and then outside of BMI, what about the other sort of myths or measures that we’re supposed to follow? Like I said, like certain caloric intake or nutritional density, how does that play a role in the philosophy?

Obviously it’s important that we receive the nutrients that our bodies need to function normally.

But truly and again study over a hundred studies show that if you tune into your body and you listen to it and you eat A variety of foods every day. You’re probably going to get the nutrients that you need It would Be very rare that if you were eating intuitively you wouldn’t receive Those nutrients.

And again, if you’re eating intuitively, then you are typically not going to be eating more than your body needs on a regular basis or less than your body needs on a regular basis. So you’ll probably reach that homeostasis that you’re meant to that set point weight that your body is supposed to be at.

Now, whether that set point weight looks the way you want it to look or the way you thought you might look, we don’t know. Yeah. And that’s what you have to let go of when you do decide to become an intuitive eater is this notion of, yeah, but I still want to lose weight and I still want to look a certain way.

You really do have to let all of that go and just really trust your body and that’s hard. But when it comes to all of the rules of portion sizes, essentially, what that is restricting yourself, right? And following some sort of guide that somebody else is telling you, like, how do they know what your body needs, right?

Every body is different. Yeah. How would they know what your body needs from? from day to day. Someone could be really active one day and sedentary the next, or you could be going through hormonal changes during the month and your body needs different things. An entire bag of Miss Vicky’s chips.


Maybe that’s what it looks like. And another thing too, is we’re told that We should never emotionally eat that’s bad. Emotional eating is bad. It’s not. It’s part of who we are as humans. Food is comfort. Food is love. And it’s okay to emotionally eat sometimes and say I needed that.

And that’s okay. That’s not going to make or break my health.

Totally. But what I’m hearing from you is it’s the language around it that actually is the big shift. And if we’re making ourselves wrong and we’re shaming ourselves, it’s going to be a completely different experience than, if we said exactly, we just said no, I needed that.

That’s what I needed. And that’s good. And it’s not making ourselves wrong or shameful for that.

And that’s really hard to do. It’s very hard to do, but we know through science that if you’re restricting yourself or depriving yourself of something, whether that be through portion sizes or saying that I can’t eat this food group because it’s bad or too much sugar or whatever, you’re going to end up.

Wanting it more and probably binging on it, so it doesn’t that feeling of deprivation and restriction as humans Backfires almost all the time totally so let’s go there for a minute as far as language Especially when we’re speaking to children, and we’re helping to create a really healthy environment at home The language that we use really matters not only the language We’re using with ourselves and what they’re hearing, but also how we’re communicating about food, so can you share?

Some of your wisdom there, some of the things that you say or that you hear and what are some recommendations for, do’s and don’ts here.

Yeah. I one of the things I talk about a lot about on my Instagram, on social media and in my blog and really everywhere is something called food neutrality.

And it’s a fairly new concept. But I absolutely love it and it’s related to The division of responsibility and feeding that I talked about, it’s related to intuitive eating. Essentially, it is putting, taking the morality out of food and taking the labels away. So not food labels, but like the labels on the back of food packages, but the labels like healthy or unhealthy or good or bad or clean or junk or toxic.

All of those labels that we’ve attached to various foods. Those create shame. So basically we’re adding this sort of like moral, moralis, moralizing, is that a word? Moralizing? Food. And when you do that, when you call food good or bad, like you need to make sure that you’re eating this good, healthy food before you can have this junk food.

Then what that’s saying is that these foods are really good, these foods are really bad. You’re putting certain foods on a pedestal, and then you’re shaming other foods. And kids are really concrete thinkers. They don’t really have the ability to think abstractly like we do as adults. So when they hear that, these foods are good, these foods are bad okay, so if I eat these foods, Then I’m good, and if I eat these foods and like these foods and want these foods, does that mean I’m bad?

Or if these foods are clean, then these foods must be dirty? Kids think in very concrete terms. So what this whole concept of food neutrality is taking those labels away and just Telling parents or guiding parents to call food by its name. Just really put it on a level playing field. Carrots, granola bars, rice, crispy squares, turnips, beef, chicken, eggs, like whatever it is, ice cream, gummy bears, just call it by its name.

It’s really simple. Take those labels out of the equation when you’re talking to your kids. And if you can, when you’re talking to your friends too this is just. It’s hard for people because yeah, but. It rolls off your tongue. Totally. That’s healthy, that’s unhealthy. But the thing is health is multi, multifaceted.

Like I said, health has so many factors. It’s not just whether something’s nutritious or not. And it really depends on who you are and what your situation is. Peanuts could be really healthy for a lot of us, and they could be deadly for other people. Totally. Boxed mac and cheese and frozen pizzas could be deemed healthy for, or sorry, unhealthy for a lot of people, but then people who Don’t have a large food budget or don’t have access to other foods really rely on ultra processed foods and those are healthy for them because it means that they can eat and they can feed their family and they can get the nutrition that they need still so so taking that yeah again taking those labels out and really thinking about health and wellness in a holistic way rather than just this is good and this is bad.

I think is the first step for sure. And the other thing that I coach parents on is just really being careful about how they talk about their own bodies. Yeah. I have a reel actually illustrating this with my daughter. If you are constantly hard on yourself and talking negatively about your body, then your kids will internalize that and that will become their own reality and what’s normal for them.

And they’ll start saying those things about themselves. Really important to be aware of how you’re talking about your own body, even gestures and the way you look at yourself in the mirror. Things you say about clothing that might be too tight, or whatever it is, or I need to exercise more. Just be very aware of that, because kids are listening, and they’re thinking like, Oh, okay, should, do I have to be worried if my clothes are getting too tight?

Kids are growing, right? Yeah just being very aware, normalizing that because, yeah, if you’re saying, yeah, do I have to worry about my clothes getting too tight? It’s yes, absolutely. You’re growing and that’s a normal part, not something that, again, they’re feeling wrong for or shameful for because of what’s being modeled to them.

Exactly. That’s really powerful. Okay. So normalizing how we’re speaking about food, being really mindful about what we’re modeling, demonstrating the language that we’re using about our own bodies. You had another post that was really impactful for me specifically because it talked about using language like big or small.

As well. And when I was a kid, I had a friend it was probably my teenage years, early teenage years. I developed quite early. And I remember I had a friend that called me big and I had a language like thunder thighs that was like so negative. And it was so detrimental to me in those growing years for me.

And I remember I would like, Go buy diet pills or, I was trying to like change my body and change who I was, especially in those years when I was really developing and really shifting. And that was really traumatic for me in my experience. And when I saw your post and you said, don’t talk to kids by saying Oh, you’ve grown so, or Oh, you’re getting so big.

That really hit me. So I’d love for you to express a little bit more about that. Cause I think even that language, we. We don’t even realize what the potential impact could be and how that could land.

Yeah. Thanks for sharing that. I definitely can relate to that. I was also an early developer and I remember specifically and I actually, I shared this.

I just launched an audible course called raising intuitive eaters for anyone who’s interested. It’s on audible. And it’s, it dives into. All of this. But I share a story about when I was, I think I was about six or seven and I had a friend over and we were dancing and we were taking turns dancing to Michael Jackson and watching each other.

I don’t know why we were doing this, but I remember like word for word what she said to me and I’ll never forget it. She said like I was up dancing, doing my little routine and she’s you’re not skinny and I was like, I don’t know, like at the time I didn’t really like truly understand, but she made a point of stopping me and saying you’re not skinny and I will never forget that and I remember talking to my mom about it and trying to figure out why I was feeling so shitty.

At this really young age, I didn’t quite understand it. I didn’t, I had never thought about my body. I’d never scrutinized my body before that, but that’s when it started for me. sO yeah, I think that for parents, and it’s again, it rolls off our tongue as adults to when we see a child that we haven’t seen in a while and their body has changed, whether they’ve grown taller or larger or wider or whatever it is.

They’re going through puberty and their body changes. This is totally normal. It can be normal for a girl to gain between 20 and 40 pounds during puberty. It’s these changes are very normal and they’re different for everyone. Everyone changes at different, every child changes at different rates.

My son is 13 and there’s some. Boys on his soccer team that are the same size as my eight year old. And then there’s some that look like grown men. They’re just growing at completely different rates. And again, this is totally normal and dependent on so many factors. But when we start commenting on this as parents and as adults, then it really starts to impact the way a child feels about their own body.

So even if they are like, do to do just growing the way my body’s supposed to grow, not really thinking about it. As soon as you comment, they pause and they doubt themselves and they start wondering okay, what’s wrong with, why did. That person who I trust and admire, why did they take the time to comment on my body and how it’s changing?

Is that a good thing? Is that a bad thing? Is it odd? Is it not normal that my body is looking that way? Clearly it’s important enough that somebody brought it up. So then they start really thinking about it and scrutinizing and that’s when body image issues can start. So even the most well meaning and well intended adult saying these things.

Just out of Oh my gosh, you’re getting so big. I can’t believe how big you’re getting. Wow. To a child. That’s like big might be bad, right? Like it’s big, bad and it’s big, abnormal. And should I be worried about this? So just don’t comment on a child’s body size or shape. If you can, this is really hard to do when you’re so used to doing it and programmed to do that.

But whether it’s, yeah. They’ve slimmed down, whether they’ve gotten taller, whether they’ve gotten bigger, whatever it is, just keep it to yourself. That would be my, that would be my advice because you just don’t know how it’s going to land and what impact it’s going to have. And I would say the same for adults.

Yeah. So if you’ve noticed that your friend has lost weight or has, whatever, even if they’ve been working really hard to do you commenting on it and saying, wow, you’ve lost weight. You look fantastic is just Perpetuating their disorder totally, right? Yeah, and their body images issues So just if you can make it a habit not to comment on body shape size ever at all yeah, that really lands. And I do actively really try with that not to feed into it. Because again, it just makes it right or wrong and it’s always shifting. So then there’s shame if they’re not keeping up with that particular, how they’re currently, what genes are currently fitting and it doesn’t matter, really doesn’t matter.

Exactly. So I think it’s really powerful. And since I saw that post, I’ve been really mindful. Even having that personal experience, being really mindful to just say things like, it’s so nice to see you and that’s it, and you do, you, you notice and you want to come and Oh you’re growing up so much, but it’s just so important to be so mindful of the language we use.

Yeah, absolutely.

Anything else that you want to share about that as for anyone that’s listening that you think could be impactful, whether it’s, something that they could substitute instead or something to reflect on?

I think just Being more aware of it and catching yourself. You might slip up and that’s okay.

Again, we’ve been programmed to say these things and think these things forever, for our whole lives. So it might take some time to unlearn and undo those habits. And have new habits, even for me. I still when I see a child that I haven’t seen in a while or when I see a friend who’s changed, their body has changed.

It’s even I have to catch myself to just be like, okay, just don’t say anything. Yeah. So just be kind with yourself. I would say like compassion. This is going to take a little bit of time and you’ll slip up and that’s okay. But it’s just having that awareness of yeah, you know that I love that color on you or your hair looks so nice. today. Like those are comments that are totally fine. But when it comes to body shape or size or weight, that’s where it can be. That’s where it can be harmful.

So good. Thank you for that wisdom. And I love the response of, being kind and compassionate, especially as we’re trying to make shifts and changes.

And if we’re hearing these things and being reminded of these and they’ve been so impactful our whole life, it doesn’t just undo in a moment. It really takes First of all, that awareness and that curiosity about what you’ve learned and maybe what you need to unlearn and then real patience, real compassion, real self love in integrating new habits and new beliefs and new mindsets and patterns and ways of being.

Patience and compassion is always the compass, right? Tell me, Sarah, when it comes to your own routines and cooking and preparing meals, I know I see a lot on your Instagram but I would love to hear a little bit about what meal preparation looks like in your home and what is always available in your fridge and your cupboards.

Okay. So yeah, you may picture, as a dietitian mom, all of my meals are like made from scratch and carefully menu planned and my, fridge and cupboards are so beautiful and organized full of nutritious foods. But quite honestly, I’m running a business and I have three kids. It’s a lot of easy, quick I don’t know, what did we have last night?

It was like, I usually lay everything out for my kids. I’ll have a few different options. Sometimes it’s literally like a finger food charcuterie type meal. Where, yeah, it’s salami and cheese and crackers and apple slices and carrot, like mini carrots that I threw into a bowl with some dip and whatever.

Like sometimes it’s Annie’s mac and cheese with cheese and a fruit plate and a salad. And then maybe some scrambled eggs. It’s literally, it’s really easy accessible things that I put out for meals. It’s actually quite rare where I will make like an elaborate, labor intensive, balanced, nutritious meal that I serve to my kids.

Oftentimes, it’s rejected by one or more of them, and it takes a lot of time and energy that I don’t have. When I do. do a more elaborate or make a more elaborate meal. I usually make a ton of it so that I can pack it away and freeze it for nights where we’re really busy. So let’s say if I make like spaghetti and meatballs with a nice big salad, I’ll usually make a ton of spaghetti and meatballs or the sauce at least and freeze it for nights where we’re super busy with activities and things like that.

It looks different every night. Most of the time I try to be organized and, take the meat out or whatever, just so it defrosts and it’s ready to make, I throw things into the air fryer it’s usually like a bagged salad or quick roasted veggies in the oven. I’m telling you, it usually takes probably less than half an hour to prepare the meals that I make for my family.

And they’re still really nutritious and balanced and accepted by my kids. And then honestly, I take all of the leftovers that haven’t been eaten and I make their school lunches right then and there and then they’re done. It’s not super fancy over here. I have lots of recipes on my website that take 15 minutes or less.

I lean on a lot and yeah, it’s not like super fancy or expensive ingredients. It’s just staples that you would have in your home and yeah, that’s how I roll. I love that and we need that and life is so busy and it’s got to be accessible and it’s got to be easeful cause there’s so much going on.

So that’s what I really appreciate about your philosophy too and what you offer. Yeah, that’s a wonderful reminder that it doesn’t need to be challenging to have a nutritious meal and prepare that for your family.

No, it doesn’t. It really doesn’t. Yeah, you do what works for you and your family.

A lot of people, they get They feel better when they menu plan every single meal and if that works for you, absolutely go for it for me It’s I just my brain doesn’t work that way. I will plan out my dinner but that’s about it and then I’ll work around that and Sometimes I don’t even and it’s a quick and easy 10 minute throw together whatever you have in the left in the fridge But yeah, you just have to do what works For you.

And I have lots of resources to support you on my website and Instagram. I love it. I love the kids charcuterie. Also, it’s so good. That’s like my perfect dinner. Actually. I’m like, what’s in the snack drawer?

Absolutely. It’s the best. What are you excited about right now, Sarah? What’s upcoming for you? And what are you really looking forward to as we close this year and open a new chapter for 2024?

Yeah, that’s a good question. I think just celebrating where I’m at in my business. Like I said my team has grown from just me to now seven of us. And that’s really, I never, I didn’t think that’s what was going to happen with my business. I always thought it would just be me. And so I’m really proud of that.

I have an amazing team and we are growing. Really fast. We’ve now are counseling practices across Canada, which is fantastic. And in terms of consulting, I work with lots of organizations and brands and food companies and do a lot of behind the scenes work trying to dismantle diet culture and their content.

Yes. And And that is really impactful as well, so I work with lots of daycares to train the staff and caregivers to feed the kids and talk to kids about food in a different way that they’re not used to, so I, lots of exciting things coming down the pipes and and yeah, I appreciate your support along the way, Mandy, because that’s been a huge Eye opener for me having a coach and someone to guide me in the business side of things, because I’ve never done that and I’ve just been like doing this on my own and it’s just nice to have the support and guidance to grow.

And that’s where we’re going. We’re growing. I love it. It’s been amazing to work with you and at the table. And Sarah is one of the incredible women at the table in one of our well women’s groups. And I’ve worked with her one on one in a private coaching capacity. And it’s been just incredible to witness your growth, even over this year, seeing your vision expand, seeing your team expand, seeing systems Seeing just the evolution of your values and seeing them alive.

It’s been really incredible, Sarah. So I’d love supporting you. I’d love if you could share a little bit about your experience and the impact that being a part of this community has had on yourself personally

or professionally. Yeah. Oh my gosh. It’s been so amazing. The one on one support that I’ve had has been so nice because I’ve been able to focus on, okay, like these are the, challenges that I’m having in my business.

What can I do to change it? Or here’s a pain point. And you just have such amazing advice all the time. And it’s always Oh, that feels so much lighter and better knowing that there’s a solution and it’s a fairly achievable solution. And it’s not intimidating. So just little tweaks and changes that I’ve made over the last year have made it.

massive change in my business. And then being a part of the group, like I have to say, I’ve been in business for 17 years and I’ve never had, this, I’ve never had a group of women who are in business that I can lean on for support and even just relate to 98 percent of my friends are teachers.

Don’t know how that happened, but I’m often in a group of women who are all talking about Being a teacher and all the challenges that go along with that. And I’ve learned a lot in that regard, having kids, but it’s really nice to connect with other successful entrepreneurial women and know that I’m not alone and they’re having the same challenges that I am and being able to ask questions and being really vulnerable and share things about what’s going on in my business has been very very impactful and freeing and it’s just been exactly what I’ve needed at this stage of my business and my growth.

And I see that I’m finally getting over the hump that I felt like I was stuck for a long time and I’m not stuck anymore. That’s what it’s done. I love that. It can happen. I feel like at every next level too. It’s like we go through that plateau for a bit and come to this place of what got me here won’t get me there.

And our community that we surround ourselves with at each next level is so important, right? And we’re always in evolution and being in the right rooms with women that one, get it to allow you to be yourself and, find that level of authenticity where. tHe instagram persona can go over here.

The guard can come down. We can be really honest. That’s really where we can give ourselves that opportunity and that space to grow and to thrive and to evolve. Yes, the groups are so powerful and I’m so grateful that you’re a part of this community and what you bring to the table to. Sarah, thank you.

Thank you so much for This amazing and impactful conversation. Before I let you go, I would love if you can share a little bit on where we can find more of you for anyone that would love to know more about the work that you do your books, your nutrition counseling, tell us a little bit more about that.

Sure. Yeah. So thank you, Mandy. I have a website, it’s sarahremmer. com and you can pretty much find everything there. Lots of hundreds and hundreds of blog posts on feeding kids and nutrition and lots of recipes. You can also find me on Instagram, just at sarahremmer. I’m on there every single day and posting like crazy to support parents and caregivers.

And then I have my book, which is called food to grow on. And essentially that is like a Q and a guide for parents from prenatal to school age on how to feed your kids. So not only nutrition, but how to talk to your kids about food, all the things that we talked about today. It’s what to expect when you’re expecting.

I’m sure lots of people are familiar with that book, but just a food and nutrition. Yeah. So it’s like a feeding Bible. It’s what I like to call it. Yeah. It’s a really good place to start. It’s a really good gift for Christmas. By the way, for baby showers, you can get on Amazon indigo, wherever you can buy books.

And then, like I said, I just launched a course with audible called raising intuitive eaters. And I would highly recommend that course. It’s about three hours long 15, 20 minutes. What are they called? Modules, yeah, chapters. That basically walks you through everything we talked about today about diet culture, dismantling that in your own life and then raising kids to reject diet culture and have a healthy relationship with food.

It walks you through like intuitive eating. Obviously everything you need to know about intuitive eating and then picky eating, how to deal with managing treats and sweets basically everything. So I would highly recommend that if you have an audible membership and yeah, I’m on Facebook as well.

I’m going to start on YouTube like you. I haven’t quite yet, but I think I might as well migrate all of that content over to the other platforms. I just need someone to help me do that. Yeah.

It’s like you got to pick a platform, one platform at a time, and then you work towards it. It’s so many platforms, but yeah you’re doing an incredible, you and your team are doing a really incredible job, Sarah.

And we will link all of those links that you’ve just shared with us below and so that everyone can find Sarah and the amazing work that she does and keep doing it. Keep fighting diet culture. We need you. We need you. Yeah.

We need you. We need you. Yeah. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for this amazing conversation and we’ll see you next time.

Sounds good. Thanks, Mandy.

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