Tuesday, November 8, 2011

“Write Down My Foods”

For the last few years I have been trying to teach Ricki what a normal diet is, using one of the older food pyramids as a basis. (The new one is I feel, not as clear to her.) I have printed out papers with the pyramid, with small recommended portion “triangles” which can be filled in as that type of food group is eaten. In addition, I have printed pictures of each food group beside the group.
[image: food pyramid/]

Rather than call it a “pyramid”, I call it the food triangle” (because it is only 2-dimentional on the page).**
For a while I had not been helping her record her food choices, because I realized that she was not trying at all to balance or limit her choices. She would talk about eating healthy, but when all was said and done, she ate whatever she darn well pleased. And I felt that bugging her about her choices would be a waste of time for me, being completely non-productive. Instead I centered on enforcing portion sizes (ie, 1 cup of rice rather than 2; 2 slices of bread as opposed to 4 or 5) as well as I could.
Suddenly on Sunday she requested from me to “write down my foods”. So I agreed, and at the same time I explained WHY one needs different food groups, there being different positive attributes to each group. She did OK in the morning, but overate tremendously at lunch at school (by her list of what she had eaten). This was compounded by her taking a huge amount of bread at supper. When she nudged me to record her food choices, I refused.
“Ricki, the food pyramid is to help you make good food choices. Today you did not try to make food choices, you ate EVERYTHING you wanted. You ate x-y-z-a-b-c for lunch, and several slices too many of bread this evening. We don’t need the food “triangle” to know that you overate, and I am NOT going to waste time just to document and mark that you are overeating. When you want to REALLY eat by way of the triangle, let me know.”
The yesterday morning she requested again, and I agreed. And she did very well all day, except for a late-evening egg and bread “snack”. But she did agree earlier to several reductions/substitutions in her diet. She definitely is trying harder.
I suspect that if I can keep her really well occupied after supper, we just MIGHT have a chance at making some improvements.

** This food pyramid is based on the one in the excellent book by Joan Guthrie Medlen (see HERE and for her informative site (lots and lots of special-needs info, and not only nutrition) HERE)


Mary said...

Good for Ricki! It's not always easy to eat healthily and so even though she overate on Sunday, she made a good effort on Monday and seems committed to making progress.

Also (and this is by no means a criticism) I think it could be helpful to write down Ricki's food choices even when she's gone off track - it gives a visual representation of what went wrong and how she could do things differently the next day. Sometimes when I'm overeating, it's because I'm not writing things down. When I do write stuff down, I generally stop overeating because I can see exactly where all the calories are coming from :-P

rickismom said...

Mary I hear what you are saying (I also find recording food or calories eaten helpful. BUT in Ricki's case, I have learned from experience that she does not seem to be motivated this way. TODAY (Tues) she did overeat, and I did record it, and I pointed out what she could change. She DID listen, so perhaps what you wrote will start working for her....

mikimi said...

In this case,although not knowing your daughter,I tend to agree with Mary on writing down even if way more than should have been eaten.
Would it be different if the food earn is written in a list one under the other as in a shopping list that is a visual amount than a sentence form.
I hate dieting!

Joan Guthrie Medlen, MEd, RD said...

Hi "Ricki's Mom" (I can't find your actual name anywhere on your blog!)

I forgot to look how old Ricki is before hitting the comment box, but it's not really important. I hear your daughter entering into a VERY important stage in her food selections. She wants to be in the driver's seat a bit more - with less correction. So she needs some guidance on how to do that.

Perhaps skip a few pages Try Activities 5 & 6 to help her begin to grasp how the "food triangle" works to balance meal choices (though we now have a plate and I'm working on re-doing these lessons). Or perhaps Activity 9 to see in a different way how great she's doing.

Most important is, perhaps, to give her the chance to choose her meals - be in charge of one menu a month (week?) for the family dinner. She'll love it.

THANK YOU for sharing how you're using these tools! It warms my heart! If you want a little more flexibility, consider the food record board I have. The white boxes are within the recommended ranges, and the gray boxes signal the need to think twice.

The point is merely to bring awareness about what we eat. So she's eating mindfully, rather than mindlessly. Not necessarily to "count" things. I'm not a fan of a "diet" mentality. But we all need to learn guidelines for good health.

You are doing a terrific job! and Ricki is a superstar!

Last, and not least, email me. I have something for you.


rickismom said...

Thanks, Joan, I have emailed you. The GREY boxes sounds like a fantastic idea!