Can I help?: You select, but she chooses to be a slimmer child

Share
Related Topics
I was over the moon when I heard the Duchess of York speak out about Princess Beatrice's diet. Sarah knows you can't sweep food under the carpet. I have been telling her as much ever since Beatrice was born. Indeed, our discussions led me to write my best-selling Problem Eating: Towards a Thinner Child.

We decided it was a question of prioritising: meals are usually more important than sweets and can be more important than videos, depending what's on. But how to convince the kids? We concluded that the most important factors in "problem eating" are (1) interest; (2) enjoyment.

Stage One (Interest). Try to make meal-times more interesting with active participation. Offer a selection of foods and let the kids choose. Got that, mums? You select - they choose.

Mum (holding a selection of cereal packets - however many you can manage - for visual stimulus): "Esme, would you care for Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies, Shredded Wheat, Weetabix or Shreddies?"

Esme: "Coco Pops."

Mum (shaking the selection for aural stimulus): "Coco Pops were not included in the selection because of their calorific content. As I explained yesterday, we're going for high fibre and low calories."

Esme: "Coco Pops."

Don't press it, mums. Just move on: toast, bread (brown or white) or waffles; eggs - poached, scrambled, baked, boiled; and why not some fried or mashed potatoes for extra fibre? With visual and aural stimuli this can prove fun for all the family. But for God's sake, don't worry if they won't eat anything. I never see Timon eat anything but I can tell he's not a "problem eater", or why would there be so many Big Mac cartons and cake-wrappers in the bottom drawer of his room?

Stage Two (Enjoyment). Don't forget to tell the kids how fantastic low- fat sausages and low-calorie cakes can be. I'm careful to remind Esme she's on a low-fat diet, never forgetting to explain why.

Mum: "This is fully skimmed milk to help you with your weight advantage. [Remember: three positives for one negative.] Esme (1) you are a successful eater; (2) you are in tune with your physical pleasures; (3) you are not suffering from anorexia nervosa."

Esme: "I hate you, Mum."

Mum: "I love you very much, Esme." (Correct response.)

Personally, I'm careful not to wear my own helmet with locked jaw-plates - for acute eating disorders - until after midnight when I know Esme is asleep. For God's sake, mums, don't give the kids hang-ups about eating.

Last Sunday my partner, Chris, came home. Actually, for organisational reasons we were married 10 years ago, but I prefer to call him my partner. Thanks to my professional skills the Sinclair family remains 100 per cent undysfunctional. We find the optimum time for a Spontaneous Chatting Programme is a Sunday lunch, preferably in a Neutral Environment.

We decided to go outside London as there's no restaurant within a 10- mile radius that caters for kids. It's been the same every time. "And don't come back," shouts the manager, slamming the door.

"You need to sort out your hang-up about kids," I shout back through the letter-box, posting my business card in case he should want professional advice.

We settled on The Dog And Duck in Kingston which promised facilities for children. We got off to a negative start - the usual arguments with management - before being told that low-fat sausages weren't available. Chris thought Esme should settle for high-calorie sausages. He couldn't pull the wool over my eyes. "You just want to enjoy your own relationship with food," I said.

"I want to eat," he snapped, in a bid for male dominance through aggression.

The waiter then revealed an aggressive male attitude by accusing Timon of stealing burgers from the kitchen. "You need help," I told him. "Too much exposure to meat has made you prey to delusions and fantasies."

As he accompanied me into the kitchen to show me the empty meat compartment we bumped into Esme manhandling an eclair.

"I was only fantasy-playing," she insisted. I could see cream on her face, hands and upper torso. I was delighted that her imagination had become so vivid that she was now seeking to incorporate real-life objects into her fantasy-play.

"Remember, Esme, the Duchess of York says 'The way to happiness is through a slim body'," I purred in a soothing voice. "If you follow her advice, you too might divorce a Prince, just like in the fairytales."

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Full Stack Software Developer - Javascript

£18000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Strategic Partnerships Coordinator

£16000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Their research appears at the f...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Manchester

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment C...

Recruitment Genius: IT Support Engineer

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This exciting startup disruptin...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

A promised 'women's museum' opens as a Jack the Ripper exhibit tonight, and I won't take it lying down

Becky Warnock
A protester wears a golden mask and Romanian flag during a demonstration in Bucharest against Gabriel Resources Rosia Montana gold and silver project  

Corporate vampires have tried to suck $4 billion out of Romania, and with TTIP the UK could be next

Kevin Smith
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen