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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, Accreditation, ITIL)

£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...

C# Developer (HTML5, JavaScript, ASP.NET, Mathematics, Entity)

£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

C# Integration Developer (.NET, Tibco EMS, SQL 2008/2012, XML)

£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...

Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Who is the winner of this World Cup? Twitter

Dom Joly
It's not only the British who haven't been behaving well abroad; pictured here are German fans celebrating their team's latest victory  

Holiday snaps that bite back: What happens in Shagaluf no longer stays in Shagaluf

Ellen E Jones
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?