Eating Disorder Lessons from the High-Chair

Have you ever been around a baby in their first couple months of life? There is something about being around little children that brings so much joy. Not only do babies light up a room, but they also teach us so much about life. If you observe a baby for even a short period of time, you realize they have almost no control over their environment. They rely on mom or their caretaker to feed them, hold them, bathe them, nurture them, and carry them from one place to another. If they need something from mom that they are unable to provide for themselves, they let her know by crying. They have no problem asking for and receiving help and support. If they are hungry, they let mom know they need to be fed and they eat what she provides for them. They have no need to control their food; they eat what is provided without worrying about what it is they are consuming. The food satisfies them and their tears subside.

Not only do little babies have little control over their environment; they also have little control over their bodies….and they are okay with this. Their little arms and legs wave through the air and they smile with joy as they see the amazing things their bodies can do. They are not concerned with the size, shape, or make-up of their bodies; they are just happy that their body functions. This joy is obvious when you see a little baby smile at his or her reflection in the mirror or a young toddler dancing in front of a full length mirror, twirling around without a care in the world.

Just as the little child turns over control to their mother, you, as a teenager or adult, are also an individual who can turn over your control. There is no need to control what you eat, what your body looks like, or how you feel; you are wonderful just the way you are.