Archive for June, 2008



Parenting is an ever-unfolding process.  No one can do it perfectly without slip-ups, errors, or lapses in judgment.  If you meet someone who professes to know exactly what to do, I would advise you to nod your head and get away as quickly as possible!  Perhaps you are like me; whenever I read a parenting article that has the latest  “you should never,” I have the perverse wish to run into the author at the grocery store, with their children, dirty and grubby, and secretly watch as they buy the sugary snacks that they have written should be off limits. Parenting is a tough, messy, imperfect, “twenty-four hour a day” job, and we parents are painfully human, which guarantees that we are bound to make mistakes with great regularity.  So how do we attempt to get it right more often than not?  My suggestion this month is to know yourself. 


When I was working as a counselor in the school system, there was a little boy, Alex, who would miss the bus many times because he did not want to get dressed for school.  This was causing problems academically, socially, and at home.  His parents needed to get to work and did not have time to drive him every morning.  Meanwhile, he was missing the early morning school work.  One very frustrating morning, Alex’s father stormed into my office and said, “I can’t handle it any more!  This kid won’t get dressed. We talk to him, yell at him, give him punishments…. nothing is working!  Why is he doing this?” As I was giving his desperate plea thought, I noticed that Alex’s dad was barefoot!


I use this story because it is a glaring example of a typically very subtle problem.  Our children have spent their entire life doing little more than studying us.  From their first precious days on earth, we are their mirrors and their guides.  Within days, long before they even possess language, they have mastered behavioral gestures that promise to thrill, melt, and commandeer us into action. Children are gifted at reading their parents.  Those traits, habits, and behaviors that we think that we have hidden from the majority of the world are plain as day to our kids. And, as we are their guides from birth into adulthood, they mimic us. 


Now, it typically is not as easy to see as half-dressed Alex and his barefoot dad.  For many of us, we might need a spouse, friend, parent, or therapist to help us see the patterns we have in place.  But, once you take time to really think about the behavior and from where it might be coming, solutions arise.  Families are experts at one another and insight helps to enlighten those murky, inexplicable situations from which we all suffer. 


Knowing yourself will help you know your child.  Talk to them about what you see in both yourself and within them.  Listen to what they have to offer.  In my experience, children often have the answers to many of the challenging familial situations that we all face.  Together you might be able to create some positive change for the entire family. 


Elizabeth Stabinski, MS MFT is a

Marriage and Family Therapist, registered intern in full time private practice at Weston PsychCare.  She is passionate about her work with parents and families.  Feel free to contact her  with any questions or concerns.



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Mindful eating means being in touch with all your senses while eating and, more importantly, it means being aware of your body’s needs. Mindful eating means being satisfied with the food you eat even after eating small quantities. Mindless eating means eating out of boredom, sadness, anger, frustration or any other emotion. You ate mindlessly if you ate too fast and realized you ate too much once you already finished your meal. Mindless eating is the main cause of overeating, which leads to weight gain. Use the following tips to help you achieve mindful eating.

Mindful Eating Tips

· Ask yourself “How hungry am I?” Use the hunger- fullness scale (0-Starving and 10-Uncomfortably full)

· Eat when you are at 2-3 on the hunger-fullness scale (hungry, but not starving) and stop when you are at 7-8 (satisfied, but not stuffed).

· You are “satisfied” when you ate enough to carry you through the next 2 ½-3 hours without need for another meal/snack.

· Put your fork down when you finish eating and wait at least 10 minutes to check whether you want to keep eating or you are satisfied.

· Eat slowly. Take around 30 minutes to finish a meal.

· Taste each bite you take in, particularly the first few bites.

· Do not eat in front of the computer or TV. These will keep you from being aware of the taste and the amount of food.

· Question whether your bites of food are too big. If so, take smaller bites than usual.

· Be aware of what you are eating and try to eat what your body wants. If your body is asking for a hamburger it is probably because your body needs protein.

· Learn to leave food on your plate if you are full. Don’t hesitate to ask for a Doggy Bag.

· Do not eat sweets when you are starving. If you do, you will likely eat quickly and too much and not fully taste them.

· Follow your cravings by taking time to eat them: taste them and, most importantly, enjoy them. For example, if you are craving chocolate have a small square of chocolate and eat it slowly, really savor it. If you still want more start the process again but always be aware of you body’s cues.

Jessica Gallego, RD, LD,  is a bilingual Spanish-English licensed nutritionist and has been a registered dietitian since 2000. She received her Nutritionist/Dietitian degree at the Universidad Central de Venezuela and her Masters in Clinical Nutrition at New York University.

Mrs. Gallego works as a nutritionist at the Renfrew Center, one of the leading residential eating disorder facilities in the country, where she continues to gain extensive experience in nutrition counseling and group therapy. Mrs. Gallego has a special interest in helping those suffering with eating disorders improve their behaviors and conquer their food fears.

Additionally, Mrs. Gallego is certified in weight management and is extremely knowledgeable in treating overweight and obese patients. During her work at different hospitals including Saint Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan and Centro Medico de Caracas, Mrs. Gallego has counseled patients suffering from various nutrition related diseases such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. She is truly passionate about helping people improve their health and well being by providing nutrition education and promoting lifestyle changes using a non-diet approach.

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