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How do I help instill a healthy relationship with food + their body?

Are you hoping to break the cycle of diet culture in your family?

Whether you struggled with your own body image, self-esteem or dieting in the past and don't want to pass that on to your kids, you are noticing your child struggling with their relationship with food or their body and need more insight, or simply want to prevent your child from struggling in that way, know that it's never too late for you to make impactful shifts!

How do I now raise children who feel empowered in their bodies; who love themselves, just how they are; who don't want to alter their bodies; who know that they can go out in the world and be themselves?

Dr. Alli Delozier is a Clinical Psychologist with specializations in child + pediatric psychology. After vulnerably sharing her own first year of motherhood fraught with anxiety, postpartum OCD and intrusive thoughts, Dr. Alli dives into the nitty gritty of helping our kids develop healthy relationships with food free of the harmful effects of negative body image and disordered eating.

IN THIS EPISODE, WE COVERED...

  • Warning signs of when to get help when experiencing intrusive thoughts
  • The Importance of language neutrality
  • The modeling as parents we can start today

DON'T MISS-

  • What kept her from getting mental health support for too long
  • How diet culture is disguised as health, and how to manage the nuance

// CONNECT WITH ALLI DELOZIER//
Website:  https://www.delozierpsc.com
IG: @drdelozierphd

I believe in you & I'm cheering you on.
Come say hi!  I'm @parent_wholeheartedly on Insta.

FREE CONSULT: wholeheartedly.as.me/call

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*FREE* MASTERCLASS: Learn how to CONFIDENTLY parent your strong-willed child WITHOUT threats, bribes or giving in altogether so you can BREAK FREE of power struggles + guilt
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TRANSCRIPT


Dr. Alli Delozier:  

You know, in... a lot parents won't want to admit this, but parents will think like, you know, my kid is bigger, if they were smaller, they'd fit in more, they might think, well, if I help my kid look a certain way, dress a certain way, they'll fit in more. That's not the goal. The goal is to raise kids who are competent in who they are, regardless of the external expectations on them. And so again, we're going for the long game here. So how do we influence our children? How do we empower our children in build resilience so that when they go out and there is pressure on them to look a certain way, to, you know, fit in a certain way to eat a certain way, whatever that is... How can we buffer that effect so that they can remain true to themselves?

Danielle Bettmann:  

Ever feel like you suck at this job? Motherhood, I mean? Have too much anxiety, not enough patience. Too much yelling, not enough play. There's no manual, no village, no guarantees. The stakes are high. We want so badly to get it right. But this is survival mode. We're just trying to make it to bedtime. So if you're full of mom guilt, your temper scares you. You feel like you're screwing everything up. And you're afraid to admit any of those things out loud. This podcast is for you. This is Failing Motherhood. I'm Danielle Bettmann. And each week we'll chat with a mom ready to be real. Sharing her insecurities, her fears, your failures and her wins. We do not have it all figured out. That's not the goal. The goal is to remind you, you are the mom your kids need. They need what you have. You are good enough and you're not alone. I hope you pop in earbuds, somehow sneak away and get ready to hear some hope from the trenches. You belong here, friend, we're so glad you're here. Hey, it's Danielle. Whether you are a parent that grew up with a really skewed body image, that struggled to see yourself the way that others saw you or you were constantly comparing your body to friends, or movie stars, or got really sucked in to diet culture... Or you're a parent concerned with a child that's beginning to struggle in any one of those ways... Or you simply want to prevent your child from struggling in that way... You are in for a huge treat. Today. I am talking to Dr. Alli Delozier. She's a clinical psychologist with specializations in child and pediatric psychology. Alli is passionate about equipping children and adolescents with the skills they need to have a positive relationship with food and their bodies. Her parent coaching programs focus on helping parents unlearn the constraints of diet culture, so that they can empower their kids and teens to live confidently in their bodies, free of the harmful effects of negative body image and disordered eating. In this episode, I couldn't help but dive into her experience with failing motherhood first, which brought us to a really important conversation about postpartum OCD, and intrusive thoughts. And she shares specific red flags to be concerned with if you experienced this common phenomenon. Her first year of motherhood was in her words "a dumpster fire". She describes that journey that she did not see coming. Then we get to the nitty gritty of developing healthy relationships with food and our bodies as parents. She shares how important language neutrality is along with a lot of examples. And modeling, not only with food, but with our body commentary as well. Dr. Alli supports parents who have struggled with their body image self esteem or dieting in the past, and don't want to pass that struggle on to their child, as well as parents who are already noticing their child struggling with the relationship to food or their body that want advanced strategies and support to help their child. I can't wait for you to dive in and hear all of her wisdom. So let's go. Welcome to Failing Motherhood. My name is Danielle Bettmann. And on today's episode, I'm joined by Dr. Alli Delozier. Hi, Ali. How are you?

Dr. Alli Delozier:  

Hi, I'm doing well. How are you?

Danielle Bettmann:  

Good. Good. I'm so glad you're here and we are going to give listeners like a disclaimer up front. My voice is cracking. It's been a week of like getting over a cold and so you might find that annoying and Alli's got a kiddo that is sick in the background and she might have something in her voice herself. So you'll just have to bear with us. This is like- it's that time of year.

Dr. Alli Delozier:  

It's the perfect failing motherhood situation going on here.

Danielle Bettmann:  

This is the reality. This is the reality of day-to-day motherhood. We are in it.

Dr. Alli Delozier:  

Absolutely.

Danielle Bettmann:  

Yes. Okay. So, before we start diving into your story and your expertise and all that good stuff. Go ahead and just reintroduce yourself to my listeners and let them know who you are and who is in your family.

Dr. Alli Delozier:  

Great. Yeah, so I am Alli Delozier, I have a PhD in Clinical Psychology with specializations in clinical child and pediatric psychology. And so that professionally, that's what I do what I focus on, I work a lot with parents. I'm also a parent coach. So you know, I'm a child psychologist, and I'm a parent coach and parent coach is more focused on helping parents develop skills, as you know. And then in my family there is I'm married for what is it? Five-ish years, we've been together forever. And then I have two children. So I have an almost three year old and an almost a five month old. So little ones in my house, a boy and a girl.

Danielle Bettmann:  

Such fun ages. So fun.

Dr. Alli Delozier:  

Oh, yeah. It's so much fun and so much challenge.

Danielle Bettmann:  

That's what we're here to talk about. Yes. So have you ever felt like you were failing motherhood? I have to pre qualify with that question, because you have a PhD behind your name.

Dr. Alli Delozier:  

Yeah, Dr. Delozier? Yeah no, I've never felt like I failed motherhood, right? Like only like, maybe every other hour, right? Like, is it kind of? Is there a time that I don't feel like I'm failing would probably be a better situation for me. So of course, yeah. And I mean, there's always something, right, like you're learning as you go. And even with a doctorate degree in clinical psychology and with specializations and children, I feel like half the time I'm just, I'm still in school, like, I'm still learning. I'm like, Oh, I didn't know a three-year-old would do that. Okay. Let's adapt.

Danielle Bettmann:  

Yes, lots of ways you get lots of adapting as you go learning from your kids. I was on the same boat where I was a teacher, you know, working in classrooms, I was home visiting, I was working with families, and I was like, I got this. And then I had my own kids.

Dr. Alli Delozier:  

Yeah, and it's so funny, too. It's like the same way I want to do therapy on myself, right? Like, if I need therapy, I go get a therapist, you know, I can't really coach myself, with my kids as well, just because I'm an expert in the field. And I'll use that term loosely, you know, doesn't mean that motherhood comes easily or that I always know what to do with my children, or that I always choose to do the thing that I know I should do. Right. So yeah, I think you know, it's just, it's tough for all of us. And with all the pressures and the, you know, ridiculous expectations that we place on moms, it's the hardest job.

Danielle Bettmann:  

Oh, understatement of the year. Yes. So take us along your journey of motherhood. And then we'll dive into kind of your specialty of why you're here. Had you always wanted to be a mom, who were you before kids?

Dr. Alli Delozier:  

Yeah, that's a great question. So yeah, I always anticipated having children and knew I wanted to. And so when I finished my graduate degree, and was finishing up my residency, it seemed like a great time to start a family kind of going into my faculty position. And, you know, kind of pre license, so I was like, Okay, this is gonna work out really great. I knew I wanted to have more than one kid. So I can have my first kid and then have some time to get licensed and work towards tenure, and then we can think about more babies. And so I had my first baby at the very end of 2019, which means I went back from maternity leave in March of 2020. Dun, dun, dun... we all know what you know what happened then. And so my motherhood experience was really colored by the pandemic. And I was working at an academic medical center, as a psychologist there and a researcher there. And so it was tough, it was really tough going back and with all the uncertainty and on top of that, you know, being a psychologist does not protect you from experiencing mental health challenges. And I had some, my first was born and we were in the hospital, we had a little bit of a traumatic experience. And then after that, I developed postpartum OCD, which is where you experience a lot of intrusive thinking and anxiety. So there's a lot of like obsessive thoughts that typically are about your baby's health and safety. And that's what it was for me. And so, and even though I am a psychologist, you know, I didn't really recognize the degree to which I was experiencing that and suffering and so my early motherhood experiences really characterized by that. And my challenges were all around my baby's health and safety and well being and then enter this novel new virus. Oh my goodness, I just I didn't know how I was going to get to survive just anxiety of that and having to send my kids to daycare and working in healthcare. It was really tough for me, and then my you know, my funding gets pulled that was promised when I came on because of a clerical error, of course, so it's just like this horrible just thought of like all things that could go wrong. Yes, yes. You know, I had a startup package in the university was, you know, everything, it's hard to think back now. But at that point in March of 2020, everybody was in the red, all of the hospitals were in the red, and they were going into emergency mode, and they were taking, they were locking down funds. And so like, my funding was locked down. And I didn't know when I was getting, be able to open it up, you know, get access to my funds, again, to do the research, I needed to get tenure to get promotion, you know. And so, in, I was new faculty, new mom, it was just, it was really tough. You know, looking back now, it just, it's kind of crazy how it all happened. But that experience, you know, we were so lucky to have our health and to, you know, so many people really struggled during that time, and I got through it, and things got better. And then we made the decision to actually move back home and to buy a farm. And so we kind of, we really, you know, we I think that experience brought us a lot of clarity and what we wanted out of our lives and what we wanted our lives to look like, and with, you know, the advent of remote work, what I realized that I didn't have to necessarily work within this academic setting so far away from my family, and I could kind of blend the two things. And so you know, here we are now a couple years later with another kid, and in a lot of ways, it was, you know, kind of a blessing to go through that so quickly. And just to kind of get hit in the face with all of the challenges at once and then get through them. But that's where we are now.

Danielle Bettmann:  

Wow. Oh my gosh. So...

Dr. Alli Delozier:  

Sorry that was like a really long like looping story.

Danielle Bettmann:  

No, that's exactly what we're here to hear. Yeah. Because not only is the first year of motherhood, always a roller coaster, no matter who you are, because you have no idea what you're getting into. And everyone's experience is so unique. But for you to be in the throes of that mental health struggle and work struggle and global, completely unknown pandemic. That is a lot. I think you summed it up in like your form for the submission for like this episode of like, my first year motherhood was a dumpster fire.

Dr. Alli Delozier:  

Yes, it was it was looking back. It's just like, I can't believe all of that happens. Like, wow, what a ride. For real. But that's the thing about being a mom, right? It's like, you just get through it. We are so tough. We just make it through. But we got to make it through.

Danielle Bettmann:  

Yeah, yeah. So connect a few dots for us, like how did you end up realizing how deep you were in some of those mental health struggles? How did you end up getting help? What did that look like?

Dr. Alli Delozier:  

Yeah. So you know, I'm actually really embarrassed to say that it took a long time for me to gain clarity around what I was experiencing. Unfortunately, postpartum mood and anxiety disorders are not something that is really taught at the graduate level. So it's something I had very little training in, you know, maybe a few seminars. And then, of course, I was familiar with things like intrusive thinking, which are thoughts that you experienced, that are distressing or unwanted, and they are difficult to get rid of you want to get rid of them, but maybe they keep coming back or they bring you distress. And so that would be something like thoughts about SIDS, you know, maybe having a baby that could experience SIDS or thought that some people will have a thought like when they're driving down the road. What if I just jerked my car over? That's an intrusive thought because it comes out of nowhere and you don't want it. And so that's what OCD is characterized by is those intrusive or obsessive thoughts. And then it looks different, a postpartum, right. It's not kind of that stereotypical OCD, you would think of when we hear the, you know, obsessive compulsive disorder when we hear that term. And so I've always kind of had some high functioning anxiety. And so it's just like, oh, this is just postpartum anxiety. You know, I'm just it's it's just intrusive thinking 95% of moms have intrusive thinking, the postpartum period and kind of just pushed through it. And I never really gave voice to some of those fears that I had, because I did even knowing everything I know. And as much as I want to destigmatize mental health struggles, I felt like I shouldn't be having these thoughts. I shouldn't be worrying too much about my baby, what's wrong with me as a mom that I feel like I can't keep my baby safe? What's wrong with me as a mom that, you know, everybody else seems to be enjoying this so much more. And all I do is sit here and worry. So I didn't want to tell you why. And then, you know, I did eventually kind of start to reach out and I did my own screening on myself. And then later on, I finally decided to work with my own therapist. And, again, I'm embarrassed to say but as a psychologist was my first experience with therapy, and so I actually started working with a therapist, to move through the traumatic experience of my first kids birth so that I could prepare for pregnancy and have another baby and have a good postpartum mental health plan. And I'm happy to say that my postpartum experience with number two was, you know, very, very much different. And that's something I want, like anybody who's listening to know is that if you struggled with postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, stress, you know, a traumatic birth with one of your children do reach out for help. Don't assume it's normal, if you are bothered or distressed or hurting, reach out for help. That means it's worth it in the know that it doesn't have to be that way with any subsequent births if there are any.

Danielle Bettmann:  

Yeah, so important to hear from a mom who's been there. Because yeah, we, you know, we get told all day long, take a bubble bath, get a massage, take care of yourself, but like, really, what does that look like when it comes to being in the throes of something that feels like it's personal, it feels like it's your fault that feels like there's shame that feels like it's embarrassing, especially if you are a professional, then there's just so many more layers and ramifications to the levels of struggle it is to receive the help or just to even acknowledge and accept where you're at, and be able to see clearly. So I think stories are the most powerful way to be able to share what that looks like, and to be able to normalize that experience. And to know, I think you said that it's normal to feel like you're failing, but not all the time, or that your world is crashing down at times, but not all the time. And if it does feel all the time, that's more of your indicator that you know, something else is wrong that you can't control.

Dr. Alli Delozier:  

Yes, absolutely. You know, as a psychologist, I really try not to pathologize everything, right. So it's normal to have ups and downs and to have different moods and to feel like you're having, especially with expectations that are placed on mom rights moms to feel like maybe you're failing, if that you're feeling that way more than not, if it's causing you impairment and your daily living, if it's causing you to not have the joy used to have if you find yourself, you know, worrying or stressing more than you used to, that is a time to seek out support or seek out help get an evaluation, contact someone, just even if it's just to get a screening, right, it doesn't mean you have to move forward with anything, but just know that there are supports out there. And you're not failing, right? So the system is failing you if you feel that way the system is failing you. So don't put it on yourself, put it on the system and then go find some help.

Danielle Bettmann:  

Yes. And as for those intrusive thoughts. What is to be expected? And what is kind of the goal? Treatment wise, if you're experiencing those?

Dr. Alli Delozier:  

Yes. And I will say no, I'm not a specialist in treating this, I'll talk more of my lived experience. But when you experience you know, it is normal to have intrusive thoughts and most moms say they have at least one. And so that is when you're cooking dinner, and your kid is in the jumper or the bouncer on the floor. And you think what if I dropped this knife and it hit my baby, right? That would be an intrusive thought. And you'll be like, oh my goodness, why did I think that I don't want to have this thought? What does that mean about me, you know, you might go down the path. Or you might see it as an intrusive thought and just like, Oh, that was weird, and move on. Now, when those thoughts are taking up a substantial amount of your time and your day. So for OCD, it's over an hour a day, if you're spending time engaging with these thoughts, if they're distressing, or causing you impairment in your daily living, then that would be you know, calls to get an evaluation for OCD. But if they are bothering you, if you're having them frequently, if they are causing you to feel distressed, that is a time to seek support, right? If you know, for me, it would look like maybe I would have a thought and it would bother me a little bit, but it would go away. Or I would do it a compulsive act. So I'd have the thought and then I'd move my kid 10 feet away from me, like, I can't sit here and chopping vegetables, I'm too anxious, I'm going to drop this knife, you know, if that's what it was. Or then maybe I would come back at the end of the day, I'd lay down in bed. And I'd think about this situation over and over and over in my mind. And that's the nature of it is intrusive, right and the more you try to push it away, the more it comes back in. So there are a lot of excellent techniques, you can learn to cope with these thoughts and to reduce them over time. They're also you know, medication options as well. And so, again, you don't have to live with that. I wish I would have reached out sooner. Instead of living with that. It's painful to have those thoughts. And I wish I would have reached out sooner instead of living with that. And so that's what I would just tell you what if it's causing you problems or impairment reach out?

Danielle Bettmann:  

Yeah, that's so scary. It's a scary for everybody.

Dr. Alli Delozier:  

It is it's a terrible thing. And I haven't talked about this much. So I appreciate, you know, getting the opportunity to come and talk about this on here. Because it's also something that's very stigmatized, and I think it's really important that we talk about it knowing that most moms will have these thoughts.

Danielle Bettmann:  

Because it's a lot more common than you may expect if you don't talk to your friends about it.

Dr. Alli Delozier:  

Exactly, exactly. And people don't talk about it because they find these sites to be shameful because they'll think "Why did I have a thought about my baby getting sick?" "Why did I have a thought about my baby getting hurt? What does that mean about me? instead of recognizing that it's actually probably, evolution protecting your baby. And it never means if these are unwanted thoughts. It never ever, ever means you want to hurt your baby. That's the biggest thing. People are scared to reach out for help because they think that someone's going to believe they're having these thoughts about hurting their baby. That's not what intrusive thinking or postpartum OCD is. That would be maybe like psychosis or completely other. These are thoughts you don't want to have, you are doing everything you can to not do these things right when I moved my kid 10 feet across the room so that I don't drop something on him. That's me doing everything I can to keep my kids safe. And so I really want to know that if anyone is having this thoughts, again, it's protective. It just gone too far.

Danielle Bettmann:  

Yeah, right. Right. And you deserve to have more sanity. You deserve to feel more okay around your baby.

Dr. Alli Delozier:  

Yeah, to have some peace and enjoy that baby.

Danielle Bettmann:  

Hey, if you're new here, I'm Danielle. My company Wholeheartedly offers one on one and group coaching programs to help families but strong-willed kids age one to seven, prevent tantrums, eliminate power struggles, extend their patience and get on the same page. It's kind of like finances, you can read lots of info about what a Roth IRA is and how the stock market works. But if you really want to get serious about paying down debt or growing your wealth, you go see a financial advisor who can give you very specific recommendations based on all the unique facets of your situation. I'm your financial advisor for parenting. And I've designed the way we work together to give you nothing less than a complete transformation. While we work together, I'm able to help you figure out why your child is losing their mind and why you are losing your mind and guide you to master effective long term solutions through three main focuses. Number one, my cultivating cooperation guide, teaching you the tools of Positive Discipline. Number two, managing your mind by working through my triggers workbook. And number three, establishing your family's foundation by writing your family business plan. My coaching is comprehensive, practical, individualized and full of VIP support. So if you struggle to manage your child's BIG emotions, if you and your partner's arguments seem to center around parenting, especially if one of you is too kind, and one of us too firm. If you struggle to stay calm and be the parent that you want to be, it's possible to stop feeling like a deer in headlights when a tantrum hits, effortlessly moved through simple directions and care routines without an argument. And go to bed replaying the way you handled the hardest moments and feel proud. If you have a deep desire to be the best parent you can be, and your family is your greatest investment. Find me on Instagram, send me a message that says SANITY. And I'll ask you a few questions to see if we'd be a good fit to work together. I can't wait to meet you. Back to the show. I'm so grateful for your vulnerability, and being able to share that, you know, for something that is so stigmatized because it takes people going first, to be able to maybe have a listener, start a conversation, you know, with a provider with a friend or with a partner about this and be able to feel more okay with starting that conversation as a result of hearing this so, so appreciate that window into your world. And I'm so grateful that you're able to have a much better experience with your second I'm sure you know COVID Being a little more under wraps helped a little bit. But was there anything else that you did in the meantime, between your first and your second that helped you acclimate? Or feel like you were able to have more of the experience that you were looking for?

Dr. Alli Delozier:  

Yeah, yeah, I think the biggest difference for me was I don't know how the best way to word this is, but I really kind of invested in myself in between that first and second baby. So just trying to take better care of myself and not from like you said right, there's always this kind of superficial like take a bubble bath, you know, kind of go for a walk self care, but I went to physical therapy to manage chronic pain when I was pregnant. You know, I started doing psychotherapy so that I could feel confident with my choices and decisions with my second my second baby was a home birth and it was something I really wanted to do and I was really afraid to do and so I needed some support and getting there. I made a mental health plan, you know, I got a few massages to help manage stress and so those are things that it's really easy as moms to say I don't deserve that I don't have time for that I shouldn't need these things. And I just you know I really pushed back on those thoughts and I said you know as in tried to say you know, this is helping me be a better mom this is helping me feel better. This is going to help my postpartum experience be better experience and, and I really do think that made a huge difference in what baby number two, that experience with baby number two look like for me, oh,

Danielle Bettmann:  

I can only imagine there has to be a direct correlation for a lot of those things, not just any one thing, but the culmination of that investment that you said your investment in yourself in being able to help you become the person that was ready to try again, and to be able to do that scary thing of labor. Again, that's a really big deal, you know, not only mentally, but physically. And so for you to be able to have invested in that process. In the meantime, while you're, you know, moving on a farm and you know, raising a one year old and all those other minor details, running your practice. That's a lot to juggle. Yeah. And I think you were did it really well, again, in your form. So I wanted to share this again, so you could speak more on it, you said I could not have prepared for the emotional impact of having kids, or how much motherhood pushes you to grow as a person. For a psychologist who thought she was relatively emotionally healthy. I've had to do a lot of work on myself. So just speak to that a little bit more.

Dr. Alli Delozier:  

Yes, absolutely. I think right. Motherhood it has it pushes you, it transforms you in so many ways. And then you can kind of rise to that challenge, right? Or it can feel very defeating at times. And we do both right, we rise and we get defeated. But nobody talks about that before your mom. Right? Nobody says like, Oh, you're gonna have to learn how to self regulate your emotions, because you think you know how to do that. But wait until you see your kid, you know, your self reflected on your kid. And you have to figure out how to calm yourself before you can calm your kid. Or wait until your kid is doing something that terrifies you, right, like climbing up the swing set, you're afraid they're gonna fall and hit their head. But you also know that you have to let them do things and you don't want your fear to be their fear, right. And so I did not realize how much I would have to work to manage my own emotions so that I could be the mom, I wanted to be for my child.

Danielle Bettmann:  

But like, intellectually, that was something that you were learning about already. Right?

Dr. Alli Delozier:  

I mean, yeah. Yeah. And but I do think that again, like, you know, in graduate school, actually, a lot of my research, it's, you know, again, looking back, so you're right, in graduate school, my research actually focused on the relation between uncertainty of having a child with a chronic illness in the relation between that uncertainty around their chronic illness and parental post traumatic stress symptoms. And then I had a child where I had a lot of uncertainty in the delivery, and I developed and I had a traumatic experience, and I didn't view it as traumatic and I'm like, oh, like, I wrote my dissertation on this, like, goodness gracious, again, but it's like, you can't be objective, people are gonna be like, don't go to Alli. She's a terrible psychologist, like look at, but you cannot see yourself objectively.

Danielle Bettmann:  

No.

Dr. Alli Delozier:  

You have to have support. So that's something I learned too, is, I can't be perfect. Just because I'm a child psychologist, just because I've done this research or I know these things intellectually, does not mean that I know how to put them in practice for myself without support, because I can't see the bigger picture I see through my own eyes, right. Versus when I'm sitting with parents, when I'm helping parents, I can see their experience objectively, it is it is very different. And I and I also, you know, learning that I deserve to have support the same way that I believe my clients deserve to have support.

Danielle Bettmann:  

Yeah, that speaks volumes. And I just love summing it up with like, you cannot see yourself objectively, I think there's, you can take that and like a million different ways for it's one of those phrases where like, each listener will probably take that into a different lesson or like apply that in a different way. But like, it really is true, it doesn't matter what your profession is, you are not able to turn that around to yourself. And so being able to go on your personal motherhood journey, and knowing that that is not going to something that you could have prepared for. You did not know exactly what those circumstances were going to look like, to any degree. And you really just can't prepare, you just can't like until you're in it. And then you can maybe find awareness or you can find acceptance, you can find new levels of support, you know, as a result, but it's so messy.

Dr. Alli Delozier:  

And so messy, and I hate the mess, right? And it's like, you mean you kind of hit the nail on the head there with it's just you can try to prepare for everything. And that's kind of I think that makes me vulnerable to developing OCD is because I don't like the uncertainty. I like to prepare for everything, you know, and that uncertainty is like it's the doubt disorder. It's but the what ifs that's what keeps coming what if, what if, what if and you can't prepare or plan your way out of that experience? So it really just kind of, you know, knocked me down was like, Alright LA, like, get it together. But it's kind of I mean, it's kind of like the work I do now, right? Like if this like, can you see yourself objectively No, right? The same way we look at our bodies, right? And we look at, you know, we all criticize ourselves so much, right? Or there's just so much of that with body image and our culture and with thinking that we should always be thinner or be prettier, or that our thigh shouldn't touch or whatever that is, and then you grow and you look back five years, and you think I look so beautiful. Why didn't I see that then? Right? Or I was so thin. Why did I think that I was bigger than I was like, we all do that so much, because we just can't see ourselves objectively.

Danielle Bettmann:  

Right? And I love that segue, because I was just gonna start asking, like, more about your work. Now? How did you get into the specialization that you're currently, you know, working with it?

Dr. Alli Delozier:  

Yeah, it's something that I've always woven into my clinical work in a therapeutic setting, because I've worked a lot with adolescents and young people. And one of the things that come up during that time, is body image and confidence. And I also, you know, I'm kind of a nutrition nerd, and I'm really interested in feeding, in that it's just something else that I kind of, had to work a lot with, I worked in, like, with children with diabetes, and their parents on feeding. And that's a group that's at high risk for eating disorders. And so, you know, something that I did a lot, and I just became more and more interested in how I was seeing that. Just the adolescents I was seeing there. So it's hard to put in words, but so much of kind of some of what I was seeing there was their confidence and their self esteem was impaired, because they always thought that they should be looking differently, right? Like you go through puberty, and maybe you gain some weight. And then I would see these kids that thought they needed to go on diets, or I would have pediatricians referring me families basically saying, like, help these people eat healthier, basically saying, put this kid on a diet, which I did not agree with, and just recognizing that how this matches is ingrained in our culture. And we're passing these attitudes on to our children, in their our kids, I mean, ourselves and our kids were developing these really negative relationships with our body and with food. And what two relationships do you have forever? Your relationship with yourself with your body and your relationship to the food that you eat. And if those are unhealthy or unfulfilling, then we still there's this domino effect.

Danielle Bettmann:  

Oh, yeah, it's a huge part of life. Absolutely. So tell me more about the families that you currently work with? I know you work one on one parent coaching with families nationwide, you know, virtually, what was their experience growing up? Where that leads them to you? Or what are their fears as they begin to parent that leads them to you? Or how do families know that they are kind of ready to embark on this work of working on their relationship with food and their kids relationship with food?

Dr. Alli Delozier:  

Absolutely. So I really see kind of two different presentations. In one is often moms who have a negative body image, or moms who grew up with a negative body image or really poor relationship to food, or perhaps disordered eating. And they are terrified that they're going to pass that on to their children. So they may say, you know, I struggled with sort of eating I always hated my body, had terrible confidence. I always wanted to be different. How do I now raise children who feel empowered in their bodies who love themselves, just how they are, don't want to alter their bodies who know that they can go out in the world and be themselves. You know, kids who can eat pizza and eat candy, and also eat broccoli and eat kale or whatever it is, and have the same neutral or positive relationship to all those foods and know that they all fit in not have the guilt and the shame that so many of us have experienced for eating that slice of pizza, right? It's often moms because women in our society are pushed a lot more than men to have a certain body size. And so I work a lot with moms around that. And that is part of that is learning. Okay, so how do I maybe think about food in the relationship to my body a little bit different because what we know from the research is the way that we model these things in the home impacts the likelihood that our child will develop eating disorders, disordered eating, or go on diets. And it's a big problem. We act as if this is something that you know, we talk a lot about, you know, healthy eating, you know, versus maybe like, this holistic view of what eating really is, is forcing your kid to eat broccoli. Really healthier than teaching them that broccoli is part of their diet just like pizza or candy or sandwich or hamburger or chicken nugget or whatever it is. And so we have to learn how to talk about food in a neutral way. We have to learn how to model body positivity in front of our children, and then you know, I also get families that are coming in whose kids are maybe already struggling. So maybe they're coming up to their parents, and they're saying things like, I'm fat, or I hate my legs, or I hate my belly, when they're, you know, using these in negative ways. And the parents are like, What do I do? You know, like, my child is beautiful, and they're perfect? And how do I help them see that? And how do I help them be confident in the body they have? And some parents do have kids in larger bodies? And they weren't? What How am I supposed to handle having a child in a larger body? What if they get picked on at school? What should I be doing? You know, how do I talk to the pediatrician, it's all very nuanced, and there's a lot going on. But those are kind of the primary parents that I'm working with now to empower them with skill, so that they feel confident and clear in what to say and what to do in those situations.

Danielle Bettmann:  

So, so needed, and such an epidemic of its own, in a good way of, you know, parents realizing just the influence that they have, and the power that this has over not only their life, but their child's life, and even the generations to come in what doing this work can transform. So what types of mistakes or myths do parents come in with? Of course, just because of that, absolutely, that that they were parented, or that's kind of the influence that society has had on them? Where do they start that, you know, you want to kind of right those wrongs of like, you know, here's maybe what to think or understand instead?

Dr. Alli Delozier:  

Yeah, I think kind of starting with things that come from diet culture, which, you know, diet culture is really this system of beliefs in our culture, that tells us that thin is better and that it trusts, you know, regulating our eating, and eating in a certain way is better. And it doesn't always, you know, those things don't always align with health, but are often disguised as health. And so there are a lot of little things that we might have learned to do growing up or as an adult that we think are healthy, and we're passing on to our kids, or they're really related to disordered eating, or to negative body image. And, you know, one of those might be the way we talk about food. And so one of the key markers of eating disorders, is dichotomous thinking, or black and white thinking. So it's putting food in boxes, this is a good food, this is a bad food. And parents will in you know, in a well intended effort to teach their children about nutrition and health, they will say things like, oh, that candy isn't healthy, that candy is bad for you. Sugar is bad for us. That's what we don't eat a lot of it. And they'll say things like, you know, broccoli is so healthy, that's so great, you're eating your broccoli, you know, and so they'll put some things on a pedestal and some not. And so what they're doing is they're sorting foods into boxes, and children are developing, you know, they're developing their view of the world, you know, as we're talking about these things. And so they start sorting foods into boxes, or creating schemas around these things. And that can get, you know, that builds, right. And so, again, what we know is doing that puts us at a higher risk for eating disorders and disordered eating. So I really like to help parents see that, you know, that is not helpful, like we think it is, because it doesn't really give our kids much to go off of when they're making choices, because they're still going to eat the candy, right? Like it's delicious, they're going to eat it. But how are they going to feel after they eat it, they might feel ashamed, they may feel guilty, they may think, well, if candy is bad, then I'm bad for eating it. So we don't want that to happen. So what we can do instead is we can just talk neutrally about all foods, whether it's candy or broccoli, right? Broccoli is a food candy is a food candy. Sweet. All right, this broccoli is roasted, it's crunchy. Those are ways you can talk about it instead of again, sorting it into those boxes.

Danielle Bettmann:  

That's a big, big principle that, you know, is a really, really big pillar of being able to transform maybe the way that you have seen food up until now. And how to move forward with that relationship with food. Is there another similar kind of like pillar to this approach that will help parents kind of understand the difference in the dichotomy of how to treat things?

Dr. Alli Delozier:  

Yeah, yeah. So you know, that's what I talk a lot about is just language neutrality. And we can also think about that with bodies. Right. So one of the other big pillars is modeling. So the research shows that parents modeling impacts where children are going to do, what they eat, and how they think about themselves and whether or not they diet and so we can model for our children how to have a positive relationship with their body as well. And so it is so so easy for us to do things like look down at our baby bellies, you know, in say, like, oh, when is this going to go away? Or to casually say in front with our kids listening say something like if I could just lose those extra 10 pounds, then I would Be happy. Right? Or say I've always hated my legs, whatever it might be just little, little negative comments about our bodies that we grew up hearing, right that our moms maybe said, or we heard on the TV, or we read in magazines. And I just really urge moms and dads parents to think about what is your kid hearing? Right? So your kid is hearing? My mom, the most beautiful person in the world thinks her legs are too big. Well, what about my legs? Right? Especially if people say I look like my mom. And so maybe, you know, be cognizant of that first and then maybe think about, well, how can I model what I want my kid to do? So I want my kid to think that their body is strong and capable. So I'm going to say those things about my body. Now I'm going to say, Man, I am so glad I have these strong legs to carry me up this hill when we walk, or, you know, I am so glad that I have this extra, or that I have fat on my body to keep me warm in the winter. Right? So it's just neutral, we kind of instead of talking negatively about our body, we're going to switch to neutral talk.

Danielle Bettmann:  

So powerful, definitely not something that was modeled for us and a lot of families know. So this is new territory..

Dr. Alli Delozier:  

It is It is. it's almost.. I know, I'm taking you, you know, in all the directions with this, but you know, it can feel very overwhelming, right, it can feel like a lot to take on as a parent like, and again, I don't want any parent, especially, you know, women who have been through diet culture to think that they're hurting their kid or that they are not doing a good enough job around these things. We, you know, we do the best we can with what we know. And they're just a few, you know, if you can start taking a few baby steps toward being kinder to your own body modeling neutrality. That's great. That's a wonderful thing to help your child learn.

Danielle Bettmann:  

Yeah, one step at a time, one day at a time, one moment at a time, for sure. Yeah, it can feel like a huge weight that like we don't already feel responsible for so many things, about our parenting or about our you know, how we're impacting our kids. So this also feels like another area to fail in. Yes. So you have to look for those small wins, look for the progress look for the things you're doing that maybe you wish you would have seen, you know, as a kid, and just being able to start there. So what are some of those, you know, tiny wins, or maybe like a glimmer of hope, in the right direction of momentum?

Dr. Alli Delozier:  

Yes, yeah. And you know, I talk a lot about that, like I talk a lot about, it's breaking cycles, right, it's breaking this cycle of self loathing or breaking the cycle of dieting, right. And you know, those tiny wins are things like being able to sit down with your kid and eat pizza and enjoy it, instead of counting the calories on your plate or thinking I'm a bad mom, because I'll let my kid have pizza. Again, no food is has to be healthy or unhealthy. All foods can fit in our diet. And that's what we want to teach our kid, you know, little one would be being able to have dessert, again, without restricting it without saying you can only have one piece, you can only have one cookie, right? That's a stressful experience. So getting to a place where you can sit down and eat dessert with your kid and enjoy it, getting to a place where you can be proud of yourself, you know, for serving broccoli, you know, for serving whatever it might be that you have deemed as unhealthy before alongside broccoli, right? And getting to where you know that both of those foods are doing something for your kid.

Danielle Bettmann:  

Yeah, that alone is monumental. If you can get to that space, and you haven't been there in the past. And I know I'm sure you get so much resistance maybe from the families you work with, with those fears of you know, are they going to be able to make good choices? You know, in the future? Are they going to be able to be nutritionally sound enough to like get you know, the things they need if they're just going to eat dessert all day. So, you know, what types of reassurance do you give to those families?

Dr. Alli Delozier:  

Absolutely. I'm glad you asked that, because it's so important. So yeah, people think that they think, Well, if I let my kid have candy, like they're only going to eat candy, or they're going to become addicted to sugar, right, those are kind of some myths we hear. And what I will say is, you know, and this is where we dive into the nuance of this when I work with parents one on one or in group setting, but it's about the way you serve candy, right? You do not you know, it wouldn't be appropriate. I have a three year old it would be appropriate for me to give my kid candy all the time. Of course, I'm responsible for making sure that he gets the nutrition he needs. But when I do serve it, how do I serve it? Right? And does my child...research shows that when people feel restricted, they become obsessive. So if my child knows there's a thing out there called candy, and he never gets it or when he does get it he only gets one piece right? Or I give it to him when I'm like oh now we gotta get healthy this week. Guys. We've just been eat so much junk. We gotta get healthy thing kids will start to obsess about that thing they don't think they have or they don't think they have access to and so that's where we really get into the nuance of okay, so how do we give them age appropriate access? How do we create value based plans around what you serve, and make sure that they're getting all the nutrition they need, and they learn to self regulate, right? It's like anything, if you want your kid to learn to self regulate around sugar, you have to give them opportunities to self regulate around sugar, to develop skill.

Danielle Bettmann:  

Yeah, it's a learned skill. Okay. Yeah, that's super important to remember. And hard to remember, honestly, when, like, right off the bat, all we're looking at is, you know, what got eaten or how they did today versus yesterday. And, you know, we're constantly looking for things that can function as our report card as a parent, because you don't know who worried about it and insecure already about our job performance. So like, we want to be able to say, okay, look, he ate all this. But she's now I'm a good parent, I feel it can feel like a parent, I can sleep easy tonight. And so when we don't get that feedback, it's very hard to give ourselves a pep talk of like, No, I'm doing the right thing in the long run. Because you know, develop skills for a better relationship. Yeah, yeah, that's

Dr. Alli Delozier:  

Yeah yeah, that's it. We're in the long game here. It is not about the short game. Yeah. And so we want to look across time, because we're not raising kids who eat broccoli, right? We're raising kids who know how to feed themselves. nutritious and balanced diets, right?

Danielle Bettmann:  

Yes, yes. Like, no, that's gonna be a quote, I'm gonna put that on Instagram. Because that's really what you know, we have to be constantly thinking big picture.

Dr. Alli Delozier:  

Yes, yes. And the same with our bodies, right? So it's like, we don't want to raise kids who fit the mold, right of what they should look like, right? We think, Oh, if I can help my kid, you know, in a lot of parents won't want to admit this. But parents will think like, you know, my kid is bigger, if they were smaller, they'd fit in more, they might think, well, if I help my kid look a certain way, dress a certain way they'll fit in more. That's not the goal. The goal is to raise kids who are competent in who they are, regardless of the external expectations on them. And so again, we're going for the long game here. So how do we influence our children? How do we empower our children and build resilience so that when they go out, and there is pressure on them to look a certain way to, you know, fit in a certain way to eat a certain way? Whatever that is? How can we buffer that effect so that they can remain true to themselves?

Danielle Bettmann:  

Yes, exactly. So, so, so important, and especially when they get into the adolescent age, and, you know, they're just trying to figure out who they are, and, you know, navigate those tough social situations we all don't want to go back to, and we feel for them. So for families that come in with, you know, kiddos, that are longer down the line, and they already maybe have concerns themselves or the child themselves are expressing concern, what is kind of your first step to be able to help them and support them? And they're out there?

Dr. Alli Delozier:  

Yes, yes, with parent coaching, you know, it's, um, because I am a licensed psychologist, there always has to be a pretty good like screening process to make sure that we're appropriate to work together so that we can work on those that skill development for parents, but you know, it's really, in this is where this is why you know, that one to one or that group setting is so beneficial, because we can do a deep dive into what is your kid's unique experience? What are they struggling with? And then what you know, what do you bring to the table as a parent? What are your strengths? What are some things you want to build upon? And we can work together? What are your family's values, and we work together to develop a plan around that. And then you know, if the child is struggling more with body image, then we start coming up with a plan, okay, they're saying this, you know, as a psychologist, I start thinking, Okay, what is the antecedent? What is reinforcing? Maybe them seeking validation around the way their body looks? Okay, well, what kind of education might your child need, you know, or that they don't have? What kind of skill development do you need that you don't have, you know, to be able to talk about this conversation with your child, because, you know, sometimes parents, they freeze up, they don't know how to talk about bodies, with their kids. It's such a vulnerable and uncomfortable topic. And so do we need to roleplay do we need to do some education do we need to do some skill development, but being able to, you know, kind of hone in in really individualize that for the parents can be really helpful. There are a lot of preventative things we can do and a lot of universal themes that we talked about, but it is always helpful to be able to really look at us family specific needs.

Danielle Bettmann:  

Because I'm sure that there's no two kids that are experiencing the exact same insecurities because of the exact same lead in because of the you know, the exact same background there. I'm sure that it's a very unique experience and you need unique solutions. You need to be able to see the nuance and be able to look at things with flexibility in what those solutions could be, and be reassured that You know, it's not going to be a quick fix, it's not going to be better tomorrow. But there are indicators that we're on the right track, and just being able to put parents peace of mind, at bay, because then, you know, the child thrives off of that vibe. And so if the parents build more confidence, then that's going to overflow naturally and automatically to their kids as well.

Dr. Alli Delozier:  

Absolutely. And that's such an important thing to stay, you know, some of the research I did in graduate school, you know, we looked at, you know, how parental functioning impacts child functioning? And I mean, it's a pretty clear link that the better parents do, the better their kids do. Right? They read it's Aquino, basically. I mean, there's, it's a complex, but, you know, you just think even they pick up on so much. And so that can sometimes be part of it, too, is is parents are lacking, potentially, in the skills they need to help their child and you know, and sometimes that might even be things like bullying, how, you know, the way we were taught to handle bullies is a lot different than the way I, you know, might approach a situation with body bullies now.

Danielle Bettmann:  

Yeah, and I'm sure it looks totally different to, because we're looking, you know, for the guy in the playground, and now, it's going to come through as cyber bullying, you know, through text messages, or even just like, straight up ignoring them. Like, that's almost more damaging? Yes,

Dr. Alli Delozier:  

yes, I see a lot of that a lot of that clinically with adolescents and young people is a goodness, it's a whole, it's terrible. And people on the internet are so quick to you know, with that anonymity, they're so quick to make comments about bodies. And even if you're reading comments, and it's not about your body, but they're seeing comments about other people's bodies, like that's where we're doing the work at home to buffer them against that, right. So they see, oh, that this person is getting these comments about their body, right? We don't want them to go down that rabbit hole, we want them to be able to come back to center and know that there were so much more than their body. And just because somebody says something doesn't mean that we need to start dieting, or we need to start doing anything differently with our bodies.

Danielle Bettmann:  

Right. And just to remind listeners, again, that this is not something you're supposed to be automatically pre programmed with, before you know a child was placed in your arms. This is not something that maybe comes naturally, maybe it's even the opposite. It's something that you really, really, really have to work to overcome because of your years of conditioning otherwise. So don't spend that energy beating yourself up for not being at the place that you may be, would love to be skill level for supporting your child put that energy into being solution orientated or growth orientated, or doing the research to find and equip yourself with more resources, because not only will you feel better, but your child will feel better. And that is the opportunity available to you with the technology we have and the ability to connect with people all over the world like yourself, you know, in a space that is designed exactly for this work. So tell the listeners more how to connect with you.

Dr. Alli Delozier:  

Yeah, so one of the best places to find me or connect with me is on Instagram, @drdelozierphd. So it's Dr. Delozier PDH. And so that's kind of my platform of choice where I try to provide kind of just, you know, free education, about how parents can help their children to develop a positive relationship with food in their body, you can also find me on my website at DeLozierpsc.com. And so that's another way that you can contact me, I am gearing up for a group soon, that will be all about cycle-breaking. And so that will be geared toward parents who want to really look at that nuance of how can I- What skills can I learn so that I can teach my children to have a better relationship with food and their bodies than I had? Right? I mean, and I think about like, what a gift, right? Can you imagine? And I you know, I can't assume your experience. But for me, if I had spent all the time, you know, that I'd spent worrying about my body, or dieting, or counting calories, like I could have like a Nobel Peace Prize, right? Like, and that's the gift that I want to give my kids is like, this is not a thing you have to worry about all the time. Like, let's put that energy into learning like trigonometry.

Danielle Bettmann:  

Yes, just think of all the things that you know, it could take up your brain space, otherwise, that's so powerful. So when is that group starting up?

Dr. Alli Delozier:  

You can DM me or people can DM me on Instagram to get on the waitlist. So probably have around coming up around you know, January. Perfect.

Danielle Bettmann:  

Yeah. Okay. I will have all those links in the show notes so that they can go and stalk you and sign up for the waitlist and all those things if that's their next step that's on their heart. But I think that this conversation has been able to paint the picture of just a bigger vision of being able to support our kids in a way that we cannot discount the consequences of you know, the ramifications of down the road of What a gift that can be to our kids of just that, especially if you're in that prevention phase of being able to learn these things, while there's still a lot more time to integrate it, you know, when they're still in your house. So I think that's beautiful. So thank you for doing that work and for being so available to share that personal experience, because it's so valuable. And so keep up your hard work.

Dr. Alli Delozier:  

Well, thank you so much.

Danielle Bettmann:  

So the last question that I ask every guest that I have on is how are you, the mom that your kids need?

Dr. Alli Delozier:  

Yeah, so Well, I have to go with that theme of, you know, I think I'm the mom that my kids need, because I'm learning how to take care of myself, right? I mean, I'm learning that it's okay to invest in myself, and to learn new skills and to not be perfect all the time. And that's the lessons I want my kids to learn. So I'm not quite, it's hard for me to say that, yes, I am the mom my kids need. I'm like, Oh, well, I'm not quite there. But yes, that's why I'm the mom, my kids need.

Danielle Bettmann:  

Yes, yes. It's not always going to be a work in progress. We're not going to arrive and like get the gold star and the trophy that you know, we finished growing.

Dr. Alli Delozier:  

Wouldn't that be something,

Danielle Bettmann:  

oh, we would love that. Yes. But since that's not on the table, you know, you're gonna show up today, and you're gonna show up tomorrow, and you're gonna keep doing the work and keep working on yourself and keep getting better and closer to that goal of continuing to learn from what they need from you, you know, each day as you move forward. And that's the goal to keep focusing on. So thank you so much, Dr. Alli, for coming on. We so appreciate all your expertise and for the resource that you are in this world. And I'm just so glad that listeners can connect with you offline. And so thank you just so much for your time today.

Dr. Alli Delozier:  

Thank you so much for having me. That's great. Yes.

Danielle Bettmann:  

Thank you so much for tuning into this episode of Failing Motherhood. Your kids are so lucky to have you. If you loved this episode, take a screenshot right now and share it in your Instagram stories and tag me. If you're loving the podcast, be sure that you've subscribed and leave a review so we can help more moms know they are not alone if they feel like they're failing motherhood on a daily basis. And if you're ready to transform your relationship with your strong-willed child, and invest in the support you need to make it happen. Schedule your free consultation using the link in the show notes. I can't wait to meet you. Thanks for coming on this journey with me. I believe in you, and I'm cheering you on

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