So …… Let’s t alk Body Confidence and our Kids …
How do we raise our daughters to feel confident and happy in their bodies in this diet-crazed world??? Unfortunately, girls start picking up messages soooo early from a society that values thinness over health. It hurts to think how this can shape their perceptions and feelings of self-confidence over time.
But what do you do if you are worried about your child’s weight? Healthy changes? Healthy foods? Healthy habits? Yes. Dieting to lose weight – absolutely not. Dieting is NOT for kids – it increases the likelihood that they’ll have an unhealthy relationship with food and can put their growth and development at risk.
The reality is that not every bigger kid is unhealthy, and without weight-based stigma and shaming, most kids will outgrow heavier stages over time if the focus is on healthy lifestyle habits rather than weight loss.
As a both a dietitian and mom of 3 young girls, I witness often the ways that we imprint on our daughters a template for how they will view their own bodies, how they will fuel themselves with food, whether they will appreciate or hate their curves and imperfections and whether they’ll consider exercise a punishment or a celebration of life.
Here are 7 ways we can help our girls live a healthier life and have a healthier relationship with food…
- Instead of weight, focus on healthy lifestyle habits
- Instead of “diet food for weight loss,” focus on healthy food for energy, good mood and a strong body
- Eat as many family meals together as you can – one of the most powerful tools out there
- Instead of restricting food at parties and special events, encourage her to have fun and relish sweets and treats without shame or guilt
- Instead of controlling and restricting food, focus on mindful eating, variety and how to listen to hunger and fullness cues
- Instead of focusing on physical activity for burning calories, focus on exercising daily because it’s fun and makes you feel good and strong
- Instead of talking about your own weight loss struggles in front of her, role model healthy habits, self-love and self-care
What am I missing? Share in the comments below!
Cheers and warmest wishes for good health,