With Mothers’ Day upon us, it is worth reflecting on the influences our moms have had on our food intake and behaviors, and how we, in turn, influence our children’s.
My own mother just told me she would like to approach her old age with a better body – meaning shapely, thin and wrinkle-free.
What? This is diet culture — plain and simple. The feelings I have had about my body image and weight were home grown, and influenced by the premise that the only body type that is acceptable is small and thin.
My mom comes from an era where the thin, pretty woman was the goal that many women strived for. I am not blaming her – it was the culture of the day when I was young, and it is the same for so many other women and families. You may have grown up in this culture too and not even realized it. None of us at the time realized what ideas were really brewing in our heads and how it was going to affect us for years to come.
How sad that, in our culture, a woman’s relationship with her body is primarily not a loving relationship, but rather a relationship that causes insecurity, fear, self-doubt, shame, guilt, low self-esteem, and all too often, self-hatred.
Today we are moving into the anti-diet era – very slowly but it is happening. It is a movement – the Health at Every Size Movement and the Body Positive movement.
In the U.S., at least 5-10 million girls and women and 1 million boys and men are struggling with eating disorders – anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, or binge eating disorder (compulsive overeating). And the odds of finding a person who doesn’t have at least some body image issues are slim.
Ours is a nation that starves, diets, purges, binges, and exercises to the point of creating serious health problems, sometimes even causing death. And most of us are at least dissatisfied and at worst even hate some parts of our bodies. This is especially true for women, but men have body image issues, too.
This is the time for our era to say enough is enough and make a change and a shift in our thinking and throw the diet culture and thoughts of the past out the window.
For many of us, we loath our bodies, we judge ourselves and the time is now for this thought process to end. Here are ten simple ways to change your thinking and your actions to move towards acceptance of your body, and 5 special steps to help Moms instill positive body image in your own children.
How to Turn the Self-Loathing into Self-Loving?
Like all good and lasting things, it won’t happen overnight. It begins with small, positive steps. Here are 10!
- Find at least one thing you like about your body. Write it down. Tomorrow, find another.
- Tell your body how much you appreciate its wondrous abilities.
- Get rid of all the clothes that you don’t like or that make you uncomfortable.
- Challenge the media’s definition of beauty.
- Nourish your body with a variety of balanced meals and snacks.
- Slow down and remember to breathe.
- Move your body; not just exercise, but play, dance, skip, stretch.
- Pamper yourself with comfortable clothes, soothing beauty rituals.
- Post signs telling yourself how beautiful you are, inside and out.
- Tell your friends how beautiful they are, inside and out.
And mothers – Here are five things YOU can do to instill a positive body image in your own children:
- Model acceptance of your own body by bashing negative body talk.
- Practice non-dieting, intuitive eating behavior of eating for hunger, fullness and satisfaction.
- Eliminate talk of “good” or “bad” foods.
- Stop commenting on other people’s size or shape and instead focus on their other qualities and attributes.
- Compliment your children for non-appearance skills, traits and values.
To all the Mothers out there…
If you would like some help navigating your own body image, feel free to reach out to me and book a free 15-minute call so we can talk about your most pressing issue with food and your body image. I will offer the best ways to move forward and make the changes you need so you can thrive!
You can also learn more by checking out some of my online programs that guide you to get started on a journey to a life free of restricting food!
Do you wonder if you are ready to dip your toes into Intuitive Eating?
And you are looking to develop lifelong habits of healthy eating, whatever the ‘healthy’ may mean for you…
If this sounds like you… it means you ARE Ready to Dip your Toes into Intuitive Eating and Discover how it can CHANGE your LIFE! And this beginner intuitive eating program is a good fit for you.
Erica Leon is a Registered Dietitian and practices from a Health at Every Size (HAES®) lens. She is certified as an eating disorder specialist and is passionate about helping women at midlife, menopause and beyond to make peace with food and body image.
Erica is a highly sensitive nutrition therapist who takes the time to learn where you or your family are in the pursuit of health. Respectful of your individual needs and lifestyle, she will provide an honest assessment of whether or not you are a good fit to work together. Click here to schedule a 15-minute Discovery Call with Erica to let us know about your needs, and to see which of our Dietitians is the best fit for you!
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