I just came across a great article about modeling positive body image in your home. So often we forget that our children are little sponges soaking up all our own self loathing habits that we might not really want to pass onto the younger generation. These 10 guidelines are a great place to start (I have added my own commentary underneath each suggestion).
1. Don’t address someone as fat. Fat is not ugly!
Try to convey that all bodies are beautiful and if everyone looked the same the world would be a very boring place. Also take the focus off of appearance and compliment your family on inner qualities.
2. Try not to weigh yourself in front of your kids.
Or weigh yourself at all, we often place so much value on the number but it is really just our relationship with gravity. If you find that weighing yourself causing your emotions to fluctuate or causes you to engage in unhealthy behavior – get rid of that scale!
3. Do not try hard to fit into an old pair of jeans or talk about losing weight in front of them.
Get rid of too small clothes. They will only make you feel shame and/or guilt.
Foods should not be labeled as junk and healthy or good and bad, that causes more guilt and shame. Instead talk about what the food can do for your body and getting a variety of foods in your diet is key.
5. Stop buying low-fat cheese and milk while you are with the kids.
Stop buying it all together. The fat in dairy products will make you stay full longer and feel more satisfied.
6. Never ask her if you are looking fat?
Never ask anyone this. You either think they are lying or someone is going to seriously hurt your feelings if they say you do look fat, so wants the point? Just another way to feel less than. Focus on what you like about yourself.
7. Share the importance of exercising to be fit and healthy versus being thin.
Also discuss that healthy can look very different to a variety of people.
8. Explain the benefits of being fit.
Being fit is not always healthy especially if that is not your typically body type. Discuss the difference between healthy and unhealthy exercise and how too much can definitely be dangerous.
9. Never discuss diets in front of the kids.
Cut the fat talk and diet talk out completely, not just in front of your kids.
10. Never share your anxiety about weight gain, diets and health with your kids. Always promote positive body image.
Agree, agree, agree!