I don’t want to point fingers, but if you grew up in the 80s or 90s, it’s super likely that you have some weight bias. If you’re not sure what that means, weight bias involves having a negative attitude about yourself or others based on weight or body shape. Sound familiar?
Honestly, it would be pretty impossible to come out of the jazzercize and buns of steel era without believing that body fat was abhorrent and must be destroyed. All those VHS fitness tapes and super skinny models in Seventeen magazine messed with our heads.
Dealing with our own body issues is tough enough, but how do we handle it if we have concerns about our own child’s weight? And even if we don’t have concerns about their size or weight, how do we help them love and trust their bodies while skipping the self-criticisms?
We have tips HERE on what you can do (and not do) if you are worried about your child’s weight. But if you want to work on eliminating your own weight bias, you can start by “faking it til you make it” with some of these suggestions.
Stop judging your own body.
Each day as you get dressed, look in the mirror and force yourself to express some gratitude. Your body has helped you do some awesome things. If you see scars, dimples, folds, that you don’t like, recognize that these are all part of your body’s patina and tell the story of its journey.
Alter your comments.
If you find yourself starting a sentence with “You look….” PAUSE and select a word or phrase that isn’t about physical appearance (pretty, skinny, gorgeous) but carries more importance (happy, confident, prepared, like you’re having fun).
Don’t say anything.
When you feel yourself about to comment on someone’s size or food choices (even if it’s a whispered comment to your best friend), STOP. Nobody needs to hear that. The more you mute your judgmental comments, the easier it gets to empty them from your thoughts.
Stop categorizing food as good or bad.
All food is food. Some has more nutritional value. If you child only wants to eat candy and cookies, put out some other more nutritious foods to eat WITH the treats. Villainizing certain foods can increase the risk for secretive eating or restrictive dieting and eating disorders.
Work hard on your role modeling.
Whether it’s enjoying ice cream or moving your body every day, do your best to create healthy behaviors around food and exercise. Show your children that food can be nourishing, comforting, and fun, and we don’t have to punish ourselves for enjoying it. Model moving your body for fun instead of “exercising off what you eat or drink.” When kids have fun moving, they are more likely to become lifelong movers.
What else has worked for you? Add them to the comments. We'd love to know!
Did you know Girlology has grade-by-grade video on demand playlists to support her and you — on topics like this and lots others? Learn More