via – Lydia M., AbsoluteFIT Blogger at AVAC®
Everybody wants their kid to be healthy and have a healthy body image; here’s how to not blow it.
I went on my first diet when I was eight. Somehow I doubt that I came up with that idea all by myself. So where did I get the notion that I needed to eat less, be “good,” slim down?
At home, that’s where. From my family: my mother, who never in her entire life allowed herself to feel good about her body; from my father, who had outmoded sexist notions of what women were supposed to look like and care about; from my grandmothers, both of whom had an absolute horror of A) being fat — which neither of them were, and B) women exercising on purpose (ladies didn’t sweat).
It took me till my late 30’s to truly appreciate and care for my body (not coincidentally, that’s when I started AbsoluteFIT!) — and I swore I would not poison my children with body-shaming comments (toward myself or them). My husband and I have only ever talked about fitness as being for fun and health, and about food as being for nutrition and pleasure (you will never hear me say the word “guilt” in relation to eating).
And now, there’s science backing me up: The American Academy of Pediatrics says that talking about “dieting” and weight loss is one of the most unhealthy, counterproductive things parents can do for their children’s bodies and body image.
Here are six guidelines from the HuffPo article linked above:
- Never encourage dieting.
- Don’t comment on your child’s weight, or even your weight.
- Never tease teens about their weight — a comment you think is good-natured and funny can send a teenager spiraling into guilt and unhealthy or risky weight-control behaviors.
- Eat together — it’s the best way to model healthy eating behavior.
- Focus on a balanced diet and exercise ― not weight loss.
- Create a healthy home environment.
AbsoluteFIT has been a wonderful way for me to show enthusiasm and excitement for fitness (beyond its direct benefits to my body, ha!), and I hope that attitude will rub off on my kids — I never want them to say they “have to” work out or eat less for guilt- or shame-based reasons.
Lydia Markoff is an Almaden-area writer, mom, and fitness enthusiast with Texas roots, a New York education, and a Californian heart. She plays bass, reads a lot, watches too much TV, and can be found in the AbsoluteFIT studio three to five times a week. Her life goals include having a body like Linda Hamilton’s in Terminator 2, and/or having Bill Murray randomly crash a party she is attending. If you need something from her, try bribing her with good coffee or cold beer; odds are, she wants one or the other of those right now.