Health & Fitness

Diet Culture and Our Kids

Our kids hear everything we say. Especially if we’re not talking to them (seriously, they’ll hear that escaped curse word, but not you telling them to go brush their teeth). The way we talk to and around our kids matters. Your kids hear the way you speak about yourself, your body, and other people.

I’m guessing that if you’re reading this, you’ve dealt with diet culture you’re whole adult (and teen) life. That you have been unsatisfied with the way your body looks, for one reason or another. Unfortunately, the media helps less now than it did when it was just tv and magazine articles that we had to worry about. I honestly remember seeing Brittany Spears on magazines as a teen and wondering why on earth my body didn’t look like hers. (UM, genetics, extreme dieting, posing, and photoshop). Why did I feel that it was something wrong with ME?

Now, kids, teens, and adults are all seeing a constant barrage of social media. Legit, like 6-8 hours of it a day!!! I’m guilty of having super high screen times, just like the next person. We see snapshots of the absolute perfect parts of peoples lives, that are staged and modified to look even better, when in reality, what is out side of where the shot reaches might be the exact opposite. This model on Instagram apparently used this product to shed her body fat! This one wrapped herself in plastic. This one promotes 1200 calories per day!

What does this have to do with our kids?

We are the adults in the relationship with our kids. Yes, that had to be said. WE HAVE TO BE THE END OF THIS DIET BULL CRAP. Grown adults are falling for diet culture again and again and continuing to worsen their relationship with food, their self esteem, and lightening their wallet all at the same time as not actually seeing any results. Skinny tea that’ll make you lose 10 lbs in a week? Sure it will. Any diarrhea tea will do that for you.

We have got to stop doing this crap. I’m talking about ALL OF IT. Juice cleanses. Detox drinks. Extremely restrictive diets. Punishing ourselves with endless hours of cardio because we ate something ‘bad’. Buying dehydrated food that you have to add water to and only eat their foods. Eliminating food groups. Saying that fruit is bad because it has sugar in it. Paying a company to use their points system so that you don’t have to think about calories.

All the while, we’re dropping bombs at home like:

“Sugar is SO bad for you.” (It can be, but there is much more to it than that).

“Ugh, I’m SO fat.” (This makes me sad because it was me).

“I’ve been so bad. I ate ______ all weekend. Now I’ve got to be good.” (FOOD IS NOT ATTACHED TO MORALITY!!!!!! But I think that’ll be a whole other post).

“I’m going to detox my liver with ______”. (I hate to tell you this, but your liver doesn’t need you to buy that supplement. It’s literal JOB is to detoxify your body. If it can’t do that, then you need a liver transplant, not the supplement from Instagram).

“I’m not eating carbs anymore, they make you fat.” (This one KILLS me).

“I can’t wear that, I’m too fat, I look like a whale.” (This makes me sad too, because it was me, and still is a little but NOT out loud).

“She shouldn’t be wearing that, she’s too big.” (UGH!!!!).

“I’m such a failure. So and so did so well on that diet, and I can’t even lose 5 lbs!” (Cool but did so and so have a social life? Do they have the same time and life restrictions as you? Comparison is toxic).

“Having my child ruined my body.” (Again, sad face. Your body was made for bringing your beautiful child into the world, it wasn’t made to look like an airbrushed model. Bodies were made to LIVE in. AND if you’re saying this around your child, what message does that send??).

“I can’t wear shorts, I have too much cellulite.” (90% of women have cellulite. But the women we see on social media don’t….weird…it’s almost like IT WAS AIRBRUSHED OFF AND THEY DON’T LOOK LIKE THAT IN REAL LIFE!!).

“I can’t lift weights, I don’t want to get bulky.” (Smashes forehead on table).

WE HAVE GOT TO STOP MAKING IT OKAY TO TALK LIKE THIS!

Our kids are going to face a world where the diet companies are not held accountable for their actions (uh hello to the pregnant IG model promoting diarrhea tea…thankfully that one was actually taken down). A world where it’s OUT OF THE NORM to show a NORMAL BODY. A world that is constantly throwing images of perfection (which isn’t real), in their faces. The least we could do for them is to give them a solid foundation at home. Where normal bodies are celebrated for doing the things they’re supposed to do. Where we eat mostly real foods but also know how to make a rockin’ s’more. Where food doesn’t make you good or bad.

Did you know that girls as young as age 8 are trying to diet? EIGHT YEARS OLD!!!! Where did they get the idea from that their body wasn’t wonderful just the way it is? From the media and reinforced AT HOME BY US! And we wonder why mental health is on the decline…

We, as parents, NEED to be conscious of what we do and say. Our kids are watching and learning from everything we do. It has taken me YEARS to build a better relationship with food and my body after about 10 years of hating my body and dieting. I might not be thin, but I don’t need to be. I have fitness goals that I want to meet. I am a role model to my daughter. I started lifting weights about 3 years ago, and since changing my mindset back then, I have NOT ONCE gone downstairs to lift weights to try and atone for what I’ve eaten. That is HUGE!!

I don’t want Harper to go through ONE OUNCE of the diet bull crap that I went through. So for the last 3 years, my primary goal has been to build a good relationship with food and fitness. Because that’s what I want her to see and do. I can’t do anything about other people, tv, movies, and the media influencing her beyond her younger years, but I CAN influence her now, and I’m going to do my best to show her what it is to live a balanced life.

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