By Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, CEDRD
The comedian Nicole Arbour has it wrong—as do many people. Fat shaming is not helpful. It makes people feel worse about themselves, not better! Smart people recognize that putting people down is counterproductive to self-care, which ultimately leads to wellness. Our culture needs to refocus and promote positives specifically around food and body.
I received this email last week, that sparked a conversation between me and my colleagues and ultimately a petitioning a new FED UP campaign that I want to share with you. Share this post among your friends and peers, to prevent our children from learning from this program that labels foods as "good or bad" and sets the stage for eating disorders and low self-esteem.
Teach her about kindness towards others, but also kindness towards yourself.
Don't you dare talk about how much you hate your body in front of your daughter, or talk
about your new diet. In fact, don't go on a diet in front of your daughter. Buy healthy
food. Cook healthy meals. But don't say, "I'm not eating carbs right now." Your daughter
should never think that carbs are evil, because shame over what you eat only leads to
shame about yourself.
I’m learning that the only predictable part of this process is the work I put in. I’m going to keep doing what I can to ensure that the girls get the best possible start, but I realize that that’s all I can do – set the stage. My babies will eat the way they want to eat and grow the way they’re destined to grow. And while they’re busy experiencing new tastes and flavors, their mom is savoring the sweetness of stepping back and letting go.
Let your child know through your words and actions you accept him or her unconditionally. If your child comes to you upset about his/her large body, let your child know you love them as he/she is, that you love them no matter what and no matter what size. Do not suggest a diet or exercising together. If you were to do so, the suggestion sets up a condition. It says, “No, you are not ok as you are. I will help you change.”
Changing our behavior is never easy, especially as we get older. As a former aerobics instructor, fitness was always a passion for me, and exercise was built into my workday. After a serious injury and getting tired of the gym, I began looking for new ways to move my body for both physical and emotional health. I found it in a most unlikely place—the Internet.
Because most eating disorders (approximately 95 percent) surface between the ages of 12 and 25, parents are often a first line of defense against the development of these illnesses in their children.* Despite increased prevalence of eating disorders in the United States, widespread misconceptions about eating disorders remain that challenge identification, diagnosis and early intervention.