When women come into our program we always ask about their diet history and many share that they’ve been on a “diet” their whole lives. Some even shared specific calorie restrictive diet programs that their parents had them do as kids. Developing a habit of running to a “quick fix” diet is something that can begin in childhood. In fact, it’s something that we, as parents, can pass on to our own children if we’re not careful.
We want out daughters to celebrate who they are, not feel insecure about their bodies. If you personally struggle with body insecurity, we know it’s not something that you want to pass on. Let’s discuss how we break that cycle!
- Love your own body and treat it well. More is caught than taught. If your daughter sees you picking apart your own body, she will learn that behavior. On the contrary, when she sees you prioritizing your own health she will learn that behavior. Eat well, exercise, and talk nicely about yourself. Don’t feel guilty taking 30 to 60 min/day away from your family to exercise and meal prep. These are behaviors you want your own children to implement. Modeling that behavior is a gift to your children! Share your Non Scale Victories with your daughter! Your enthusiasm is contagious and she will love watching your confidence and success!
- Teach your daughter how to eat to nourish her body. Eating to nourish is different than eating for pleasure and your kids need to know that. Water intake, vegetable consumption, sleep patterns, eating in moderation are all things that can be discussed with your family. If you’ve landed on this blog, you’ve likely learned a thing or two about nutrition. Don’t hoard that information. Share it! Talk about the macronutrients and micronutrients that are on their plate while you’re sitting at the dinner table together. Teach them that protein makes them strong, carbohydrates give them energy, and fats help with brain development. Read more about How to Teach Your Kids About Nutrition HERE.
- Avoid food restrictions. Trade restriction for teaching. Ask your kids, “What’s the servings size on that bag of chips?” Give choices. “Do you want this treat now or would you rather wait until after dinner?”
- Don’t punish or reward with food. We don’t want to teach our kids emotional eating. If they’ve had a bad day, go for a long walk and talk. If they’ve had a great day, spend quality time together. They shouldn’t get treats for doing a good job and vegetables for doing a bad job. All food should be celebrated and exciting. Get rid of any notion that says they need to “earn” a treat.
- Reward healthy behaviors with praise. Kids love your affirmation more than anything else! If you notice them trying foods they never have before, praise them! If you notice them putting protein on their plate, praise them! If you see them eating in moderation, praise them! If they are eating vegetables, praise them! If you notice them taking initiative with exercise, praise them! If they are becoming more self aware of thier eating habits, praise them!
- Watch what you say. Girls especially can be more sensitive and self conscious. Think before you speak. Even if you think it’s a joke, the words that we say can stick forever. My step dad used to make fun of my toes as a child, and to this day, I’m a little self conscious about my feet! Praise them for how beautiful they are on the inside and the outside.
It’s never too late to start this conversation. Whether you have toddlers or teenagers you can have a major influence on the trajectory of their health. They’re going to learn about nutrition somewhere, and we’d rather have it come from you.