I spoke recently at an event where I made this point to Moms especially…..how do they speak about themselves; their bodies in front of their children?
This is important. With so many body image concerns out there – and it’s a massive spectrum from not being comfy in our own skin; putting ourselves down, to eating disorders, I felt strongly about addressing this.
So much of what we think, do…even become….. has a lot to do with our home lives growing up. And our love of our bodies is nothing different.
In today’s world, so many youngsters and teens are unhappy with their bodies; falling prey to the pressures out there that are constantly barraging them wherever they look. It affects approx. 90% if not more, of women and girls and believe it or not, men and boys too! In 2011 the number being quoted was between 40% and 60% for men and boys. And …. youngsters as young as 5 are experiencing it.
Something has to give. If we can change the language (if needed) in the home it’s a start. I grew up in a household that was very often on “diets”. Don’t get me wrong; was a great childhood, however this is going to put someone on a certain track. I am happy to say I did kick this need to do diet – and need to pick holes in my body, and I’m passionate about helping others do the same.
For instance, when a Mom tells her daughter she can “do anything”, is “perfect just the way she is”….but then heads off to a phone call with a friend that the daughter overhears and puts herself down, THIS is what the daughter will take in. If a Mother is constantly putting her body down; wishing she were something else shape- and weight-wise, the kids are going to take it to heart. Both boys and girls.
It’s about creating a healthy, mindful language therefore in the home. It’s also not putting pressure on others to “diet” or be hugely active (obviously we want a nutritional strategy that is healthy for them mind, body, soul AND activity is important). But….we don’t want to make these such a focus they become a pressure and for all the wrong reasons.
Often, people are unhappy with their bodies…but it’s not about losing the weight that will make them happy. It’s about looking deeper inside as to the why – and finding ways to overcome that.
So….tips for at home – or for anywhere; this is great to take to heart and even use in everyday living. The more positive you can be about yourself, the better you’ll feel.
- Be a positive role model yourself. Take care of yourself; create a healthy, active lifestyle that you enjoy – and they will see….and at some point hopefully (through osmosis ) try too.
- Focus on their abilities; what successes they’ve had…not on weight or appearance or anything connected with this.
- Avoid commenting on others’ appearances.
- Review your language at home (family members too) and your day-to-day language about your body. Embrace all that you are; be proud of your abilities and successes and let this shine through so your daughters (sons too) take this in. This one is key.
- Create family dinners. Great for conversations and a great way to get everyone together; making this a “team effort” to be healthy and happy; no focus on just one person.
- Social media: this is huge. Help your children think about what they see and the messages they hear. So much is fake when it comes to photos, have conversations with them about this, helping them understand they are not lacking because of what they see.
- Get them involved in activities they ENJOY; not activities FOR weight loss. If they (and you) can enjoy activity it will build confidence amongst other things. Enjoying what you do is crucial to follow-through.
- Let them know we go through life and things change. Shifts occur with our bodies and sometimes we can’t control them (ie puberty etc). But….with the right mindset we CAN control how we / they feel. With the right tools they can get through. With the knowledge that it won’t last forever they can be hopeful.
I seem to come back to body love time and again since it’s such a killer of confidence (the lack of it) and so many seem to be somewhere on the spectrum. Many of us “get it” as we age. My goal is to help as many – as young as possible yes; but at every age love themselves.
After all…you (and they) rock.
Want help with this? I offer online support, FaceTime support and in person. Let me know and I’ll be happy to help you SHINE 🙂