What do you know about who is speaking to your children? Does it matter?

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This past weekend, some serious allegations were brought to light regarding a group (more specifically the group’s co-founder) who was scheduled to visit several high schools in my area next month. The result was the co-founder, who was also one of the lead speakers, resigning. I’m guessing he resigned because his past has been highly publicized in the last several weeks causing major uproar and because his current published writing is viewed by some as über controversial, damaging, and inappropriate. More

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Body Image Issues ~ Let’s Get Real

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I’m perplexed by organizations or individuals who put on the façade of empowering ALL women to love themselves and their bodies, but who are in reality only narrowly accepting that which falls into the ideas, messages, and images that work for their way of thinking or their body type. Why is it that some of the people who say they are for promoting positive body image, actually shut down the women who do not have bodies similar to their own?  More

What Do You Think About This Diet Book For Children…

We cannot ignore the fact that some children are obese and that may lead to self-esteem, body image, confidence, and serious long-term physical health issues. I understand that this is a complex issue that needs to be addressed. But this type of book, with that type of title, isn’t the way to go about making a positive change. This book is irresponsible and sends an unhealthy message. More

A Healthy Active 6-year-Old Girl Thinks She’s Fat & So Do Many More Young Girls Starting at Age Three. Are We Doing This To Our Children? What We Can Do Differently…

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Negative body image for girls can begin as young as 3 years old. Please watch this video as 6-year-old, Taylor Call, shares her feelings of being fat and a panel of 5 to 8-year-old girls talk about their friends, mothers, and teachers being “fat”.

I don’t think kids are born with an innate sense of obsessive body consciousness. I think we—meaning mothers, fathers, teachers, peers, and the especially the media–are creating an atmosphere in which there is constant pressure to be “more beautiful”, “thin”, and “better looking”.

Case in point: More

Should Parents Put Their Kids on a Diet? by Liz Nord

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I am in the April issue of Redbook, discussing if we should put our children on diets. I said, “No”. This is my unedited version. I’d love to hear what you think!

Also, I am contributing to Cassandra Mack’s new book, “Grooming Girls for Greatness: Advice and Wisdom for Parents From Parents, Teachers, and Caregivers,” which will be out late Summer or in the Fall. This is a book to help parents build confidence, character, and coping skills in their daughters. More info to come…

Should Parents Put Their Kids on Diets?

Diets and children are not a good mix. I want my kids to have life-long healthy relationships with food and their bodies. By modeling a healthy lifestyle, we can teach our children to celebrate their bodies, savor food, and be active for life. Dieting, which includes food deprivation, restrictive eating, excessive exercise, and negative body talk, can lead to low self-esteem, negative body image, and serious eating disorders.

I have heard first-hand, from women who dieted as children, who expressed the horrible physical, mental, and social consequences and warped thinking that diets lead to—I even know someone who died from the affects of childhood dieting because it led to her disorder eating, which spiraled out of control. I also know women who have wrecked their metabolism, become obese, become anorexic, suffer from body image issues, or lost teeth from binging that started as “innocent” childhood dieting and food vilification. More

Should High School Students Have to Post Their Name with Weight & BMI on the School Chalkboard?

One of my friend’s, Andrea Owen, shared this story with me about what happened at West Ranch High School in Valencia, CA last week. It’s unbelievable…

This is part of a note from Carrie (via Andrea Owen).

“I have a girl who works for me, who is a senior in high school. She’s a total rock star. She came to work today with a cranberry juice drink, and I asked her what it was and what she was doing. It looked suspiciously like a fast and she’s a slim girl to start with. She told me that their AP Anatomy teacher had them all measure their BMI and their Body Fat and write it on the board with their name and that they get 10% extra credit on their final if they can all lose 10% of their body fat in the next two weeks. She told me that the class is really hard and that she needs the extra credit. She told me that she asked if it was okay to just put male/female and the numbers instead of putting down their names because one of her friends in the class is overweight and was embarrassed. He said that they had to put their names. She told me that five girls left the class crying and that some of the boys were taking pictures of the data with their phones and she thinks they’re going to put it on Facebook.”

Can you believe that business? That doesn’t exactly provide a healthy stress-free learning environment for all of the children. Not only does this seem like a privacy violation, but the teacher displays very poor taste. I can’t believe he was letting students take pictures of everyone’s weight and BMI. Also, I highly doubt all kids in the class need to lose 10% BMI. What about those who are already thin, but feel the need to lose weight to make the grade? Losing 10% BMI in two weeks could be dangerous.

A person’s weight and BMI should have nothing to do with the grade they receive in class–ever. Also, I cannot think of one good reason to make it mandatory to put their names, weight, and BMI on the chalkboard.

If you had a high school aged child who came home and told you this, what would your reaction be?

Women Eating Cake ~ Guest Post by Kate Fridkis

Note from Liz: I met Kate Fridkis on-line about a year ago through our blogs (sounds funny, but true).  She started a new project that I would like to share with you. Here is Kate…

Kate Fridkis blogs about body image at Eat the Damn Cake and education/homeschooling at Un-schooled. She also writes for the Huffington Post and Aol’s MyDaily. She is twenty-five and lives in Manhattan, where she feels dramatically unfashionable on a regular basis. 

It’s always a big decision. There’s always a disclaimer. There might be a brief struggle. We’re never supposed to. Actually, we really shouldn’t. We’re always saying that. “I shouldn’t.” We insult ourselves. “I’m such a pig.” We roll our eyes. “I can’t believe I’m doing this.”

It’s a piece of cake.

But it’s never JUST a piece of cake. More

10 Ways to Empower & Support Your Daughter ~ Guest Post by Kendra Sebelius

  1. BE MINDFUL of how you model to your daughter
    1. Ban FAT TALK now! Avoid weight-related discussions at home, such as talking about your own weight and encouraging their children to diet, as well as any form of weight-teasing. Talking about weight loss may have harmful consequences for your daughter’s health and self body image.
    2. Stop diet talk and diet behavior! Girls with dieting moms are associated with greater use of unhealthy and extreme weight control behaviors.
  2. EDUCATE your children on overall health, nutrition and fitness
    1. Remember that health includes body, mind and spirit.
    2. Take a nutrition class together, or find a nutrition coach to help incorporate healthy eating habits, based on moderation, balance, and research intuitive eating (Recommended reading: Intuitive Eating, by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD).
    3. Discuss fitness, exercise, and learn what your daughter enjoys doing. Fitness can be fun, and whether she enjoys team sports, or individual activities, help support your daughter in her fitness goals. More

Hot Topic: Body Image, Self-Esteem, and the Media by Liz Nord

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Filippi Hamilton on the catwalk on the left and photoshopped on the right.

I read the recent Glamour magazine article, “Shocking Body-Image News: 97% of Women Will Be Cruel to Their Bodies Today” and it made me think of my daughters and all the young boys and girls, teens, and women who have or will struggle with self-esteem and body image issues at some point in their lives.

The Glamour magazine article said, “On average, women have 13 negative body thoughts daily—nearly one for every waking hour. And a disturbing number of women confess to having 35, 50, or even 100 hateful thoughts about their own shapes each day.” The article went on to say, “In a University of Central Florida study of three- to six-year-old girls, nearly half were already worried about being fat—and roughly a third said they wanted to change something about their body.”

These are very disturbing statistics. More than ever before, the body hatred epidemic is beginning at a younger age. How can we stop this? A few ways we can help break the cycle are by loving and accepting our bodies the way they are, setting a good example for our children by not talking negatively about our bodies, not buying into the false imagery the media is selling, giving kids the tools they need to build their self-esteem and confidence, and having conversations with our kids about the reality of the artificial images and messages they are exposed to. I also think we should have more diversity in the media. The recent rise of plus models have helped expand the idea of beauty and acceptance, but I wish those women were used alongside straight models with more regularity. I also hope to see more un-manipulated pictures of men and women of varying shapes, sizes, ethnicities, physical abilities, and ages, which includes people who are short, tall, plus, thin, and every woman in between. Is that too much to ask? More

What To Do If You Think Your Child Is ‘Overweight’ ~ Guest Post by Julie Parker

 

I read an article yesterday that was written by a Mum who took her eleven year old daughter to Jenny Craig. The reason given was because her daughter had low self-esteem and she considered her to be overweight. Together with her daughter the Mum gave up ice cream and went for two, five-mile hikes a week. Like most Mums she outlined that all she wanted was her daughter’s happiness, but unfortunately relayed that her daughter suffered with disordered eating for many years post Jenny Craig and that she is aware that now as an adult she hates her body. I did not learn if the daughter lost weight or not.

I read the article a number of times and felt sad that the supposed ‘answer’ to a child’s self-esteem issues was a very expensive weight loss program.  I don’t wish to blame or disrespect the Mum in any way, but reading the article has prompted me to share with all of you some tips and ideas as to more positive ways to support your children who may be experiencing negative body image, low self-esteem and concerns about their body and weight.  I hope you find them useful.

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