As a advocate for positive body image, self esteem and healthy living (without diets) I am often approached by parents who want to know how to help their kids. Typically they want to know how to help their child lose weight, avoid gaining weight, be happier in their clothes, fit in with the “right” crowd, stop being bullied, be more social, stop relapsing after “summer fat camp” and more.
Every parent I speak with has the same intention. They want to help their child lead a happy life where they shine and reach their full potential. Unfortunately, our society has trained the parents (all adults...) to buy into a diet and weight obsessed culture. We buy into a Billion dollar diet industry. The Diet Business is very good (for the people who run it!). Companies like Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers are actually linked closely to food companies (Heinz, Ben and Jerry's, etc.). We are also living in a media soaked culture. Hollywood sends out images of beautiful skinny, young, impossibly gorgeous people every single day. And the lack of diversity in all media makes this seem normal and attainable. It is attainable- if you are working in Hollywood with a full TEAM of people (and even then the makeup comes off).
So what can you do to help your kid? I recommend starting with a baby step. Look at your household and yourself to see what kind of behavior you are modeling. Are you dieting, watching the Biggest Loser, saying you hate your thighs, telling your kids to not eat certain things so they don't get chubby? I am not trying to change your mind about what you are accustomed to, but I am encouraging you to help your child change their mind so they don't continue living in the diet and weight obsessed world. The first way to do this is to ask your kids what they think about you (adults in the home) and how you approach diet and exercise. Kids tell the truth and this will be a great way to become more aware of what is going on in your home and perhaps your kids will have suggestions to change it.
Let me know how it goes! I have a lot more advice on this matter and I am confident you can and will raise very happy, confident, fulfilled children who are empowered to change their generation's views on what is beautiful or necessary to be amazing.
Fed Up Inc. educates kids on body image, self esteem and healthy living to prevent eating disorders. We are creating social change to be healthier and love our bodies.
Founded in 2009 Fed Up Inc. creates young leaders and peer educators. Based in Los Angeles, Fed Up goes inside “Hollywood” to get a close look at how media images are created. We work with stylists, makeup artists, photographers, hairstylists, actors, singers, personalities, agents, producers, directors and people behind the scenes who create the art that is Show Business. Our goal is to help educate everyone on how media is created and encourage people to stop comparing themselves to these images. Most importantly we are a grassroots campaign that encourages people to be their best individual selves. Our young people become Junior Ambassadors who are able to work hard to help promote a healthier and happier world. Fed Up educates people on “no body bashing”, discouraging negative talk about a person's body or food. We will be an international movement by 2011 and never hear the words, “I am on a diet” again!