Weighing Your…Conversations?

Body Shaming is Not a Fun Family Activity


Composite image - Anderson Graphics

Mind on my food, and food on my mind? Positive or negative attitudes toward your body might affect young people around you.

Cheyenna Snyder, Staff Reporter

Do parents talking about their diets and body weight in front of their children affect them?

Growing up I always heard my older sister and mom talk about their new low calorie diet, no carbs , detoxing, and countless more diets to shed body fat quickly. They even had a “no eating for a month” diet. [Which is NOT healthy – Ed.]

As a child I heard them talk negatively about their bodies and how they wish they could change things. Make this smaller, make this bigger, make this more toned, the list goes on.

From firsthand experience I do have to say, them talking about themselves in that way my whole life has made it hard to love myself and the body I am in. Through eating disorders, scared to death of stepping on a scale, never wanting my picture taken, and ignoring all mirrors, is something I do not wish on any young girl or boy to go through.

As my sister and mother talked about themselves they also negatively talked about each others body weight as well. Not meaning to my mother would always mention how my sister was getting a little bigger or how much she was eating.

Not knowing that she could possibly make my sister feel worse about herself more or making me consider if I was eating too much or if I was getting fatter.

As Judith Matz states in her article “9 Common Mistakes Parents Make About Their Kids’ Weight” she says “helping kids feel better about their bodies in this fat-phobic culture isn’t easy, and we need to be able to talk about it  in a open and non judgemental way.”

If my mom new then that her body shaming was taking a toll on us she probably would’ve been more careful what to say around us. Matz also says “instead of saying these jeans make me look fat, or I have to lose weight before I can wear a bathing suit say, I like the way this dress looks on me or I look beautiful today.” Parents should pass on positive outlooks on body image instead of pointing out every wrong thing about their bodies.

Although I was affected by this my brother only a year younger did not seem to be. So I thought  “does this only affect girls?”

I asked my closest friend of 11 years now, who is a senior here at Indian River. [Since this is a sensitive topic, he has asked to remain anonymous. – Ed.] I know he has had problems with his weight in the past–did his parents’ outlook on their bodies affected his weight?

He states, “Yes and no. I always heard my mom talk about how big her hips were when they weren’t really that big and my dad was constantly working out. Sometimes my mom would point out if he was getting “chubby” so he would work out harder.”

Continuing he says, “When I started to pack on weight I didn’t want her nitpicking at me too so I would start to eat less and work out more too.”

Everyone has heard the saying “kids are like sponges” which I think is very true. Believe it or not but they do absorb what their parents say and do. So I ask parents, aunts, uncles, older sisters/ brothers–when talking about your body keep it positive and don’t talk about your many diets you are on. You never know what little ears are lurking right around the corner and how you can affect them by what you are saying.