My daughter had a huge impact on my body image and eating habits. My mother passed her dysfunctional eating behavior down to me and I was determined to break the chain. I saw that my obsession with my body and trying to reach perfection was incredibly unhealthy. While to the outside world I appeared to epitomize health (As a Master Personal Fitness Trainer I was thin, toned and ripped!), I was exhausted all the time and my body dissatisfaction and restrictive eating habits were having a negative impact on my life. I got help and worked on loving my body and myself. As a result, I've been a better mother and role model for my daughter and have been able to help her with the challenges girls face as they become women.
Mother's have a huge impact — through both verbal and nonverbal messages — on their daughters' body image, eating habits and dieting behaviors. Research shows that best friends and mothers have the most influence on whether or not a girl will develop dysfunctional eating behaviors.
You can help your daughter and yourself develop healthier eating and exercise habits and a positive body image by asking yourself a few questions:
• How do I feel about my own body?
• Do I make negative remarks about my body or other women's bodies?
• Do I criticize or judge my daughter's body, weight or eating habits?
• Am I afraid that my daughter will gain weight?
• Have I restricted her eating?
• Do I diet, over exercise or obsess about my weight?
• Do I hide my body from my family and friends?
• Have I focused more attention on my daughter's weight than my son's?
Did you answer yes to any of these questions? Don't beat yourself up. Forgive yourself and consider what you can do today to accept your body and foster a positive body image in your daughter.
In honor of Mother's Day please share this post and tell others how you are working on body acceptance and helping your daughter do the same.
Dr. Ellen Albertson is a psychologist, registered dietitian nutritionist, licensed wellness coach and founder of www.SmashYourScale.com, the website for women who want to achieve health and happiness without destructive diets. Dr. A is at @eralbertson on twitter and https://www.facebook.com/SmashYourScale.
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