How to help your kids avoid toxic diet culture


I don’t enforce a lot of rules in my house, but there’s one thing I don’t allow — commenting on people’s bodies. It’s a difficult stance to take. We grew up criticizing others and celebrating people — women — for being thin.

My son is very thin, and I’ll admit I’ve joked about it to my mom and husband, but I shouldn’t, even if he’s not around to hear it. I don’t want him to think something’s wrong with his body, because there’s not. He’s perfectly imperfect the way he is.

The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders reports that 9 percent of the U.S. population, more than 28 million Americans, will have an eating disorder.

When I was younger, I would receive praise for losing weight by loved ones and even strangers. I equated being thin with being loved. Being overweight meant I was fat (I hate the f word) and ugly. I developed an eating disorder and went to great lengths, including plastic surgery, to be thin. But I’m still not thin. I’m trying to release those awful thoughts that were ingrained in me about being overweight, but it’s so hard.


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