"Are you pregnant?" asks the 11-year old boy, pointing at her stomach and immediately breaking into hilarious giggles, encouraging everyone around him to look and laugh as well. And the girl, stunned, looks down at her belly and wonders, perhaps for the first time "am I fat?" And she starts to think, perhaps for the … Continue reading The terrors of middle school body harassment, and how to help your child navigate body shaming
Even the most body-positive parent with a strong knowledge of Health at Every Size can feel overwhelmed when their sweet child calls herself fat. We can talk about positive body image all we want, but when negative body thoughts inevitably find their way into our daughter's head, we may feel frozen and ill-equipped to respond. … Continue reading A mom’s letter to her daughter who called herself fat
Diet culture is a system that demonizes and hates fat. Diet culture tells us that even though 95% of diets fail, we should still maintain an endless pursuit of weight loss. Diet culture tells us that we'll only be healthy if we're thin, even though we know that thin doesn't equal health. Diet culture overrides … Continue reading What parents and educators need to know about diet culture, by Dana Suchow
Dear Ginny, My daughter is on the heavier side. I do my best to help her love herself by telling her how much I love her and that she’s beautiful to me. The problem is other people. For example, every time we see my mother she mentions my daughter’s weight. Sometimes she does this right … Continue reading Ask Ginny: What can I do when Grandma fat shames my kid?
Eating disorders are much more complex than body image, but negative body image is a hallmark of an eating disorder. We live in a culture that is strongly weight-biased and fatphobic. Our cultural messages assert that a person is healthier, smarter, and more worthy if they live in a smaller body. Weight stigma is very harmful … Continue reading Quiz: are you body positive? Plus, how to be a body positive parent and when “body positive” is not actually body positive
Eating disorders are strongly associated with low self‐esteem and poor body image. [1, 2] Self-esteem and body image must be improved in order to heal fully from an eating disorder because we can't change a behavior until we change the predisposing factors that drive that behavior.  If we tell a child that she's beautiful … Continue reading Self-esteem, body image, and eating disorders – what parents can do to help
Well-meaning educators can cause real harm by promoting dieting and weight loss at school. This includes making statements and putting up posters saying things like "eat less & move more," and "eat healthy foods." Such statements are problematic from a scientific, nutrition, health, eating disorder, and social justice standpoint. You may think you're being helpful, … Continue reading Educators: please stop promoting dieting and weight loss to children
When recovering from an eating disorder, it's quite common to gain weight. Whether your child begins recovery in a body that is underweight, of “average” weight, or “over” weight, recovery requires a loosening of the food restriction that underlies almost every eating disorder. While your child learns to eat intuitively and feed their body what it … Continue reading When your child gains weight while in recovery from an eating disorder
It is not unusual, when talking about the warning signs of teenage eating disorders, for someone to pipe up and say "that's normal teenage behavior." This comment makes me want to cry. Sure, they may be "normal" if we define normal as common, but when we're talking about body behavior, we must define "normal" as … Continue reading Body hate and obsession with appearance are not “normal” teenage behaviors
Dear Ginny, My daughter is plus size. Going shopping can be a real struggle since there are a lot of things that don't fit and just aren't flattering. When I tell her that something isn't flattering, she gets really angry. How can I say it in a nice way so that she avoids buying things … Continue reading Ask Ginny: Should I tell my daughter that an outfit is not flattering?