Media Monday: How to Talk to your Daughter (and Yourself) about Food

TEPF Volunteer

I’m currently reading a book called, “Gaining: The Truth About Life After Eating Disorders,” by Amiee Liu.  One of the topics she discusses in “Gaining” was how important it was for her as a woman and a mother–who had suffered with eating disorders–to talk about food and her body in front of her child. (She also shares others women’s similar experiences.) This is such an important topic, and it just so happens that recently I have seen a lot of posts on Facebook about this very topic. (Yay friends!) Specifically an article in the Huffington Post called, “How to Talk to Your Daughter About Her Body.”

I’m listing several of the suggestions from this article below (and added my own spin to a few). If you have children (or grandchildren) perhaps you will find these to be a good reminder or maybe even inspiring. If like me, you do not have children, I believe these are really good tips we can use to talk to ourselves (our inner daughters), too.

  1. Don’t talk to your daughter about how her body looks — talk to her about how her body works. “Your (my) legs are strong and help me to climb big hills.”
  2. Don’t say anything if she’s (you’ve) lost weight. Don’t say anything if she’s (you’ve) gained weight.
  3. Don’t say you hate your body in front of your daughter (or to yourself in the mirror).
  4. Don’t go on a diet or start counting calories in front of your daughter (just don’t do it).
  5. Do say to your daughter (yourself): “You look so healthy!” “You look so strong.”
  6. Do be kind to yourself and others — live by example — it’s amazing how our kindness to others can be like a biofeedback mechanism to ourselves.
  7. Do learn to cook healthy and delicious meals — and teach your daughter (yourself) the joy of cooking and the beauty of real food.
  8. Teach your daughter (yourself) about how food helps to fuel and heal the body.
  9. Teach your daughter (yourself) how to eat mindfully.
  10. Teach your daughter (yourself) how to listen to her (your) body cues.
  11. Encourage your daughter (yourself) to run because it helps to relieve stress.
  12. Encourage your daughter (yourself) to climb mountains because sometimes doing something scary can be as Martha Stewart says, “a good thing.”
  13. Help your daughter (yourself) to find a sport she loves because it will help her to become a team member and a leader.
  14. Show your daughter (yourself) women don’t need men to move furniture of to fix the drain.
  15. Teach your daughter (yourself) that emotions and feelings are OK to have.
  16. Teach your daughter (yourself) to talk about her (your) feelings and deal with her (your) emotions in a positive way.