Recently, I posted a photo of my beautiful niece on Instagram with the following caption:
The thing is, my niece looks so much like me, sometimes I pretend she’s all mine. “I have a girl! I have a princess.” But then I remember that one day, this beautiful little girl will turn into a beautiful woman and that’s a bit too scary. So I kiss her and hug her and spoil her and hand her back to my brother damn quick.
As she grows, I want to protect her from the pressure to live up to society’s version of perfection when it comes to body image. And one of our best defenses against Dietainment is knowing it when we see it. Unhealthy diet messages disguised as entertainment are easy to miss, because they often hide in plain sight. Examples of Dietainment include messages or advertisements that do the following:
– Promise unrealistically fast weight loss that sounds too good to be true
– Lack valid scientific research to support claims
– Use over-the-top, implausible headlines like “slim down your belly fat in just a week”
Bella is still young, but if you have a daughter, granddaughter or niece who is at an influential age, you can help break the cycle by being a positive role model for the young women in your life!
– Focus your conversations about weight on being healthy and feeling good
– Show positive body image values by avoiding negative phrases like “I’m so fat”; instead, you can say things like “my goal is to be healthy”
– Model a healthy, active lifestyle by enjoying lots of physical activity and eating a balanced diet
And, sign the petition to help stop Dietaiment.
Building up your child’s self-esteem and ensuring that they develop a strong sense of self-worth is a great way to help reduce the impact of Dietainment messages. It’s funny, but during the first few years of my boys’ lives, I felt that I’d been given a hall pass on girls’ issues. Surely the boys wouldn’t obsess over their bodies, right? They’d never diet obsessively or dissect selfies from their friends and “frenemies” alike – surely not!
But then I realized that one day, they may directly or indirectly impact the way a young girl feels about herself. And the best thing I can do as a mom of boys is make them aware of what is beautiful in other people – and that doesn’t always equate to the size of ones waistline.
To date, 16,704 people have signed the petition to stop Dietainment. Let’s keep the momentum going, and put young girls on a path to a happier, healthier life without dieting and build a more positive future for every generation to come.
For more information and to sign the petition, visit worldwithoutdieting.ca.