Today’s topic might hit a nerve with many people. I want to first say, that I am not an eating disorder specialist in anyway, and I am not giving specific guidance. I am just sharing my experience with you.
I received an article from one of my readers and Fit Fun Bootcampers, that really hit me hard.
Eating disorders can be devastating, and cause the person to battle it their whole life. I have dealt with many clients who have had, or are still struggling with an eating disorder and just feel very overwhelmed and frustrated. From a physiological side, metabolisms seem to get so messed up when people go from a healthy weight to a very unhealthy weight and back up again. It seems like their bodies try to store as much fat as possible once they begin getting help and eating a healthier diet.
I am writing this not really because of the topic of eating disorders, but rather the example you are setting for your kids and friends. I too have been guilty of this, especially with past female college friends. I have made little comments here and there that have made them question their body image (even though I never realized it at the time).
The mom who sent me this article has two young girls and is concerned if she is sending the right messages to her daughters.
If you have been following this blog, and my views for any amount of time, you know how important family is to me, and the role it plays in the developmental process of a person. So I want to ask you a question? If you have kids, are your words and actions supporting a healthy behavior or hurting it? In your circle of friends, are you building your friends self image up or shooting it down? Are you encouraging healthy behaviors of those around you?
So what does this all mean? How can you lessen the chances your kids or friends will develop eating disorders or body image problems, or low self esteem related to their health/appearance. Here are some of my suggestions.
1. Exercise regularly, and make it part of your life. Incorporate your kids into it as much as possible. When they see you making exercise a priority, they are much more likely to want to be active and follow what you are doing.
2. Teach your kids to eat healthy by explaining “why” certain foods are healthy or unhealthy. Give specific reasons. (this might mean you have to research things yourself). Explain “why” certain foods are bad for you and the reasons why. My mom always, not only showed me which foods were better, but also explained why they were better and the health benefits that are associated with them. Another trick I have found to work is if your kids like a certain athlete, tell them that if they want to be as fit and strong as ________, it is very important that they eat their _______.
3. Always give them positive affirmations and tell them they are beautiful and loved so much.
4. Never tell your children you are on a diet. Get that word out of your vocabulary! Instead, tell them you are making healthier food choices in order to give you more energy to keep up with them!
5. Never tell your kids that you are fat or your are trying to lose weight. Instead, tell them that you are getting more fit and strong in order to be the best mom/dad possible.
6. Don’t talk about weight around your kids. It is so easy to say, “I need to lose weight,” or “Jane has really gained some weight of late!” This is how I have hurt some of my friends, by commenting about others weight. They immediately compare them self to that person I was commenting on and draw comparison from that.
There is no way you can prevent any of this from happening, but you can definitely lessen the chances of it occurring. With all of the negative images that Hollywood and MTV portray, it is an up hill battle. But all we can do is our part!
When I created the Fit Moms For Life program, I initially only saw this as a benefit to the mom. But having put over 275 moms through the program the past couple years, I have realized that it changes the whole family. Kids who never use to be interested in being active are watching their mom workout and want to do it with them. Kids who wouldn’t eat their veggies or other healthy foods, are now excited to, because they have seen their mom and dad begin to eat them. Kids who wouldn’t leave their moms side are now seeing her take time for herself, which will subconsciously stick with them into adulthood, and teach them that it is ok to have some “me” time every once in awhile.
Because of the overwhelming success of the Fit Moms For Life program, I have put it all together into a monthly home workout/nutrition program delivered to you each month to your doorstep! I would love to give the first one out for free. I am also including a free 58 minute CD where I share my top 7 weight loss secrets. All you have to pay is shipping. If you enjoy it and want to progress through the program and continue to see changes in your body, you don’t have to do anything and we will send you the next months DVD at our low $39/month rate. These are the exact workouts that I put my clients through that I now currently charge $150/hour to train. Each DVD is 90 minutes long, which includes; the workout, interview with the mom who is doing the workout, nutritional segment, and much more!
I encourage anyone out there who is looking to lose weight and maybe be a better example to your kids to check this program out. If it is not right for you, cancel and keep the DVD and CD as a gift for checking it out!
We officially launched this program 2 days ago, and already have 109 people on the program!