Home » 6 Important Things to Tell Your Daughter About Food and Body

6 Important Things to Tell Your Daughter About Food and Body

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A couple looks at a waterfall and an image of Mark David

Growing up can be tricky, and for young girls, the constant constant barrage of negative media messages about food and body pose an added challenge. As parents, teachers, or friends, we want to help the girls and young women in our lives develop a strong sense of their own inherent worth and beauty, and we also want to foster good, healthy eating habits that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. How can we support them in their journey to become confident, radiant, self-loving adults? In this powerful new video from #IPEtv, Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, shares 6 essential messages that you can give your daughter to help her on her way!

Here is a transcript of this week’s video:

Greetings friends, this is Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating.

Today’s topic: 6 Important Things to Tell Your Daughter About Food and Body

If you’re the mother or father of a daughter, this is for you. If you mentor or care for a young woman in any way, this is also for you. And if you know someone who needs some advice on raising a healthy young woman, then please pass this along.

Girls are fantastically susceptible to eating challenges, body image woes, body hate, eating disorders, weight obsession, and all kinds of unnecessary inner turmoil and self punishing behaviors that flow from believing that they are somehow not good enough, and not lovable as they are. The statistics are stunning.

Over 90% of girls disapprove of their body. In a study of girls 3-6 years old, nearly 50% were worried about being fat, and about 30% were already wanting to change something specific about their body. The pain of a generation of young women is as stunning as it is unacceptable.

It’s time to address this epidemic of body hate head on. Speak to the young women in your life when they are indeed young. Here are 6 reminders to tell your daughter that are foundational for a healthy relationship with food and body.

And by the way, these are not statements that you say once or twice. They are quite literally everyday reminders. Young women are bombarded with hundreds of negative messages daily through media and culture. Positive, loving, uplifting reminders are the number one antidote to a world gone mad. This is all about a nice big daily dose of love and consciousness.

Here goes:

Reminder #1 – You are beautiful.

Say this ten thousand times if need be. Say it in little ways, big ways, say it about her body, her face, her smile, the way she moves, her hair, and all the special ways that make her lovable and adorable. Make little comments about her beauty that are unexpected. Pretend such reminders are like oxygen – they’re necessary for life. Even say these things when you’re annoyed that day, when you’re in a bad mood, or if you’re not feeling beautiful. Don’t skimp here, please. Be over-generous. The more you remind her of her beauty from the earliest times in life until forevermore, the happier and healthier she’ll be. Guaranteed, or you money back.

Reminder #2 – You are loved.

You can’t say this too many times or in too many ways. Knowing we are loved is the key to happiness as we move into our adult life. If you didn’t get this message in a way that landed when you were young, then in your adulthood, a significant amount of your behaviors, your habits, your drives, your challenges, and your heart aches are all about trying to correct. There are an infinite number of ways you can communicate love to your daughter. If you were not loved in this way in your childhood, then you can fix it all in the present moment by expressing love to your daughter in a verbal and unmistakable way. Go for it.

Reminder #3 – Healthy food ensures your body its best weight and most beautiful looks.

Let your daughter know from her youngest moments that healthy food and beauty are one and the same. And by the way, it’s true. Children and parents are easily hooked on junk food. Even if you have healthy food in your household, kids often rebel and want the poor quality stuff that the food industry hurls at us from every direction. Your task here isn’t easy, but the sooner you align high quality food and beauty, the better. Keep repeating this message in a gentle and subtle way. It’s not an argument. You’re not trying to prove anything. You are simply stating an irrefutable universal fact. On some level, it will be heard.

Reminder #4 – The opinions of others don’t matter.

A majority of humans are massively vulnerable to the opinions of others, no matter how harsh or foolish. Some of the happiest and most empowered people you’ll ever meet have mastered the art of immunization against the unkind opinions of others. It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, and your daughter. This is a hard one. Young people generally won’t believe this because their ego structure is, in fact, tied up in getting approval from the outside world. That’s why first and foremost, you always communicate your approval of them to your child. And next, remind them all the time that other people’s harsh opinions are useless. It’s a poison. Their criticism of your looks or your body means zero. Say it again and again. Eventually, maybe years later, it will land.

Reminder #5 – Don’t listen to the media and the culture if they tell you you’re not good enough. They’re lying.

To the young mind, movies, television, magazines, models, and rock stars are like gods. They rule the universe. They are a religion that’s believed in wholeheartedly. You cannot underestimate the power of media and culture to program and control the human mind. Back in 1960, my father would call the television “the idiot box.” I thought it was magic. Every time the TV was turned on he would say “time for the idiot box.” Wow, was he right! I finally understood it all when I hit my early 20s. The point is this: Don’t let your daughter get sucked in to the toxic beliefs of the religion of airbrushed models and movie stars, and the culture of brainless consumerism. Keep her away from as much foolish media as possible. Have rules in the house. Constantly criticize the kind of images that show impossible-to-attain bodies. Please don’t put down the models – but rather put the media in its place. Big difference.

Reminder #6 – Always treat your body with respect, and only associate with others who treat your body with respect.

Say it just like that. Remind her often. Tell her what respecting her own body can look like. Say kind words about yourself when you look in the mirror. Talk about what you love about yourself. Compliment yourself. Let her know that a single negative comment is silly and unnecessary and will make her feel less beautiful. If she compares herself to others, let her know that yes, everyone is different. Teach her that comparison always makes people feel unhappy. It doesn’t work. And not only should she treat herself with respect, but she should only associate with others who do the exact same. Remind her of this daily.

We live in a world that needs help, and that needs a whole new sense of enlightenment when it comes to raising healthy daughters. Be willing and courageous and loving enough to raise your daughter in love. Heal your own relationship with food and body by helping her with beautiful words of acknowledgment that perhaps you wish you would’ve gotten. What a great gift to give!

I hope this was helpful my friends.

Please email us at info@psychologyofeating.com if you have specific questions and we will be sure to get back to you. Thanks so much for your time and interest.

In the comments below, please let us know your thoughts. We love hearing from you and we read and respond to every comment!

A couple looks at a waterfall and an image of Mark David

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