Raising Informed Daughters: Knowledge is Power
I don’t know about you, but I feel like diet ads are all over the tv at the moment. There’s a new one around at the moment, it’s the diet that promises it’s not a diet, but a ‘lifestyle’. It’s so sad that we still buy into it even though all the research proves that diets don’t work long term, they never have.
One of the craziest things I learned when I started my journey into the diet free world after decades of chronic dieting, was that we were actually dieting ourselves heavier. WTF??? I couldn’t believe it; it was insane to me! If you want to learn more about that, just look up set point theory- I wish I’d known about it before I began my career as a dieter!
The other night I was in the bedroom with my 9-year-old daughter getting ready for bed, brushing our teeth etc. when a weight-loss ad came on. It was celebrating a former tennis star and her 30kg weight loss.
“Are those photos real?” she asked.
“Yes they are darling, but if you notice, the before photos always have darker lighting, they choose a photo where the person looks miserable, and then they show them all happy and in full light after they’ve lost weight, but what they don’t show you, is her feeling terrible about herself a few months later once she’s started to put the weight back on, because diets don’t work.”
As someone who suffered with poor body image from a very young age after watching my mum go on every diet under the sun, and as someone who privately battled with bulimia for 20 years, keeping my children safe from diet culture’s messages is incredibly important to me. I would go so far as to say that I am purposefully raising informed, eyes wide open, critical thinkers around the beauty/health/wellness industry and standards for women in particular.
I call stuff out.
Do you ever think about how everything sold to us is based on fear of us not being good enough as we are?
The eyelashes, the brows, the Botox, the diet shakes.
Lashes not long enough? Buy this! Skin showing signs of ageing? Try this! Tummy too round? Drink this, don’t eat that, join here, pay heaps of money to try to look like someone that you’re not!
These messages are everywhere but we’re so used to hearing them that we take no notice of them, we just absorb them and allow them to make us feel crap about ourselves. Not me, I’m pushing back. I am learning after a lifetime of trying to change my body, of trying to look a certain way, that I’m pretty damn fine just as I am.
Over the years I gave way too much weight to what others thought of me. I’d go so far as to say that what others thought of me, became more important to me than what I thought of myself. I can’t go back in time and change my experience, but I can do everything in my power to arm others against the industry that profits off of our insecurities, and it starts with my daughter.
“Has dad ever been on a diet?” She went on to ask.
“Yes, he has, dad and I both used to go on diets until we realised, they didn’t work.”
“What made you realise?” she asked.
“You did,” I replied.
You see when my daughter was 6, I was living a keto ‘lifestyle’. I’ll never forget the night she asked not to have pasta because I wasn’t eating it. “You need to eat the pasta”, I said to her. “But why do I have to have it if you don’t?” she replied.
She got me; I had no comeback.
It was in that moment and a few other moments that followed, that I became aware of the way she was learning from me. It became crystal clear that she was watching me and she was learning and I knew I needed to protect her from a lifetime of battling her body like I had. I had an opportunity to impact her for the positive but many things needed to change.
It was shortly after that I gave up dieting forever.
It was shortly after that I got rid of the scales.
It was shortly after that I began looking at myself in the mirror with kindness.
It was shortly after that I let her hear my inner voice, the one that had become grateful and appreciative for my amazing body and all it could do.
Our daughters need us to model acceptance of ourselves. They only learn to love their bodies when we know how to love our own, they only learn they’re good enough just as they are when we believe it about ourselves. The importance of this cannot be underestimated.
If you would like to learn more about how I turned my life around, you can order a copy of my book here.