This Mom Made A Commitment To End The Cycle Of Negative Body Image With Her Daughters

Photo by Bryan Brenneman on Flickr.com

 

It is nearly impossible not to be subjected to the subliminal messages about our body image everywhere we look.

While many companies have vowed to step out of the norm and feature women of all shapes and sizes, society’s standard for beauty has yet to go beyond skinny!

As mothers, we don’t want our daughters growing up and seeing us obsessed with our body image or feeling like their bodies aren’t good enough – so one mom is making major changes to set a new example.

Holly Garcia, writing for Scary Mommy, grew up in the 90s when diets were all the rage and Weight Watchers was a rite of passage.

Garcia tells us:

“I attended Weight Watchers meetings with my parents, and they showed me how to calculate points. I snuck my first strawberry Slimfast shake in my tweens.”

Like most teenage girls, Garcia craved to be thin and would do whatever was necessary to make her thighs a little slimmer or her “collar bones protrude ever so slightly,” as she writes in Scary Mommy.

Her genetic predisposition gave Garcia a more curvy, feminine body, so she began an unhealthy cycle of skipping meals to try and fight her natural form.

She writes:

It started the year I began high school. I’d never had as much freedom in my life as I did in my freshman year of high school. No one noticed if I skipped my lunch two or three days a week or substituted it for diet soda. You see, I was on a pom-pom squad (dance team) and was definitely one of the first and only girls to come into their full figure and I hated it.”

Sadly, Garcia was not the only young lady to feel this way.

BreakBingeEating.org reports that research reveals “50% of young 13 year old American girls reported being unhappy with their body. This number grew to nearly 80% by the time girls reached 17 years of age.”

What’s even worse is that a whopping 80% of all teenage girls live in almost constant fear that they will become fat, according to the featured research.

It took Garcia nine years to recover from her eating disorder, which was mostly successful thanks to therapy and treating the underlying issues that contributed to her negative body image.

And now, having two daughters ages 6 and 8, Garcia doesn’t want her young girls growing up feeling insecure about their bodies like she did.

And she definitely doesn’t want them to seek out unhealthy methods like starvation or extreme dieting to obtain the bodies seen in advertisements.

While there is nothing we can single-handedly do to stop “diet culture,” Garcia is working on “dismantling the dangerous and untrue narratives it glorifies” every day with her daughters.

How does she do this?

In her house, Garcia practices things that encourage “positive relationships with food and our bodies.” She writes in Scary Mommy:

  • In our home, we eat food so we have the energy to skip rope, run races, and play a million games of hide and seek.
  • In our home, what we choose to eat doesn’t have a moral association. The food might be sweet, or it might be salty, but it is not good or bad.
  • In our home, we move our bodies to keep them feeling good and strong. Exercise is not a punishment.

But most importantly, Garcia is a mom who shows her girls what loving the body you’re in looks like, trying her best to be a good role model so that the next generation of women can have a positive sense of self.

Our culture doesn’t make it easy to teach our children that all people have value and are worthy of love regardless of how they appear on the outside, but we can do our part by keeping the conversation open and being the example our children need.

 

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