Body Image

The Secret Every Mom Should Teach Her Daughter About Her Weight

The Secret Every Mom Should Teach Her Daughter About Her Weight

Every week I take my toddler to swim lessons, and every week it makes me think about girls and their bodies.

Not because of my body or because of my toddler’s body, but because of a 9-year-old girl who takes lessons on the other side of the pool.

I don’t know this girl, but I know her pain.

You see, this girl has clearly started going through puberty earlier than the other girls in her swim class. Her body looks very different from theirs. She has curves where they are straight; she has flesh where they have bones.

And she’s so, so uncomfortable about it.

How do I know?

Because she does that thing where she keeps her towel wrapped tightly around her until the second they have to get in the water.

Because during those few moments when the towel isn’t shielding her, she’s tugging endlessly at her tankini to try to hide her belly.

Because I see her eyes wander desperately to the other girls’ bodies over and over.

Every time I think, “Please don’t start fighting your body, dear girl. Not your beautiful, natural, perfectly normal body.” 

That’s a fight most women know all too well.

It’s a fight we wish our daughters could avoid completely.

The Secret Every Mom Should Teach Her Daughter About Her Weight

That’s probably impossible, though, considering the world we live in and its obsession with the physical appearance of girls and women. 

Nevertheless, there are some critical lessons about weight that most girls aren’t learning. Heck, most moms need a refresher too! These simple truths about our bodies are the backbone of body acceptance and self-esteem, so let’s make sure they’re a regular part of the conversation with our daughters. More →

The Secret to Raising a Daughter Who Feels Beautiful {Printable}

The Secret to Raising a Daughter Who Feels Beautiful {Printable}

The Secret to Raising a Daughter Who Feels Beautiful

“Awww, you look so pretty!” I squealed to my toddler after getting her all dressed up in her special outfit for Easter.

“Pretty, pretty!” she echoed, looking down and pointing to her dress. “This dress makes me pretty!”

I stopped dead in my tracks. 

The DRESS makes you pretty??? Where’d you get the idea that the dress has anything to do with it?

It was the last thing this feminist mama wanted to hear coming out of her daughter’s mouth!

How Did We Get Here?

Since then, I’ve been asking myself over and over again how my daughter—who is not yet two years old!—has already developed an association between the word “pretty” and her clothing.

Why does she hear the word “pretty” and immediately look down to see what she’s wearing?
More →

I’m Raising My Daughter to be Beautiful—And You Should Too

I’m Raising My Daughter to be Beautiful—And You Should Too

“Oh, it happens all the time. A lot of girls do it,” my student stated, with a bit of a shrug.

The nods throughout the classroom told me that, yes, a lot of girls really are doing exactly what she described.

I was filled with sadness, but not surprise.

Parents, Let's Raise Our Daughters To Be Beautiful—Not Just "Pretty." An inspiring, positive parenting article that all parents of girls should read!

We were about four weeks in to my Intro to Women’s & Gender Studies course, discussing the unattainable standards our society imposes on feminine bodies. My student shared a trend I had not yet heard of in which girls post a photo or video of themselves online along with the simple question, Am I pretty or not?

Yes, you read that right: Girls are asking the INTERNET for validation of their physical appearance.

The internet, where the comments section is always deplorable, where plenty of strangers are willing to show their ugliest sides and use their cruelest words. Where it’s all too easy to forget that the person behind the screen is just that: a person.

Girls are requesting scrutiny of their bodies, their faces, and their hair—inviting thousands of strangers to offer opinions, criticism, and judgments of their attractiveness.

Like I said, sad but not surprising. More →

I Don’t Want My Body Back

I Don’t Want My Body Back

Why I Don't Want My Body Back“Your baby is how old again?” she asked me.

“Ten months, I can’t hardly believe it!” I responded.

“And you’ve obviously gotten your body back, too. Good for you!”

[Insert my eye roll]

There’s no shortage of advice out there for how to “get your body back” after having a baby, and in case you think it isn’t doable, there’s always a gossip magazine to show you how such-and-such celebrity got hers back in just 3 weeks/days/hours/minutes.

That’s right, you just went through the most physically and emotionally exhausting feat of your life, and you’re led to believe your next thought should not be, Whoa, my body is freakin’ INCREDIBLE! but rather, I wonder how soon I can start doing crunches again?

This is unbelievably messed up, and I think it all begins with that ridiculous phrase “get your body back.” 

More →

How to Accept a Compliment Graciously: 4 Best Ways to Respond

How to Accept a Compliment Graciously: 4 Best Ways to Respond

Inside: Exactly how to accept a compliment without clamming up, turning beet red, or undervaluing yourself.

How to accept a compliment. 4 ways to respond graciously.

A few weeks ago, after receiving a compliment on a project I’d been slaving over for weeks, I found myself exhibiting several symptoms of imposter syndrome. 

What’s impostor syndrome, you ask?

It’s when a colleague compliments your work on a report, and you point out the fact that you missed a single typo on page 14.

It’s when the stranger at Starbucks says she likes your outfit, and you say, “Thanks, but look at the terrible hair day I’m having!”

It’s when a fellow mom notes how well-behaved your son is, and you insist that he’s never usually this good (even though he actually is). 

It’s when a friend congratulates you on a recent success, and you blush and chalk it all up to good luck.

A lot of successful women suffer from impostor syndrome in everything from their careers to their clothes to their kids. “I don’t deserve this,” we think. “They’re saying I’m good enough, but I know I’m really not.” 

One way to tell if you’re suffering from impostor syndrome is to question if you really know how to accept a compliment graciously. 

If you clam up, start squirming, and turn beet red when someone compliments you, you’re probably infected. If you immediately redirect the conversation or—even worse—counteract the compliment by insisting you can’t accept credit or that it was all a fluke, get thee to the doctor. You’ve got a bad case of impostor syndrome. 

Thankfully there’s a cure, and the treatment regimen begins with healthier responses to those awesome accolades you get.  More →

12 Ways to Love Your Body Starting Right Now

12 Ways to Love Your Body Starting Right Now

12 ways to love your body starting right nowWhen talking about romantic relationships, you’ll often hear quotes about love being more than just a feeling—it’s also an action. Love is a verb more so than a noun, they say. It’s as much about what you do as it is about how you feel.

I think the truth in that philosophy applies beyond our relationship with our partners or spouses; it’s also relevant to the way we think about (and therefore treat) our bodies.

In other words, if we want to love our bodies, we have to start acting like it!

Here are some ideas for how you can do just that, beginning this very second. More →

How To Keep Your Self-Esteem Intact While Bathing Suit Shopping

How To Keep Your Self-Esteem Intact While Bathing Suit Shopping

How to Keep Your Self-Esteem Intact While Bathing Suit ShoppingIf there’s one activity that threatens to crumble a woman’s hard-fought self confidence and positive body image, it’s bathing suit shopping.

It seems that no matter how much we strive to accept ourselves just as we are, there’s always another layer of self-consciousness to peel away or another rock of insecurity to overturn. And shopping for swimwear has an uncanny ability to bring all of that to the surface.

The good news is that those bikinis and tankinis don’t have to ruin our day. There are steps we can take to emerge from the dressing room with our heads held high, regardless of what we saw while we were in there. More →

Do It For the Girls: Sign the Truth in Advertising Petition

Do It For the Girls: Sign the Truth in Advertising Petition

You Know It's PhotoshopThere’s been enough talk about Photoshopped images in advertising that nowadays most of us women know a digitally altered image when we see one.

That’s not to say it doesn’t make us feel bad about ourselves, but at least we realize that the images of perfect bodies we’re bombarded with day after day are unrealistic.

Not so for young girls.

According to Adios Barbie, 69% of elementary school girls say magazine images influence their concept of ideal body shape.

We’re talking girls under the age of 11. That is not OK. More →

The [Totally Logical] Reason I Can’t Keep the Weight Off

The [Totally Logical] Reason I Can’t Keep the Weight Off

The Totally Logical Reason I Can't Keep the Weight OffFact: I used to really want to be a size “blank.”

Like really really.

It didn’t matter to me that my original weight was perfectly healthy. It didn’t matter that it was easy to maintain. I still wanted to be thinner.

There were times when I would do everything in my power to reach that smaller size I’d idealized in my mind—restrict my eating, overdo it at the gym, obsess over every morsel of food I ate.

And what did it get me? Eventually, exactly what I wanted: I reached my dream size.

But guess how long I stayed at a size “blank”?  More →

7 Ways to Stop Emotional Eating

7 Ways to Stop Emotional Eating

Put down the ice cream carton! Here are 7 ways to stop emotional eating.After a stressful day at work, you unwind on the couch with mindless television and a bag of tortilla chips…and the next thing you know that bag is empty.

Or maybe your kid spent the entire day pushing your buttons, so as soon as he’s in bed you drown out your frustration with a carton of Mint Chocolate Chip.

Or maybe you swore off carbohydrates in the name of losing ten pounds, only to find yourself in a desperate showdown with a bowl of pasta.

We eat to stay alive, yes. But we also eat for countless reasons that have little to do with physical nourishment.

It’s the reason the phrase “comfort food” exists.

Indulging in a bit of chocolate after a bad day is generally no big deal. The problem is when we overdo it with the hopes of distracting ourselves from stress, loneliness, frustration, anxiety, shame, or whatever uncomfortable emotion we’re facing.

The problem is when we go so overboard that we’re plagued with guilt over what we ate. More →

Want Body Confidence? Remember This Simple Fact

Want Body Confidence? Remember This Simple Fact

Believing_youre_beautiful_is_an_act_of_braveryWould it surprise you to learn that in the U.S., a whopping 80% of women are dissatisfied with their appearance?

It doesn’t surprise me one bit. Indeed, I think the fact that so many people – especially women – are at war with their reflections makes complete and total sense.

Why? Part of the reason is that when we attempt to make peace with ourselves and our looks, there are a lot of forces working against us. Confidence isn’t exactly encouraged in our society. More →

Be Honest: How Many Times a Day Do You Think About Your Weight?

Be Honest: How Many Times a Day Do You Think About Your Weight?

Stop the scale obsession once and for all! Great post about making peace with your body and improving your body image by challenging how often you think about your weight.How many times a day do you think about your weight?

Wait, don’t tell me, I already know the answer: Too many.

Here’s a perfect example:

I was having one of those days where your brain is so full, you’re just waiting for all the overcrowded thoughts and ideas and reminders to start seeping out of your ears. Between figuring out who was going to watch my too-sick-for-daycare son, how I was going to hit my work deadline, and when I was going to stop at the store for baby Tylenol because we’re out again, my mental capacity was shot.

When I couldn’t bear to think another thought, that was the moment my brain decided to point out that the waistband of my jeans was digging into my love handles. Thanks, brain.

It’s an all-too-familiar story that begs the question: If we’re already spread so thin, do we really have the extra mental energy to stress over how thin (or not thin) our bodies are? More →