Shawna Kelley works at the Emily Program which provides personalized treatment for eating disorders. According to Kelley, parents often engage in fat talk without really being aware of it and the impact it has on their kids. Some examples of fat talk are:
- "I need to lose 10 pounds."
- "Do I look fat in this?"
- "That dessert isn't good for me."
- "I might as well just stick this sweet roll on my thighs because that's where it's going to end up!"
- "I really need to start watching what I eat."
Rather than focusing on weight and dieting, focus on eating healthy and getting exercise. Kelley emphasizes teaching your children that people come in all different shapes and sizes; being thin does not necessarily mean being healthy.
We so wanted to avoid suggesting that our kids needed to not do certain things so they wouldn't get fat. We instead offered positive: good food, good eating habits, exercise. Those habits have carried them through sports and now past college even.
Emphasizing what kids can do instead of what they can't do is a great approach.
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