5 ways diet culture has snuck into our homes & how to change it for good

Feb 25, 2022

Little do we know it, but we as parents (and physicians) are feeding into diet culture with our kids. We are introducing it to them younger and younger.

Now before we go any further: I urge you to exercise caution about throwing judgement about diet culture being in our homes. Diet culture is what we know. It’s the sneaky messages that we have heard and repeated time and again - that we may not even notice it.

Here are 5 ways diet culture has snuck into our family conversations & what to do instead

1. Telling kids they can’t have something 

    • Think about the candy bar, the sweets and treats. Notice how being told that you can’t have something makes you (and the kids) want it more. It becomes a forbidden fruit.
    • Instead: plan for the foods, plan for the treats, build it into your life, not building walls to keep it out.

2. Tying movement to a prescription. I have to move xxx minutes per day, at a certain intensity. Ick. That's exercise to burn calories, to be "enough" for an external goal to be met.

    • Instead: Tie movement to joy, to self-expression, to daily function - something that you get to do, not that you have to do it.

3. Letting the scale (or BMI) indicate how successful we are at parenting, being healthy or at life

    • This impacts both kids, and us as parents.
    • Instead, let’s stop giving the numbers all the power. Instead of focusing on the scale, focus on how you are being, how you are feeling, and what you want, NOT what numbers you are trying to avoid.

4. Our fear of fat. 

    • This comes up in product marketing for fat-free items, as well as our own biases: are you trying to raise your family to be a certain size? Ask yourself, do you have a goal for your size? Why do you not choose other sizes? Bias does not have to mean prejudiced, but it’s all the reason why we have a certain perspective
    • Instead: Question your approach to fat, in your food, on your body. Why is this perspective understandable?

5. Parents saying, “I can’t have this, it’s gonna go straight to my hips.”

    • Kids hear us, especially when we aren’t talking to them directly. When we as parents comment about how certain foods will impact us, kids take note. Those sentences in our brains stay around and pop up again in the future… which is often why we are saying it now.
    • Instead, go back to focusing on what you DO want for your body and your family. How can you nourish your body? Those are the sentences we want to plant around our kids like little seeds.

When we are aware of these messages, and practice a new way of communicating with our kids, we are the change we wish to see - getting diet culture out of our homes. And in the spirit of focusing on what we DO want to see - we are creating healthier relationships with our own bodies, our food, and most importantly with our family. 

This work: it can be hard to identify and be aware of how diet culture has seeped in, even harder to address it - and yet 100% something that is within our power to change starting with US. We do the hard work over and over again and it just gets easier.

Let's keep working together. Book a consult with me and we discuss how you can bring this awareness and change to your family. www.wendyschofermd.com/freecall.

And sign up at the top of the page for the waitlist for our next group coaching cohort - starting soon!!!!

Check out the Family in Focus with Wendy Schofer, MD Podcast!

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