There are things in this world which are so much more important than being a size zero. In fact, your clothing size says nothing about how fast a runner you are, how good you are at math, what kind of crazy crafty things you can create or how you managed to design a computer chip prototype in your garage.
When thinking about body image, it is way too easy to go off on a tangent and criticize all the parts we don’t like, as if we are only a collection of a bunch of disjointed parts! Women, please stop hurting ourselves and one another by doing insane diets or dangerous fasts. All of this gets passed on to our daughters, even if not explicitly stated.
When you point out the size of your thighs, you are really saying, “I hate myself.” When you comment that you ate way too many cookies, again, you’re saying how much you hate yourself (for giving in.) Whatever! These kinds of comments are what lead to eating disorders.
When you do talk to your daughter about body image, the most important thing is to say NOTHING about her body, except for how it works. Talk about health, strength, fitness (not thinness) and goal-setting related to health. Do not mention even one word about her shape or size. Trust me, she already knows.
Children get teased for their weight starting in kindergarten. By the time you get around to talking about body image, your daughter has probably had years of conditioning from peers, TV, magazines and the like.
If she says she’s fat, offer fun ways the two of you can work on your fitness together. Do not say that you are fat too. For goodness sake, please don’t tell her about your diet or a diet she can go on.
If she says her legs are big, remind her that makes you stronger so she can run far. If she says her arms are big, tell her she will be able to lift heavy things – with no help from a man, thank you very much.
Bring the conversation back to health and what you can do rather than what you can’t. Focus on positives rather than negatives.