The Shape of You: Raising Girls to Love Their Bodies

by Team Scary Mommy

Some experts call today's moms the “Weight Watchers daughters.” This is a catchall for those of us who may have been dragged to a meeting, or overheard our mothers talking about dieting and losing weight. Hands up if you watched the 20-minute workout as a child. Same girl, same.

As moms of our own kids, it’s time to change the narrative on how we talk about our bodies, eating, and body image. In this episode of Live.Work.Thrive, an expert panel discusses how we need to reboot our approach, our vocabulary, and our lifestyle habits to create safe, unrestrictive spaces for our girls (and boys) to develop a positive self-image and healthy lifestyle.

This panel features Charlotte Markey, Ph.D., author and renowned body image expert, who shares practical tips for discussing food at home. In short, her approach is simple: Don’t categorize foods into “good” and “bad” and don’t restrict food anytime, ever. Even if the kids have not eaten their dinner, they still get ice cream, according to Markey. Markey is the author of the new book, Being You: The Body Image Book for Boys.

Markey is joined by body image activist Virgie Tovar, who helps break down the unhealthy norms many have grown up with, including dieting and restricting foods from children. Instead of restricting foods, experts recommend surrounding kids with healthy choices and letting them moderate meals and snacks all on their own. In addition, body confidence crusader Michelle Osbourne shares how she navigates the unique body image challenges Black women and girls face.

Experts agree that body weight is another topic to strike from our vocabulary completely. “Your body is exactly the size it’s meant to be” is one recommended phrase. Panelists emphasized the importance of never adding a discussion of weight to conversations about healthy eating. Bringing this to life with her own personal story is Elite Peloton Instructor Tunde Oyeneyin, who joined the show to discuss her own personal journey that started fixated on weight loss but shifted to finding her own inner strength. Tunde shares more about her rise to fitness icon in her new book Speak, which is available now.

Watch the full event here for more information on how to break the cycle of outdated norms and set up our girls for body confidence and healthy living.