Show your daughter how to eat without guilt over the holidays

Very timely tips on how we can be loving towards our bodies during the holidays.  This piece was written by a woman who has dedicated her life to supporting girls, Nancy Gruver, it was originally posted on her blog Parent Girls.

Remember when your daughter was a toddler and went straight for the sweets at any sort of holiday gathering? At the time, it was probably sort of cute and funny.

As she gets older, keeping a balance with all of the amazing holiday foods can be a challenge for everyone. It’s really a no-brainer that neither over-indulging nor depriving yourself during the holidays is celebratory.

But just because it’s a no-brainer doesn’t mean that our brains will follow the logical path. Bombarded with unrealistic, “perfect” images in movies, TV and advertising, almost every girl and woman has serious trouble feeling good, or even okay, about her body. And during the holidays with so many different and attractive foods around, we feel a lot of conflicting feelings. We want to enjoy the food but we also feel guilty, afraid of fat; even ashamed if we don’t have

“willpower” to deny ourselves some treat.

As parents we’re vulnerable to our own food and eating “demons.” And we have the added fear that we might not be guiding our daughter in the best way as she develops her food and eating habits and beliefs.

With all that in mind, here are some tips to help ourselves and show her how to fully enjoy special foods during the holidays without feeling guilty, ashamed, or out of control.

  1. Don’t talk about “all the weight I’m gaining” this season. When someone else starts that of conversation, firmly change the topic. Resist the stampede of body hatred conversations. Get rid of the scale in your house.
  2. In normal conversations include positive, respectful comments about YOUR body (not just her body) and what it does. “My kickboxing class is so much fun!” “I think I need a walk to clear my thoughts.”
  3. Be Mindful. At holiday gatherings really pay attention to what you most want. What I really want is to feel close to loved ones and feel warm and secure. Food is part of those feelings but it’s not all of them.!
  4. Look forward to the meal or event and talk about it in positive terms. “I wonder if grandpa is bringing homemade bread again? I hope so!” If you have a bite of something you don’t like, you don’t have to finish it. Focus on enjoying the sensation of each bite and flavor. Show your joy and compliment the cook.
  5. Remember that our daughters will “do what we do, not what we say.” Eat normally before the big meals or events. Don’t deprive yourself earlier in the illusion that it will then “be okay” if you overeat later.

About isabelrasmussen

Three generations of women in my family raised me until first grade, amongst them I was taught how wonderful it was to be a girl. In my tween years I was confronted with many of the social challenges other girls face and my self confidence dwindled. I think it was going from being so proud of being a girl to struggling so much as a girl and reading of all the struggles that women faced that motivated me throughout my life. I received her undergraduate degree in Women’s Studies at UW and then worked in domestic violence and as a community organizer in San Francisco. At 26 I took the opportunity to live in Guatemala for a year and West Africa for a summer. I returned to the US and in 2008 obtained a Green MBA at Dominican University in San Rafael.
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