This morning my 12 year old daughter told me she’d like to go on a diet ..to say my heart sank was an understatement..what did that even mean?
She proceeded to tell me that a girl in her class (grade 6) was going on a diet and that as she was “bigger” than her, she needed to do that as well- “ if I lose weight, I will feel better”...
It should be noted that my daughter has an amazing appetite, she eats when hungry, stops when full, eats 3 meals + 2-3 snacks per day.
I think the most troubling part of this for me was “if I lose weight, I will feel better”- how, why? How do you feel now and how do you think you’ll feel better? Is the inner critic in my daughter so loud that it is taking over the little girl side? The fun adventurous side, eat when hungry, no rules around food side, is it going to rob her of her childhood?
In our house, we don’t have rules around food, in fact we rarely even talk about food except with the usual “what would you like in your lunch box today”? And “dinner will be ready in 20 minutes”!
I wanted to apologise on behalf of society to my daughter that she was made to feel that in order to fit in, to be successful, to be loved and to feel ‘enough’- it meant that she needed to be a certain size. What happened to having a balance and enjoyment around food and meal times?
These would be the conversations I would have with her- lets focus on the healthy part of self, as I know it can absolutely outsmart the anxious and vulnerable part of her any day of the week!