Personal Body Judgment
It’s NOT okay for people to judge your body.
Are you dreading the idea of wearing shorts, a sleeveless top, or a swimsuit? Having the “perfect body” is ingrained in our society. When was the last time someone made a comment about the way you look? Our bodies change with pregnancy and age. Maybe you too have heard the range of comments said to me:
“You’re too skinny.”
“You had better not lose any more weight.”
“You’re big boned.”
“You need to go on a diet.”
“You look tired.”
“Your boobs look big.”
“You have small boobs.”
Oh, this is a good one, I have been told “Girl, you got legs like a bucket of chicken!” SERIOUSLY!! I couldn’t make that one up!
How about, “Do you take steroids? I was just watching you work out and I’m just wondering if you are on steroids?”
What is that supposed to mean? I have big muscles, I look or sound like a “man,” or I’m all of a sudden growing facial hair?
As I picked my chin off the ground, I responded,
“That was hurtful and inappropriate. I’m not on steroids and that isn’t your business.”
It can be difficult to find happiness when our body image compass is distorted by what others “think” our bodies SHOULD BE. Looking inside ourselves is the only way to find our true north. When we allow others to throw off our compass, this leaves us lost and misdirected. Body judgment can come from people you don’t even know or from close family members. Commenting on a person’s appearance can leave you feeling shamed, embarrassed, judged, hurt, ridiculed, and dehumanized.
What to Say When Someone Judge’s You Because They Think You’re…
Fat. “I HAVE fat. My name is [name], not fat.”
Tired. Say, “It’s called children.” Or “I don’t understand, I got 4-hours of sleep.”
Having a Tough Time. If the person is being sincere and their comments are out of love and concern, thank them and be authentic: “I’m going through a really stressful time and I’m working toward taking better care of myself.’”
Too Skinny. Say, “Too skinny for what?” This can lead to sparking curiosity in the person you are talking to that points out there is likely no validity in their comments.
Too Muscular.“I made a few changes and now I feel good in my body, have more energy and sleep better.”
“Encouraging kids to make healthy food choices for themselves leads to healthier lifelong habits,” says Brian Wansink, Ph.D., a researcher at The Cornell’s Food & Brand Lab. According to research, women with a healthy BMI are more likely to grow up in homes where parents do not talk about their weight or eating habits. These same women are typically more satisfied with their weight as adults. While overweight and healthy-weight women who remember their parents making comments about weight or eating habits are typically not satisfied with their weight as adults, even if they have a healthy weight. Weight-related comments are damaging to body image regardless of actual weight.
Top Five Ways to Teach Your Children to Accept and Love Their Bodies
- Be a Good Role Model. Take care of yourself and love yourself. I know it is easier said than done AND if you eat nourishing food, get physical activity and sleep when you can that is the best role model you can be! Recognize you are doing the best you can at any given time. Don’t talk about your weight or comment on others weight. And please do your best not to compare!
- Don’t Comment on Weight. Even if we say, “You look great, you lost so much weight” or “You are so pretty” the implied message can mean “You look so much better now and you looked not so good before.” These comments can trigger episodes of restrictive eating, binging and bizarre dieting.
- Serve Healthy Food & Don’t Talk About It. Put food on the table and then ignore what your child eats or doesn’t. Do not try to control what and how your child eats. Research shows that when children have a variety of healthy food on the table they will eventually choose a balanced meal when they are left alone.
- Do Not Bribe Your Children with Food. Do your best not to say, “When you finish your broccoli you can have dessert” or “You can have ice-cream if you do your homework?” This will have the opposite effect of what you want and lead children to prefer desserts and sweets rather than healthier foods. Forcing children to eat their food encourages bad eating habits and can lead to them eating when they are not hungry because they have difficulty listening to their bodies.
- Comment on Who They Are. Tell your child, “You have a beautiful spirit.” “You have the power to bless and teach others.” “You are very loved.” “You give fantastic hugs.” “You are wonderfully curious.”
Have you ever dealt with judgmental comments about your body or even worse had people say hurtful things to your children about their bodies? Do you have any good comments or snappy remarks?