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In the battle of the bulge, my biggest roadblock isn’t carbs, booze or sugar—it’s my three-year-old daughter.  I’m desperately afraid of dieting in front of her, lest I mess up her body image for life. 


According to a University of Florida study, “Daughters’ perceptions of their bodies and subsequent eating and dieting behaviors have been shown to be directly related to the verbal and nonverbal messages they receive from their mothers.”

If your young daughter thinks she’s fat, you can blame Barbie or the Victoria’s Secret Angels all you want, but it’s probably your fault, since mothers are the number one influence on daughters’ body image.  What we do and say about our weight matters – a ton. 

So how can a mama stay trim while being a positive role model?  Very carefully.    

In most areas of life—sex, drugs, fears, feelings–I believe in being as open and honest with my daughter as I possibly can.  Dieting is the exception.  I have a strict no-diet-talk policy in our household, and I’ve had to enforce it with relatives and friends.  Here’s how it works:

1. Never call someone “fat”…or “thin” – Just as I wouldn’t go out of my way to identify someone by their race, I never make weight a defining characteristic unless I’m talking about a bowling ball.

2. Size doesn’t matter – Don’t talk about losing 5 pounds or fitting into a size 6.  Your growing daughter is supposed to be getting bigger as she reaches maturity, but she could start to panic as the numbers rise if she knows you’re obsessed with dropping inches and lbs.      

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