No More Mean Girls: The Secret to Raising Strong, Confident and Compassionate Girls,” Dr. Katie Hurley, discusses a teenage client’s decision to adopt a clean eating movement
The author of “No More Mean Girls” is Dr. Katie Hurley. The Secret to Raising Strong, Confident and Compassionate Girls,” is a child and adolescent psychotherapist in Los Angeles. She works with teens and young adults.
In October, ads for diet and exercise programs like this started appearing in my social media feeds along with photos of people pushing shopping carts full of candy to represent the weight they no longer carry.
Diet culture is spreading wildly, especially to young women and girls, who may be at risk of social pressures and misinformation.
“My mom is obsessed with (seeing) her Facebook friends losing tons of weight without dieting. Is this even real?” The question came from a teen girl who is considering hiring a health coach to help her eat better after watching her mom change her diet. Sadly, the coaching she was falling victim to is part of a multilevel marketing brand that promotes quick weight loss through caloric restriction and buying costly meal replacements.
Later that week, a different teen client asked about a clean eating movement she follows on Pinterest. She had read that a strict clean vegan diet is better for both her and the environment, and assumed this was true because the pinned article took her to a health coaching blog. It seemed like it was legit. A deeper investigation into the credentials of the blogger revealed that the clean eating practices they shared were not developed by a nutritionist.
Parenting the World: How Parents and Teens Communicate about Food and Physical Processes during the December 15th-September 2016 Learning in Los Angeles
Oona Hanson, a coach based in Los Angeles, said that teens and preteens needed to gain weight to grow into adult bodies. “Weight gain is not only normal but essential for health during adolescence.”
The good news in all of this is that parents can take an active role in helping teens craft an emotionally healthier narrative around their eating habits. “Parents are often made to feel helpless in the face of TikTokers, peer pressure or wider diet culture, but it’s important to remember this: parents are influencers, too,” said Hanson. What we say has an influence on our teens.
In order for parents and caregivers to model healthy relationships with food, they should enjoy a wide variety of foods and try new recipes. Model shared connections with the help of the holiday season when there are many celebrations involving gathering around the table. The holidays are a great time to remind ourselves that we can’t always see nutrition on food labels.
The holiday season is a time to gather with friends and family, but it can be scary when nutrition occurs.
When extended families gather for holiday celebrations, it’s common for people to comment on how others look or have changed since the last gathering. This is done with good intentions, but can be awkward or upsetting to teens.
For young people going through puberty, it is normal to be self-conscious or self-critical. It isn’t a welcome part of conversations to have someone say you’ve developed.
Open and honest communication is always the gold standard in helping tweens and teens work through the messaging and behaviors they internalize. Families talking about what they see and hear online, in print and on TV help to normalise critical thinking and can be a great way of communicating with teens.
What did Trayler-Smith feel during his teenage years when she decided to become a body? A documentary chronicling the struggle and determination of losing weight
During his teenage years, Trayler-Smith said the issue took over. “Being overweight was like I wasn’t good enough; I wasn’t a good enough human being. I felt that way. The project has been difficult to look at. Why did I feel like that? How do you move on from that? There is a lot of other people who feel that way.
She found no reprieve when she went outside more to avoid the stress at school. She said that kids would kick the football at her and then pretend it wasn’t intentional.
“Someone once threw a golf ball at my leg, and I’ll never forget it,” said Walton, now 26. “It literally looked like the golf ball was still on my leg because it was a white mark and then a massive red bruise around it.”
It was hard for Walton, who in primary school had been diagnosed with a condition. Her body started to develop sooner than her peers. Later in life, she found out she had polycystic ovary syndrome, which affects the body’s ability to use insulin and often leads to weight gain.
I have never been an overeater. I’ve never been a binge eater. I’ve never been a secret eater. My mom always cooks really fresh food. We’ve never been a family that’s had takeaways all the time or fast food. I don’t understand why I’m putting weight on, over the years, I have.
At some point when she was about 14 or 15 years old, Walton said enough. She decided she wouldn’t let them get her down, or stop her from doing what she wanted to do after being fed up with people making her feel terrible.
“It’s not just as easy as just going to a gym and eating less. Sometimes it’s a medical condition. She said sometimes it’s in your genes. People who are fat don’t mean that they’re miserable.
This transition, and the journey towards womanhood, has been documented by a photographer who grew up overweight and began a project to tackle Obesity.
If they can get the last bit of funding through the crowdfunding platform, they plan to publish a photo book called “Kiss It!,” that chronicles the life of Walton, the first subject.
“To be that raw and real in front of the camera, I think it’s quite unusual,” Trayler-Smith said. “Most people are aware of the camera, and she just wasn’t and we just had this kind of amazing connection. So that’s what made me think if I’m going to do a book, maybe it should be about one person and really going deep.”
“Sometimes you’re lucky, but at the end of the day”: Contribution to the book “Obesity Kidss It Wellness CNN Photos”
“This project is not about saying that it’s OK to be obese. I am not saying that’s good for you. There’s something different I’m saying. There’s a balance between health and body Positivity.
Many of the photos shown in the book show a time when she was at one of her lowest points. To show the full picture of her life, she needs to show the happy times with friends and family as well as the empowering moments.
She thinks you can see how much more confident she is and how her life has turned out.
She is about to qualify for a nursing associate position at the hospital. She met James when she was younger and he is her first-ever boyfriend. They lost touch for several years before eventually reuniting.
She has been a great pleasure to watch grow into a young woman. She is still battling with her weight and doing what she can to lose it. But to see her in a happy place within is a really beautiful thing.”
Suicide Prevention and Crisis Lifeline: Helping Young Business Women in America to Live Well, Eat Well and Smell Like They Are!
Help is available if you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts or mental health matters. In the United States, call or text 988, the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, to connect with a trained counselor. The International Association for Suicide Prevention and Befrienders Worldwide have contact information for crisis centers around the world.
Girl Scouts will be happy if you talk to them about the business model and where the funds land, because they don’t like jokes about the cookies. These young businesswomen will be able to practice public speaking and sharing what they learn from it. Chances are you might even learn that you can make a cookie donation through the “Cookie Share” program. Cookie Share is an option my family likes to use to send some to our troops.
“We know that children can internalize body image concerns as young as 3 to 5 years old, so it’s important to keep in mind how we talk about our bodies and the food we eat in front of children very early on,” said Dr. Nicole Cifra, an attending physician in the division of adolescent medicine at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
Dieting is a serious risk factor for developing an eating disorder so eliminating talk of dieting or restrictions on certain food groups is a great idea.
What might feel like a humorous way to deflect a cookie purchase in the moment could do more harm than anticipated. It’s probably not the only negative commentary the young entrepreneurs hear during a shift. There are a lot of girls fending off a lot of jibes about bathing suit season or earning the chocolate chip cookies through extra work or starvation, when 200 million boxes of cookies are sold each year.
Countering unwanted commentary with positive messaging is a way of helping girls sharpen their skills and it is an essential leadership skill. If there is negative messaging, plan ahead to come up with some talking points. Phrases like “We love our cookies and they only come around once a year!” or “Gift a box to our troops — we know they love our cookies!” The girls can speak for a cause they believe in, while the tone of the speech is changed.
The best way to instill healthy body image in your children is for them to model their own healthy body image, says a University of Louisville professor. “It’s also important to talk about all of the good things that bodies do for us — like letting us hug people, dance or pet our pets.”
When thinking about our bodies, being grateful is a powerful way to remember the many ways our bodies carry us through our days.
Girl Scout Cookies: A Little Help for a Child’s Eating Problem, and a Way to Stand Up to Diet Talk
Balanced eating includes having treats at times and taking the time to enjoy the foods we consume. Kids get the idea that some foods are bad or harmful when adults label food as good or bad. Feelings of shame are created around eating sweets that are restricted to certain categories.
“One thing troop leaders can do is talk about the joy around food by sharing their favorite combinations of cookies,” Hanson said. A balanced relationship with food is created by this tip.
One way to do this is to debrief the girls after the shift ends. There were a few jokes about diet and not eating cookies. I wonder how you felt hearing those things. There is a discussion about negative body comments and how girls can shift their thinking.
There might be times when an adult has to step in and gently redirect another adult who is making uncomfortable comments, but girls can also take the opportunity to use their voices to stand up to diet talk.
Don’t Stop Buying Thin Mints: Why You Shouldn’t Give a Thick Cookie to Help the Girl’s Firstborn
Cookie sales go back to the troops in the form of dollars, which can be used for activities for the girls throughout the year. Purchase a box of favorites or donate cookies to someone else and you will have a positive effect on up-and-coming leaders. It’s okay to grab those Thin Mints while you can.