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What I want my daughters to know about diet culture

What I want my daughters to know about diet culture

We’re delighted to introduce Nicola Skinner, registered nurse and nutrition, health and lifestyle coach for our latest guest blog. She’s a mum of two, a fierce advocate for holistic, preventative natural health and has been so kind as to share some words around her own struggle with body-image. As we all know, social media is a double-edged sword – while it gives us an opportunity to share our stories with the world and connect with new people, it can also skew reality, leaving many feeling inadequate or as though they don’t measure up in some way. Thank you, Nicola, for this inspiring piece, and for helping us all – mums, dads, daughters and sons – foster a healthy attitude towards food, exercise and self-worth.  

By Nicola Skinner

Since having my first child, I've become even more hyper-aware of all the diet culture and exercise fitspo propaganda that we are exposed to on a daily basis.

The pervasive pressure that our culture seems to place upon mothers to 'lose the baby weight' has been something I've constantly had to resist recently. I've had to consciously push back against the voice in my head telling me that weight loss is a priority, constantly catching myself when the natural tendency to compare myself to other postpartum woman arises.

As amazing as social media is for communicating and reaching people with our health message while building a community of like-minded people, it can become a negative influence where people only show their highlights and fail to show their day-to-day struggles.

We then tend to compare our normal life with strangers highlight reels and come away feeling lacking in all areas.

I would love to re-write my own story. I’d love to speak to my younger self with more compassion and love in attempt to help myself avoid the years of obsession where I forced my body to comply, always striving to measure up.

Although I can't do that, I CAN aim to instil body confidence and a healthy attitude towards food and exercise in my daughter, saving her from walking the same road I did. I want her to know that her worth is not tied to her weight, that her identity does not come from her dress size and that her beauty is not defined by her outward appearance. I want her to wear a swimsuit with confidence! I want her to strive to be healthy, not skinny.

I want her to know that bodies come in all shapes and sizes and to strive to be the best version of herself, not some idealised version of someone else.

I want her to see food as fuel for her body, not a punishment or reward, not as good or bad. I want her to enjoy food - not feel controlled by it.

I want her to eat real food because of the way it makes her body feel, but not worry about the occasional processed treat because our bodies are able to deal with it! I want her to know that food is also good for the soul - it builds memories and brings joy. I want her to eat that piece of birthday cake and not give it another thought.

I want her to see exercise and movement as something she does to feel energised and awesome - not to become smaller, not to fit into a dress, not to become some arbitrary number on the scale that equals societies standard of beautiful.

I don't want her to use exercise as punishment for something she ate, or have her worth tied up in how many workouts she did. I want her to see exercise as a chance to become stronger and more capable so she can explore and see more of the world.

 

To learn more from Nicola, you can visit Nourished & Vibrant for more valuable resources, or find her on socials.

 

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