Lifestyle

The Effects of Dietainment

I noticed a shift in my perception since having children. Before, things didn’t phase me as much as they do now, such as music for example. I could listen to almost any song, sing along, and not really analyze the lyrics too much. If it had a good beat, I’d listen and enjoy.

Now? Do you know what most hit songs {then and now} are saying? WHOA! I had kids and became aware of what they are exposed to, and, I don’t like what they’re hearing. I can’t even count how many times we’ve been in the car and I’ve frantically changed channels because, for the first time, I really heard what is being sung.

The same goes with magazines and their messaging on body image. Did I drink that up when I was a kid, or were they not as bad as they are now? Because I can’t seem to find one that isn’t selling the latest ‘get skinny quick’ pill or publicly shaming a celeb for having {gasp} cellulite. Also, these headlines are next to each other for advertising reasons; giving false opinions on how one should look with harsh solutions on how to fix them.

Personally at my age, I could care less. Thankfully I’m past obsessing over things like that. Cellulite? Old news.

Yet, know who isn’t past it all? My kids. Your kids.

Last week I introduced my readers to Dietainment, the unhealthy diet messages disguised as harmless entertainment. Once you put a term to the action, you’ll notice that it’s everywhere – and I mean everywhere! 


 
Since learning about the term and the great movement to stop Dietainment, I consciously started making an effort to see just how often it happens. Especially noticing when it arrises when my daughters are present – just to see the quantity that they are exposed to Dietainment.

Of course where it’s most prevalent is at any check-out, you are literally surrounded by magazines screaming from the racks. In words, in photos. In huge text in conjunction with photos. You really have no choice but to stand there and let it all soak in. When before I tried to deter my kids from the candy displays, I find I’m not snatching magazines from their hands or coaxing their attention elsewhere, than from reading headlines telling them what perfection is. 

I’m happy for PVR, so I can fast-forward from commercials yet the odd time we watch live TV – the quantity is too much there too. Diet programs and before and after photos illustrating the newest fad on the market are aplenty. I watch 3 sets of impressionable eyes taking it all in, and it makes me want to scream. 

my organized chaos children

In attempts to educate and point out the shaming, I watched the Dietainment videos with my girls. The twins, at 7, were very vocal in how ‘that’s wrong’, and ‘you’re special no matter what’ {I have a feeling they’ve been really grilling this to the kids at school}.

My oldest was pretty silent and shrugged it off and wouldn’t say much on the topic. Yet, now in middle school, I know she’s aware of the pressures to conform. Being an athlete, my oldest is very aware of eating healthy combined with exercise. I took the opportunity to discuss Dietainment with her, and how advertising can be highly edited, greatly exaggerated and a lot of times – unrealistic. 

Above all, I wanted to open up communication about this with my girls, so that they know they can always talk to me about anything and everything. It’s important to raise awareness about this issue, so that the attempts don’t succeed. I’m also trying to be the best role model for them, and help they learn by example. 

stop dietainment
 

Steps to Stop Dietainment:

 

  • Break the cycle by being a positive role model for the young women in your life. Focus your conversations about weight on being healthy and feeling good, instead of the number on the scale. Show positive body image values by avoiding negative phrases like “I’m so fat”; instead, you can say things like “my goal is to be healthy”.
  • Build up your child’s self-esteem and ensure that they develop a strong sense of self-worth is a great way to help reduce the impact of Dietainment messages. Help them discover their own unique talents and qualities, and value their own strengths. Provide them with opportunities for success that have specific and realistic goals, and have pride in their accomplishments – but let them know that feeling special doesn’t mean feeling better than others. 
  • Become Media Literate and learn to recognize false or misleading advertising. There are great resources at WorldWithoutDieting.com and MediaSmarts.ca
  • Raise Awareness and converse online with #StopDietainment and @LifeMadeDelish on Twitter. Knowledge and awareness is power!
  • Sign the Petition to Stop Dietainment – there are currently over 16,000 signatures and growing. Together we can make a difference! 

 

What are your thoughts on children’s exposure to dietainment? 

 

 

Disclosure: This is a compensated post on behalf of Cheerios, yet all opinions are my ABSOLUTELY my own.

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20 Comments

  1. It must be so hard for girls these days. I am a grown woman and I feel the pressure for sure.

  2. I think this article is so important. Today’s media constantly feeds images to girls, telling them that they need to be a size zero to be pretty. To be valuable. It’s total BS!

  3. I never realized how much dietainment exposure there was until lately. It is found everywhere. It’s important for our children to understand the difference between living a healthy lifestyle and dietainment.

  4. As a mom with two girls, 8 and 9 I’ve recently realized how bad this can be. My poor girls don’t need to see this type of stuff. I get so tired of having to explain this kind of stuff, and almost defend it and why its used etc. and explain why it isnt normal, its hard.

  5. I like your advice to say that I need to focus on being healthy. That’s a good way to approach the subject.

  6. Ugh, I realized that last week. I went to NYC and was so happy my kids weren’t with me because of the billboard for REAL S*X Talk and stip club. I know my kids would have been asking questions

  7. This is so important! My oldest has a very different body as it is, so I am hyper aware of what I say and focus on when it comes to looks, numbers and mirrors.

  8. I have a 13 year old niece and she absorbs a lot of this- though she also absorbs positive messages from positive roll models. I think having an open dialogue is the most important aspect.

  9. That kind of message is all over and the kids it can really influence young minds. I really like your ideas!

  10. My daughter actually just wrote a research paper on this topic. It’s sad that our children, particularly girls, have to go through this.

  11. Good tips. I think its terrible what society makes our girls think about themselves now a days.

  12. Those are great steps to stopping dietainment! it is so important that we keek raising more awareness on this!

  13. We need to promote healthy body image for girls! It’s something that affects their entire life!

  14. This is so very important, I want my daughter to have a good self image. I make sure to let her know she is beautiful just as she is.. All girls should be told this.

  15. Eventhough I’ve never had a weight problem and neither have my hubby or 4 kids, it frustrates me to no end how the media continues to glorify skinny as being beautiful. So many of those models that look skinnier than most of us will ever be are also depriving their bodies and souls of important nutrition they need. None of us should want to model that kind of behavior.

  16. Great advice, this subject is so important. I have a toddler but I already find myself thinking about this. ….

  17. Reading this, I realize how true it is. The messages kids are getting from music, ads, TV… etc is concerning. My niece is obsessed with her weight lately. I don’t know if things like this is the cause, but it definitely doesn’t help.

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