Advice: Don't over-praise a weight loss — it can promote an unhealthy fear of fat. A simple, understated compliment is fine: "You look nice."
Some studies suggest a link between excess weight in childhood and parental concern about the child's weight status. Unhealthy behavior is also linked to parental weight concern.
As one study author commented: "While there's definitely reason for parental concern about a child's weight, putting too much value on thinness can promote unhealthy behaviors."
Ideas to make it happen
- Watch what you say about yourself. Don't criticize your own body — even as a joke. Don't compare your own weight, size, or shape to someone else's. Being healthy means being positive about yourself.
- Watch what you say about others. Don't make negative remarks about other people's bodies, either. Show appreciation for each person's unique personality, coloring, and body shape and size. Ask others in your family to do the same.
- Be realistic. It's normal and healthy for your body to change over time. So let your doctor help you determine if your weight is right for you and what your goals should be. For example, even if you're too heavy right now, a realistic goal might be weight maintenance, not weight loss. It's normal for kids to gain some weight just before puberty or a growth spurt — you may be able to grow into your weight.
- Focus on health. Focus on lifelong, healthy habits — not numbers on the scale. Don't ask what others weigh, and don't over-praise a drop in a friend's or family member's clothing size. Try to be the healthiest you can be, for your own sake and as a positive example to others.