Monday, November 2, 2015

A World Without Dieting: #StopDietainment Now

As a child, I didn't worry very much about my appearance, what I weighed, or what I ate. Life was carefree and easy. The word "diet" wasn't part of my vocabulary until I turned 16, and looking back, I wish I hadn't started worrying about dieting at such a young age. (Especially because there was no reason to worry about losing weight—I was healthy, active, and ate well.)

Growing up today is a totally different world than the one I grew up in. Our children are now constantly being exposed to unhealthy messages and images online, on television, and in print. These messages revolve around how young people can lose weight to attain the "perfect" body. These unhealthy body messages affect both boys and girls, and sadly, these messages are everywhere you look—and in the faces of children younger than 16 years old.

Multi-Grain Cheerios has launched a campaign to raise awareness about the unhealthy body image messages disguised as harmless entertainment that in turn, have a seriously negative impact on kids.

It was given a name: Dietainment.

Watch this video to better understand how Dietainment affects our children:

Dietainment delivers unhealthy messages to our kids. Children are left feeling even more pressure to live up to society's version of "perfect". 

I often talk to my children about body image, how we're all made and built differently, and how it's never okay to make fun of another person because of how they look. Big, small, skinny, tall—everyone is beautiful in their own way. We need to be accepting of everyone, and our children should learn to love themselves, too. It's my job to raise my children to be confident, with a strong sense of self-worth, so that they're not going to be influenced by these unhealthy Dietainment messages.

Here are some ways you can help your children become confident people:

Help your children discover their unique qualities; remind them of their strengths and the reasons why they are special.

Be proud of your child's accomplishments—big or small.

Encourage your children to step out of their comfort zone once in a while. I always tell my children they won't know if they're going to like something (whether it's a new camp, a new book, or a new sport) unless they try first. Teaching our children to face challenges and take risks is important.

Give your child positive feedback.

Teach your children to become media literate, because of the unhealthy messages that are constantly being delivered to them: Latest celebrity fad diet! Weight-loss tricks that work! Miracle food to help you lose weight! The more discussions you have, the more aware your children will be. Education is power.

Be the change.

Multi-Grain Cheerios wants to create a world without dieting for the next generation. I think we can all do our part to make this a reality. Let's stand up for what we believe in, and let's open our eyes to the messages that are being delivered to our children on a daily basis. We can do something about this. We can be the change we want to see. Let's stop exposing Dietainment to young girls.

You can sign the petition to help drive change within the Canadian media industry. More than 16,000 Canadian have already signed this petition! Let's make a commitment to stop exposing Dietainment to young people. We can do this.

Disclosure: I am part of the #StopDietainment campaign with Multi-Grain Cheerios, and I have received compensation for this post. All views and opinions are my own. 

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