Young girls: 5 steps to a healthy body image

  • Updated: August 5, 2013 - 9:23 AM

Girls: Tips for a healthy body image

Here are five tips from California-based psychologist Lucie Hemmen, author of “Parenting a Teen Girl: A Crash Course on Conflict, Communication and Connection With Your Teen Daughter,” to help prevent young girls from developing negative body images.

Model a healthy attitude toward your own body. Take care of it. Avoid talks about weight and attractiveness. Instead, talk about your body in terms of health, vitality and an active lifestyle to counteract the media’s message that your body is for attracting attention (namely, from men).

Talk about clothes the right way. Describe how they look (“I like that color, strap, ruffle, etc.”), how they feel on your body (“kind of tight”) and function. (“It’s pretty darn short. What do you think will happen when you bend down?”)

Talk about food the right way. Use terms of how nutritious and fresh and alive it is, instead of calories or “good” and “bad” foods.

Encourage healthy activities as a family. Take swim lessons and bike rides and limit screen time and media exposure. The more media your daughter consumes, the more she’s likely to develop unrealistic expectations about her body and an overall negative body image.

Be aware of what you say. Don’t make appearance-related comments about other people too often. Instead, talk about people in terms of their other qualities, like what they’re interested in, what activities they do and what personality characteristics you admire.

Contra Costa Times

The science of impulse eating

Tucking into a breakfast of buttermilk pancakes and maple syrup or a great bowl of white pasta for lunch does more than send your blood sugar soaring — and then, suddenly, plummeting. Four hours after you’ve put down your fork, such a meal makes you hungrier than if you’d eaten one with more protein and fiber and fewer carbohydrates, a new study finds.

The study also demonstrates that four hours later, the echo of that meal activates regions of the brain associated with craving and reward-seeking more powerfully than does a meal with a lower “glycemic load.”

The result: At your next opportunity to eat, you’ll not only be hungrier but you’ll be looking for more of the same.

And what’s the result of repeating this cycle meal after meal? The Harvard researchers surmise that the striatum, a key node in the brain’s reward circuitry, may lose its sensitivity to the neurotransmitter dopamine, increasing a person’s drive to eat high-carb foods and disrupting his or her ability to control that impulse.

Los Angeles Times

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