Words Matter

Ladies, when was the first time you remember that someone mentioned your weight and how it affected your appearance? Do you replay these words said to you in your youth? If you’re anything like me, the answer tends to be yes more often than you like. Not all the comments are negative in nature but they tend to still be influential to our beliefs about our own beauty and value.

The way we view our own health, beauty, and yes, even value has been molded by the words we’ve heard said to us by both well and ill meaning family members, friends, bullies, and yes even strangers. Our society is all convoluted about where the value of our ladies is found and the pressure to conform to that image is large and heavy to our young people.

I had two separate conversations with young girls where they both told me they had either been called fat or their nickname was “chubby.” My heart broke for these two beautiful girls. One, probably ten or eleven told me she was on a “diet” and that people sometimes call her “fat.” These words, unless combatted with love and deliberate attention will follow these girls into adulthood, just like it has you and me.

We as grown men and women have a chance to help mold our young ladies opinions of their own bodies by how we treat and speak to them. Please understand that I’m not an advocate for turning a blind eye to the health needs of children at risk for obesity, but that we handle it with care and carefully choose our words. Sometimes it is tricky because we want our kids to be healthy and make good nutritional choices.

I’ve spent some time working with grown women and young teen ladies about their own health and fitness and along the way I’ve come up with some general guidelines of what to say when it comes to addressing health and nutrition with not only our young people, but also to our selves.

Kick the word “diet” out of your vocabulary.
It has no place. It creates tension and dread. Instead use the words “meal plan” It holds intention and does not hold a negative connotation.

Avoid the words “I have to lose weight.”
Unless there is a medical necessity to lose weight this phase needs to follow diet to the garbage can. Instead choose phrases like “I want to be healthier.”

Do not use the words “skinny, thin, fat, chubby etc” in relation to your self or others.
Those words hold the weight of value or condemnation in reference to outer appearance. They also stay in someone’s inner dialogue if not combated. Our value is not based on how we look but from who we are. Using these terms tend to change that perspective in our beliefs.

Encourage using phrase with positive messages.
Try making healthy and balanced choices and getting stronger, and choosing good nutrition the majority of the time.

Indulge in treats.
Yep, I said indulge in treats. But view them only as treats and not a staple in your regular nutrition. Attempt to build a healthy view of food with a balance.

We need to retrain our own brains to choose the words we allow to run through our own inner dialogues with intention and practice.  But can help stop the negativity from ever beginning in our young by how we speak to them as they are growing. Choosing the words we speak is incredibly important and we have a responsibility to choose wisely.