According to a new guidelines published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, it’s best not to talk about weight at all. While lots of experts have agreed that focusing on healthy lifestyle choices instead of numbers on the scale is a consistently more healthy way to approach a healthy body (and body image), this is the first official endorsement of these findings.
One of the most surprising ways we can sabotage our health and happiness is by engaging in “weight talk.”
The article defines “weight talk” as anytime you or someone in your family discusses their weight or someone else’s. It doesn’t matter if you’re specifically praising or encouraging weight loss, any discussion about weight can have harmful effects.
The guidelines say, “Even well-intended comments can be perceived as hurtful by the child or adolescent…Parents who had conversations about weight had adolescents who were more likely to engage in dieting, unhealthy weight-control behaviors, and binge eating.”
And while we may start to grow a healthier relationship with our body and food as we grow older, that doesn’t mean we automatically have it all figured out.
But there are ways to shift the conversation in order to make it healthier and more beneficial.
The guidelines added, “However, if the focus of the conversation was only on healthful eating behaviors, overweight adolescents were less likely to diet and to use unhealthy weight-control behaviors.”
Though the journal’s published guidelines are catered specifically for parents to help their children avoid developing eating disorders, their reasoning is something we call can use in our every day lives to achieve better overall physical and mental health.