Here’s part two of my interview with Dara Chadwick, author of You’d Be So Pretty If...Teaching Our Daughters to Love Their Bodies – Even When We Don’t Love Our Own.
Dara also writes a blog called You’d Be So Pretty If…, which features the oh-so true tag line: “because her body image starts with yours.” On this blog, Dara discusses how moms can help their daughters build a healthier body image and how women can learn to love their bodies, too.
Check out part one of our interview here.
Q: Today, there seems to be a widespread hysteria over the so-called obesity epidemic. In your book, you suggest that concerned parents avoid mentioning weight and instead make healthy eating a family commitment. Any additional advice for parents?
A: Shame doesn’t work. Making one person feel different doesn’t work. What works is a relaxed, family-wide approach to healthy eating and exercise. Go for a walk or bike ride together, play a game of badminton in the back yard, grow a garden together and make a salad with what you’ve grown. Then, every once in a while, go out for ice cream together or bake a pie and enjoy it. It’s all about moderation.
Q: What other insights have you gained from writing your fantastic book (it’s seriously a must-read for any parent!) that you’d like to share with Weightless readers?
A: Thank you very much for those kind words. I’m consistently amazed and humbled by the reaction this book has gotten from readers, and I thank each and every one of you for your support. The biggest insight I came away with from writing this book was that our daughters think we’re beautiful, just as we are.
When we criticize and beat up on ourselves, it hurts them. We are our own worst critics; I don’t look at my daughter or my girlfriends and see their flaws. I see people I love and who I think are beautiful. I don’t want to hear them speak badly about themselves. I try to remember that those who love me also see me that way.
Q: Do you find yourself still feeling dissatisfied with your body? If so, how do you get through those times?
A: Of course! There are times when I look in the mirror and see something I think I might like to change. But I try to pay attention to how I feel now. If I’m feeling low on energy or a bit down, it might be because I haven’t been eating well, so I’ll try to add more fruits, vegetables and water into the mix. I also find that a good walk or yoga class can go a long way toward improving my mindset; in fact, a recent study found that women who exercise feel better about their bodies almost immediately, before they’ve even lost an ounce or made any sort of change in their bodies.
Exercise has enormous power to uplift us and improve our moods. I’ve also come to accept that not every day is going to be a day during which I feel great about my body. That’s OK, too. At my age, I’ve learned it’s just as likely that tomorrow, I’ll look in the mirror and think, “You’re looking pretty good.” It’s all about perspective.
Q: Anything else you’d like readers to know about You’d Be So Pretty If…, body image or related topics?
A: I’d like readers to know that it IS possible to come to a place of self-acceptance, no matter how you feel about your body today. The thing is, when you take care of the body you have and if you’re lucky enough to be healthy and you know in your heart that you’re the best possible version of yourself, it’s surprisingly easy to be content.
I’m really grateful to Dara for taking the time out to provide insight on a very important topic. Thank you!
Today’s favorite post. “Your Fantasy Self: What Does She Look Like?” by Dara on her Psychology Today blog, which is also called You’d Be So Pretty If.
What are your thoughts on what Dara said? If you have kids, what do you specifically struggle with concerning body image and healthy habits?
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From Psych Central's website:
PsychCentral (July 21, 2010)
TheCurvyFashionista (July 22, 2010)
From Psych Central's website:
Helping Your Daughter Build A Positive Body Image | Weightless (June 13, 2011)
Last reviewed: 21 Jul 2010