Moms, Here's the Most Important Reason to Stop Calling Yourself Fat

Experts say moms influence how their daughters view their own bodies

It’s almost reflexive for women to put themselves down for being less than model thin. When was the last time you critiqued yourself in the mirror aloud or lamented that a cookie was going straight to your hips? (Yesterday? Today?)

It turns out you’re not just hurting yourself when you make weight-centric comments -- you can damage your daughter, too. More than images in the media or peer pressure, experts say a mom’s influence is the number-one factor in how a girl will grow up viewing her body, according to a new article in USA Today.

You may think you can contain the harm by just referring to yourself, but you’re wrong. "Even if a mom says to the daughter, 'You look so beautiful, but I'm so fat,' it can be detrimental,” Dr. Leslie Sim, clinical director of Mayo Clinic’s eating disorders program and a child psychologist, told the newspaper. That's because for kids, their same-sex parent is often their biggest role model.

So while it goes without saying that you should never make your daughter feel ashamed of her own body, it’s time to apply that same advice to yourself. Sim’s suggestion? "Zero talk about dieting, zero talk about weight," including your own or even other people’s. You should, however, let your kids know weight gain can be a normal part of puberty, and include that message when you have the period talk.

Mom of two Sasha Emmons is a writer and editor. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.

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