Protect Your Kids From Eating Disorders

Michael Levine, a therapist for people with eating disorders offers these suggestions:

1. Examine the ways in which your beliefs and attitudes and behaviors about your own body and the bodies of others have been shaped by the forces of weightism and sexism. Then educate your children about (a) the genetic basic differences in body types; and (b) the nature and ugliness of prejudice.

2. Examine closely your dreams and goals for your children and other loved ones. Are you overemphasizing beauty and body shape, particularly for girls? Avoid conveying an attitude which says in effect “I will like you more if you lose weight, don’t eat so much, look more like the slender models in the ads, fit into more slimmer clothes, etc. Decide what you can do and stop doing to reduce teasing, criticism, blaming, staring, etc. that reinforce the vilification of overweight and the glorification of slenderness.

Eating Disorder Self Test. Take the EAT-26 self test to see if you might have eating disorder symptoms that might require professional evaluation. All answers are confidential.

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