Almond mums may pass unhealthy opinions on food to children

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The “Almond Mom” ​​hashtag is going crazy on TikTok, thanks in part to “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” alum Yolanda Hadid.

In a 2014 video compilation featuring old “RHOBH” clips, Yolanda is shown talking on the phone with her then-teenage daughter, Gigi.

“I feel really weak. I had, like, half an almond,” Gigi said, sounding shaky, to her mother.

Yolande’s answer? “Take some almonds and chew them very well.”

And just like that, the term “Almond Mom” ​​was born.

Earlier this month, Yolanda defended her controversial comment in an interview with People, explaining that she was recovering from surgery and “half asleep” when Gigi called. She also acknowledged her now infamous advice by posting a TikTok of herself munching on almonds while doing various activities, including yoga. “#worstmever #almonds,” reads the caption.

Yolanda was clearly laughing at herself. But pediatrician and childhood obesity expert Dr. Karla Lester isn’t laughing. Lester pointed out that Yolanda was also filmed shaming Gigi for wanting to indulge on her birthday.

“You can spend a night being mean, can’t you,” Yolanda says. “So you have to go back to dieting, though. Because, you know, in Paris and Milan, they like girls that are a bit skinny.”

According to Lester, an almond mom is someone who is typically “stuck in food culture” and likely grew up hearing phrases such as “a moment on the lips, a life on the hips” and “you you’re not hungry, you’re bored.”

“The almond mother phenomenon is rooted in fat phobia and internalized prejudice,” Lester told TODAY Parents. “She projects her own fears onto her children and in doing so teaches them that she only accepts them if they have a weight that may be unattainable.”

Related: Would my life be different if body-positive bloggers existed in the 90s?

Parenting and youth development expert Dr. Deborah Gilboa agrees with Lester’s assessment.

“There’s this belief that our body shape is a reflection of our character, our strength of will and our motivation to be healthy,” Gilboa told TODAY. “A lot of parents take this idea one step further and think that their children’s body shape is a referendum on their parenting role.”

“None of that is true,” she added.

For the past few weeks, TikTokers have been talking about their own Almond Moms. One woman has revealed that when she was growing up her mum forbade her to eat white carbs, while another woman shared footage of her ‘two almonds a day mum’ enjoying a peach in a restaurant.

“I’m over 50. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t aware of the calorie value of different foods,” one TikTok user, who goes by the name Kim from CN. “When I was a kid, I was like, ‘Hey, what’s for dessert?’ And my mother would say, ‘There’s fruit in the fridge.’ And she would say things like, ‘Are you sure you want to eat this?’ »

“I knew from an early age that his motivation came from wanting to protect me,” she told viewers.

At the same time, Kim said she was determined to “break the cycle” with her son. She keeps treats at home and no food is forbidden because “when we know better, we do better”.

Gilboa said there are “a lot of great lessons” to be learned from the almond mother trope.

“So many wonderful parents struggle to help their children live in healthy bodies, without poisoning their minds with food,” Gilboa told TODAY. “It’s a balance beam that many find themselves on.”

Related: My mom wrote about my obesity in Vogue when I was 7. Here’s how it affected me

Gilboa said the first step is to stop placing moral values ​​on food by labeling it as “good” or “bad.” Instead, talk about food as fuel.

“As a parent, you want to help your child understand that their body is one of their coolest and most interesting tools they have for getting around the world,” she explained. “It allows them to do the things they love to do like dancing and running. And for that to work best, it needs a balance of different fuels, including fruits and vegetables.”

If you notice your child gaining weight, Gilboa advised reviewing your cupboard inventory, as kids 12 and under make most of their food choices at home. And whatever you do, don’t mention your weight or your figure, she said.

Gilboa highlighted “five things that have been proven to improve children’s overall fitness and nutrition”:

  • Have breakfast every morning.

  • Eat takeout no more than once a week.

  • Move 60 minutes a day.

  • No more than two hours of recreational screen time per day.

  • And no more than 6 ounces of sugary drinks a day.

“These five interventions make a huge difference,” she continued. “And if you can do them before they’re 12, that’s when you’re not just building models, that’s when you still mostly control what they eat. .”

When it comes to a teenager, Gilboa said to avoid telling him what you’re thinking.

“Take every ounce of judgment out of your voice and say, ‘So every year your body changes a lot. What do you think of your body right now? How’s your body for you? “, did she say. “You want to talk about your body in the third person because therapists have found it helps reduce shame and increase objectivity.”

Lester stressed the importance of promoting positive body image and family meals.

“There is data that shows these things help raise children who can be prevented from developing an eating disorder or gaining unhealthy weight,” she said.

“When you’re ashamed, when you judge, that’s when the problems arise.”

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This article originally appeared on TODAY.com

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