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Raising Body Positive Children

Raising Body Positive Children

Busy Mom's Starter Guide to Making Peace with Food
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We all want our kiddos to feel comfortable in their bodies, but we can’t always protect them from the cultural messaging and outside voices implying that there is a right and wrong way to eat. And for those of us who struggle with eating and body image disorders ourselves, there is the added worry that we might pass these issues on to our children. So, what can we do to raise body positive children with the confidence and autonomy to practice intuitive eating?

Karen Diaz is a registered dietitian certified in intuitive eating. She earned her BS in Dietetics from James Madison University in 2001 and completed her internship at the Cornell Campus of New York—Presbyterian Hospital in 2003. Karen spent several years working as a clinical dietician in the nutrition department at The Renfrew Center, one of the leading centers for eating disorder treatment on the East Coast, before creating The Free Life, a platform designed to support women in overcoming eating and body image disorders. She is also the author of Within: Making Peace with Food and Body Image to Create a Healthy Family and Home.

On this episode of The Embodied & Well Mom Show, Karen joins us to discuss the challenges moms (and parents) face in judging ourselves when it comes to body image and food. She shares the two overarching themes from her book on confronting eating and body image disorders, building yourself up first—and then opening a dialogue with your children. Karen also describes the value in developing a Family Manifesto around food and learning to practice ‘appreciative looking.’ Listen in for Karen’s insight on talking to your kids about cultural messaging and learn her top strategies for raising body positive children!

Key Takeaways


What inspired Karen to specialize in eating disorders

  • Addiction issues in family, friend with eating disorder
  • 8 years in nutrition department at eating disorder clinic

How we judge ourselves around body image + food

  • Rules make it hard to be active participant in relationship
  • Remove mom-guilt that we caused child’s issues

The two overarching themes in Karen’s book Within

  1. Build self up so strong that diet culture crumbles at feet
  2. Open dialogue in home to address struggles

Karen’s Family Manifesto around food

  • Set of beliefs, e.g.: food shouldn’t be reward
  • Don’t judge other families for different values

The value in facilitating an open dialogue on body image

  • Ask questions to let kids be heard
  • Avoid bringing own worries into conversation

The concept of appreciative looking

  • Look at photographs 3X, find something like
  • Learn to see self in different way

Karen’s advice on shifting negative cultural messages

  • YOU determine your environment
  • Choose foods that taste good, feel good for you

How to educate your kids on cultural messaging

  • Point out lack of size diversity
  • Discuss shows with personality based on body size

Karen’s insight on talking to preteens about body image

  • Proactive strategies (i.e.: write letters to parts of body)
  • Don’t panic about phases, doctor’s comments

Connect with Karen

The Free Life

Karen on Facebook

Karen on Twitter

Karen on Pinterest

Within: Making Peace with Food and Body Image to Create a Healthy Family and Home by Karen Diaz RD


Connect with Lindsay


Intuitive Eating Moms

Embodied & Well Mom Show on Facebook

Lindsay on Instagram

Lindsay on Pinterest

Lindsay on Twitter

Lindsay on LinkedIn




Wendy Yalom Photography

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