No Wellness Wankery

98: Do THIS to avoid passing down poor body image to your kids

January 25, 2024 Lyndi Cohen
No Wellness Wankery
98: Do THIS to avoid passing down poor body image to your kids
Show Notes Transcript

This is a snippet of our full conversation - you can listen to the entire episode here.

We covered:

  • How diet culture affects boys, as well as women and girls
  • Our own childhoods and upbringings, and how these shaped our relationships with food and our bodies
  • Things we want to change when raising our own children to prevent them being negatively affected by diet culture
  • How to get your kids involved in the kitchen
  • How to teach your children to explore and advocate for their own food choices and preferences
  • Helping your children develop a healthy relationship with their body, as well as with food
  • How to help your kids build trust around food, and learn to tune into their hunger and fullness cues
  • Advice we’d give to parents when it comes to supporting healthy body image in their children

Today I have Joel Feren, The Nutrition Guy, on the podcast. Joel is an Accredited Practising Dietitian and Accredited Nutritionist with a passion for improving the mental and physical health of Australians - especially males. You can find Joel on Instagram here, at or his website here.


If you want to work on your own relationship with food or your body, so you can pass on positive habits and learnings to your children, and protect them from the damaging effects of diet culture, get my FREE 5-Day course here. You’ll learn how to regain control over food, make peace with your body, and stop being consumed by thoughts of food all the time.


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Want to share some feedback or have an idea for an episode, I'd LOVE to hear from you - hit me up at hello@lyndicohen.com

Speaker 1:

Hello everyone and welcome to this week's episode of the no Wellness Bancury podcast. Today we are going to be joined by my friend and also a fellow dietitian, Joel Farron, who is the nutrition guy. Is that what you would wish you were taught growing up? To tune into your body, to listen to it, to be able to trust it, instead of constantly seeking someone else to tell you how to eat. That knowing you could trust your body, that could have been a really important thing.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely and I feel like it's so innate and I love that. My daughter actually both my kids we've sort of taught my son, who's 16 months old, how to sign that he's had enough and he'll sort of shake his fingers around or hands and that's his son or his way of telling us that he's had enough. And it's almost like a bit of a relearning process for me and it's frustrating at times because he'll leave two mouthfuls of food and I'm just like, mate, can't you just finish it? I can tip the rest of the food out for everyone in the dishwasher. But for me it's about honouring that and trusting him and trusting both my kids that they know how much they need to put in their bodies. And, like you said before, I think we probably grew up with very similar food rules, maybe, given that history as well, that we had to finish all our food on our plate and there were starving kids in Africa and because my grandparents didn't have that food when they were my age, that nothing should go to waste. So yeah, very much now I want that different experience for my kids and I think it's a matter of sometimes for adults to sort of recalibrate and relearn some of those strategies that we're sort of inbuilt with.

Speaker 1:

Indeed. So if you were like Joel and I and the blueprint you were given was perhaps one of diet culture, and now, as we're parents, you have these moments where it's kind of like there's a devil angel on your shoulder, kind of thing, where you're talking about this experience with your son, where there's two bitefuls of food left and part of you is going, oh, we don't want to waste because that's how you were raised, but the other part of you is going, no, but I really want him to be able to trust his body. And so, sadly for us, if you were this generation who are deciding that we no longer pass down diet culture, we are the ones who have this internal battle where we do still have our brain, still does default into that old way of thinking, and then we need to quite consciously go. No, we're going to choose to think about things differently, but the gift we are giving to the next generation is that they won't have to have this whole conversation in their brain. It will not cross their mind whether or not they should finish the plate just to finish the plate, and I think this is what you're talking about we're moving toward. This is how you want to raise your kids to just like innately, know that they can trust it without having to have so much brain space occupied by how the right or the wrong way is to eat.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, absolutely Spot on. And my daughter will often say my tummy's had enough and often think like who am I to argue with that? She knows her body better than anybody else and I'm never going to force the point, never going to. You know, there might be some gentle encouragement at times, but I'm never going to force at home that she has to, you know, either eat more or finish what's on her plate. No, I really want to instill that love of food but also allow her to build that trust that only she knows how much she needs to eat. And I back to my son. He's just a cool cat. He I often look at. He goes to childcare and on the childcare app it says how much they eat and I love that. Sometimes he'll get seconds and you know like I think that's awesome. And if he finishes always food, like absolutely offer him more and allow him to regulate. That's not. It's not just like if you finish this food he's had enough just because that's the food that was given, like let's Also on the other end of that, sometimes the child needs more food. Often have these conversations in aged care, so like they're constant conversations that I'm having with people, if you know you eat all your food, what you know you might need a little bit more or sometimes you might not need as much and Appetites one of those tricky things. But I think if we, if we give people that power back, without any of this noise and the pervasive nature of diet culture that tells you how much and when you need to eat, I think people would generally have that better relationship with their bodies and better relationships with their food and more trust in that appetite.

Speaker 1:

Spot on, because you know, we were always getting people who are asking us how much I'm allowed to eat. That is great. How much I'm allowed and the amount that we are allowed to eat is is our bodies constantly got these cues right. It's gonna say my tummy won't let me have anymore, I'm feeling full, like Ruby says. Ruby gets it. If you feel sick, that's how much you allow. You can eat as much as you want. Your body is giving you these cues, trying to gently nudge you to eat an amount that isn't that feels comfortable for it. And so portion size is a bit of a silly thing, right? Because as you're saying is like you know, some days he needs seconds and some days the lesson that we're learning from our kids Is they don't really eat that much and as parents, they can freak us out a little bit Because we want them to eat that consistent thing. It's kind of how we were raised, joel. The thing I've been using about recently as a parent is this idea of food trust. I talk about food trust a lot, food trust being this idea that anytime I'm I want food, I can have food, it's always allowed, I can eat as much as I need, and One of the kind of challenges I have is that we tell kids something like Please eat your breakfast now, because there aren't gonna be, you know, snacks for a while, or we just have them all constantly. There's a constant flow of allowing them to have snacks and I haven't quite worked out how I feel about either of these things because fundamentally, I think the most important thing for a healthy relationship with food is food trust, knowing the food is always allowed. This is the thing that allows us to go. No, I don't need to finish the plate because I know and trust if in 10 minutes, in an hour, in six hours, I want more, I can have more, and if you don't have that, then that's when you go. I have to compulsively eat this and because you feel like you know you could have started again tomorrow.