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Mom, Are Calories Bad?

By: Alison Ross, LMFT, CEDS



When my son was just five years old, he came home from school one day and asked, "Mom, are calories bad?" It was concerning to hear that some kids at his lunch table were saying that calories should be avoided, and it made him worry about eating his lunch. I quickly corrected that toxic idea and explained to him that calories are essential for energy and life.


But what bothered me just as much as these unhealthy ideas spreading to my son was that the kid at the lunch table might have learned to fear calories from someone important in his life, maybe even a parent. And if that's the case, did that parent learn it from their own parent? Because so often, that's how toxic ideas about eating, weight, and health spread to children. They get passed down from the important adults in their lives, who likely inherited them from the important adults in their lives as well. It's not just the media that instills fear and promotes disordered eating; it's also well-meaning individuals -- parents, grandparents, teachers, and coaches who unknowingly internalize and spread these toxic messages to the kids in their life.

IG @mondaydieter

I recently saw this post on Instagram by @mondaydieter, where she encouraged adults approached by a girl scout selling cookies to avoid engaging in diet talk. I think she has exactly the right idea.


As adults, we owe it to all the kids we influence to create a more positive and empowering narrative about food, bodies, and weight. I think we should seek to teach them what, possibly, the adults who raised us didn't teach - that calories and our bodies are not the enemy. They are incredible gifts for us to appreciate and enjoy.


Let's help the kids in our lives develop a healthy relationship with food and themselves, where they can appreciate the energy-giving properties of calories and embrace their unique bodies.


How do you spread a food and body positive stance to the kids in your life? Click here to join the conversation on IG.

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