Get The Dish

Your Diet Legacy and Your Daughter

I am excited to introduce you to my friend, Debi Silber. She’s the sought-after speaker and author of the Amazon Bestselling book: The Unshakable Woman: 4 Steps to Rebuilding Your Body, Mind and Life After a Life Crisis and my Facebook Live guest tomorrow, 12/8 at 9am CST at Today, she has written us a very timely blog post on creating a diet legacy, our mindset on the subject, and how it affects our children.

Debi Silber, diet legacy

Debi Silber, her mother and daughter.

As moms, we often try to instill our beliefs and standards onto our children. Often, our goal is to ensure that our children learn from the benefit of our knowledge and experience so that they can create enriching, rewarding lives for themselves. So why is it then that one of the most significant messages moms often pass on to their daughters is a diet legacy?

Every mom wants the best for her children; there is no question about that. But unfortunately, when a mom lives through the emotional and physical pain that her overweight body may cause, she unknowingly often passes the “right to diet” on as though it were a “rite of passage” into womanhood. Maybe the mom wants to prevent her daughter from suffering from a low self-esteem. Maybe the mom wants to ensure that her daughter is spared the harsh judgment from others as a result of excess weight. Finally, maybe the mom regrets not having the confidence to pursue a goal or dream and wants to make sure her daughter doesn’t pass up similar opportunities.

While these goals are driven by the desire to protect and fueled with the power of love, often the greatest message that comes across is that when the daughter is ready, she’ll learn to diet just like her mom. Of course, it’s not intentional but this is the “diet legacy” a mom will often pass on to her daughter. So, if this isn’t our intention, how can we teach our daughters the benefits of health and wellness without teaching them how to “diet?”

The first thing we need to do is stop dieting ourselves. We need to recognize the example we’re setting and understand that if it’s not one that benefits our daughters or ourselves, it’s worth changing. By getting rid of our own “diet mentality” we’re taking the first step to setting a better example for our children.

We also need to understand that we are our children’s greatest role models. They watch, learn and copy our behaviors and actions. If we’re berating ourselves for the way we look, we can only expect that our daughters will learn to do the same. If we fear certain foods because of the feeling of powerlessness we feel when we eat them, we’re teaching our daughters to feel that fear as well. Finally, if we’ve spent decades battling an unhealthy relationship with food, we can easily pass along this same relationship on to our children if we’re not careful.

It may be time to change this way of thinking in order to finally give up dieting in exchange for lasting lifestyle changes and learn how to create a healthy relationship with food. As moms, we have so many wonderful ideas we want to pass along to our children. Dieting and the pain it causes doesn’t have to be one of them.

Of course, moms can pass this “legacy” onto their sons too. I just see it so often with moms and daughters. Have you unintentionally passed along a “diet mentality” to your children? You can change that!

Debi Silber, MS, RD, WHC, FDN is the bestselling author of The Unshakable Woman: 4 Steps to Healing Your Body, Mind and Life after a Life Crisis and has created a multi-pronged approach to help women prevent or heal-physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually from a life crisis. Learn more at

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