• Weight Stigma And What It Means For Teens | Zoe Bisbing and Leslie Bloch | Episode 149

  • Kids in larger bodies often have to deal with weight stigma and bullying. This is heart breaking for parents to see. We want to step in and make things better for our child. But how do we do that? Adolescent eating disorder psychotherapists Zoë Bisbing and Leslie Bloch help parents and teens with this every day. They join Mighty Parenting podcast host Sandy Fowler to talk about parents’ initial reaction, the best way to support our kids in larger bodies, and how to manage a conversation with your doctor.



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    A Favorite Quote from the Show: 

    Movement should not be about changing your body, rather, it should have a component of joy.

    High Points From Our Conversation on Weight Stigma and What It Means for Teens:

    The biggest issue for a child with a larger body is weight stigma and bullying.

    Parents want to protect our kids from weight stigma. We want our kids to feel good about themselves and we want to protect them. Our initial response tends to be trying to help them get healthier and lose weight. This is coming from a place of love but it can be damaging.

    Parents who perpetuate weight stigma in their own homes have often been affected themselves.

    We can help our teens in larger bodies deal with the effects of weight stigma by:

      • Validating that bodies come in diverse sizes and there’s nothing wrong with their body
      • Helping them strengthen their social skills, including their ability to say no to people who don’t treat them well and yes to people who do
      • Highlighting the importance of stress management such as relaxation training, getting good sleep and moving for stress relief

    Movement should not be about changing your body, rather, it should have a component of joy.

    Studies show that 95% of diets for intentional weight loss don’t work.

    Doctors often recommend weight loss for kids. If your doctor does this, ask them to show you the research as to what you can do to make it happen. Let them struggle with it rather than leaving you to struggle with it.

    When we see a child’s weight jump off their natural developmental curve it is often due to stress.

    Weight stigma can cause other well-meaning adults to make comments or try to intervene in ways that are not helpful. This is where our child’s skills around being assertive and advocating for themselves come into play.

    Pull your doctor aside before your child’s appointment and ask that they and the nurses don’t say anything about your child’s weight. Studies show that if a doctor talks to a kid in a larger body and says everything checks out and they’ll see them next year then that child will show stronger health outcomes than a child whose doctor mentions they are overweight. Just hearing the word overweight changes the child’s health behaviors.

    Resources Mentioned in Show:

    Diet Culture Is Harming Our Kids | Zoe Bisbing And Leslie Bloch Of The Full Bloom Project | Episode 127

    Understanding And Managing Emotions To Create More Joy, Love, And Peace | Jude Bijou | Episode 103

    Your Child’s Weight: Helping Without Harming by Ellyn Satter

    Our Guests Zoë Bisbing and Leslie Bloch:

    Zoë Bisbing and Leslie Bloch are both adolescent eating disorder psychotherapists and mothers of two based in New York City who met in graduate school at New York University. After nearly a decade of conversations about work and family life, Zoë and Leslie were inspired by their mutual dream of preventing the eating disorders that they help parents and kids fight every day. Happy to put themselves out of business if it meant fewer young people needed their services, they founded the Full Bloom Project to share insights from the prevention research and body-positive parenting knowledge in an accessible way with parents and providers everywhere.

    Together Zoë and Leslie host the weekly Full Bloom Podcast, create online resources for body-positive parenting, and speak to groups of parents and professionals about how to help young people develop positive relationships with their bodies. They have presented at conferences for the National Hemophilia Foundation, at Nike Headquarters in Portland, and at independent schools across New York City.

    To learn more or connect with our guests visit https://www.fullbloomproject.com 

    Our Sponsors:

    Inward Bound Mindfulness Education–iBme is hosting a mindfulness retreat for all ages A Shelter in the Storm: Post-Election Refuge
    iBme creates in-depth mindfulness programs for teens and young adults. Courses and retreats help them learn awareness, compassion, and concentration practices which develop deep listening skills, self-awareness, and communication essential competencies for success in all areas of life. Offerings have expanded to include courses for parents and other adults; all available online for 2020. Check the schedule and register at https://ibme.com/programs/landing/

    Sandy Fowler—Struggling to work, volunteer or follow another passion while still loving your family? Sandy Fowler shows you how you can follow your passion while loving your family and do it without guilt and stress. Click here for the free video.