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Good Girls Don't Get Fat: How Weight Obsession Is Messing Up Our Girls and How We Can Help Them Thrive Despite It Paperback – September 21, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
In this straightforward guide, Silverman explores weight obsession in teenage girls, outlining ways that parents can help their daughters succeed in a "thin-is-in" world. Silverman had previously compiled "The Good Girls' Weight Rules" list of negative beliefs that society pushes on girls, such as "my emotions should depend on how fat I feel" and "I strive for size zero." She believes that girls should be taught to swap these harmful ideas for positive mottos (which she calls "Asset Girls' Ten Commandments) stressing confidence and achievements. Silverman outlines the causes behind an unhealthy body image and what parents can do to combat it, interspersing her advice with quizzes and stories from teens she's interviewed. Focusing mainly on mothers and daughters, Silverman also explores ways that fathers can reinforce a positive body image. Although the book contains plenty of sound advice, the breezy messages can border on hokey, with suggestions to declare one's home a "Fat Talk Free Zone" or to limit girls to two minutes of "grumbling and groaning" about imperfections. The author concludes with a helpful guide to resources promoting a healthy body image and self esteem, and a list of shops that carry plus-sized clothing. (Oct.) (c)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
About the Author
ROBYN J.A. SILVERMAN, PhD, is a leading expert in body and self-esteem development who appears regularly on national television and radio, including The Tyra Banks Show, Fox & Friends, Nightline and NPR. An award-winning columnist and writer, she lives in New Jersey with her husband and children. Visit her website at www.DrRobynSilverman.com.
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GGDGF challenges our society's obsession with appearance to look at the impacts on, primarily, teenage girls, both past and present, in the form of eating disorders, low self esteem and as the targets of constant unpardonable marketing. Some of the voices you will hear in this book are heartbreaking, but they are voices that need to be heard
The book is packed with studies, examples and great advice. Just a few things I took away from the book that make me glad I read it:
1) When moms say things,girls remember. Even a poorly worded complement (you look like you lost weight) can effect how a girl feels about weight. We are all going to say things wrong sometimes without meaning to, but I think I need to pay attention to every word I say about weight and health. I need to make sure that I regularly give praise to the girls about how lovely they are to off-balance the stupid things that sometimes come out.
2) Listen to what the girls are saying and answer with what they need. Saying "don't be silly everyone looks different" to a girl when she says "My body looks funny" is not helpful. We need to say. Your body is amazing. Your healthy and active and your body will take you to amazing places!
3)What dad's say and do matter. The cute nick-names of the toddler days like chubby cheeks should be put to rest. Girls are watching and listening to what dad says. So dads should watch what they say just as much as moms. If your daughter hears negative comments about plus-size women she is going to process it and possibly take it to heart if she feels she is plus-size as well.
4. Learn how your girls think and what motivates them. Trash talking does not work as a motivator for most girls. Girl internalize things, so while telling a boy he runs like a grandma would push him to run faster, a girl may just stop running.
Of course the advice above that I gleaned from Dr. Robyn's book can be put to topics other than weight.
After finishing the book I decided not to talk about the serving size thing directly with my girls. I'm just going to dish out the proper serving sizes and be casual about it. I'm going to go with uplifting words, good examples and a lot of prayer.
My only real concern about the book was the title. I was afraid the girls would read it and take it literally. I told them that the title was an eye-catching way to get people to pick up the book, and that the book was about making sure girls of all body types feel good about themselves. I still was tempted to rip off the cover though!
My total review is on my blog at [...]
Another great aspect of this book is all of the "pocket knowledge," i.e. information in handy lists and bullet-pointed tips that you can start acting on right away, especially as a parent. Also lovely is the whole chapter on Dads (including the fun-to-read "bad dad" typology), who are often under-focused upon in all of the mother-daughter body image literature. Some other reviewers have commented that Dr. Silverman's solutions border on breezy or pat, and I agree somewhat, but maybe some of that is because many of the adult examples are so awful that the "correction" is too easy. I would have liked Dr. Silverman to one in-depth study, for example, of a family where the parents are not totally clueless but despite their best efforts, the kids (or adults) still suffer from "normative discontent" (great term of Dr. Silverman's), "disordered eating," or otherwise unhealthy lifestyle or patterns of thought and feeling. I think the environmental influences outside the family -- which Dr. Silverman does address -- can often trump the best parents, especially when it comes to peer-to-peer bullying or exclusion, media distortions, school atmosphere, and whichever circle of friends your middle-schooler happens to be stuck or drawn to.
Also, while I largely agree with the "HAES" movement (Health at Every Size), I'd like to see Dr. Silverman address more specifically how parents who have unhealthy, medically obese children (and there are many of them) should balance trying to implement a weight loss/nutritional/exercise program for their children without damaging their body self-esteem or triggering a negative relationship with food, etc.
Overall though, I highly recommend this book for parents and will use it as a resource over time. I am looking forward to Dr. Silverman's next book already!
Most recent customer reviews
I LOVED the first 2/3 or so of this book - the author is extremely knowledgeable about her topic, she has a wealth of experience to...Read more