Teaching Kids To Love Their Bodies with Victoria Yates

Teaching Kids To Love Their Bodies with Victoria Yates

Jan 24, 2024

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Victoria Yates is back on the podcast today to talk with me about teaching kids to love their bodies and have a great relationship with food and their bodies. We’re addressing some of the challenges and fears that we face as parents, how society has told us to view our bodies, and then she’ll share some strategies to help you support your kid’s health in a positive way.

Victoria is an intuitive eating and body image coach for women. She is also a former labor & delivery and pediatric nurse. 

The last time she was here, we talked about how we, as women, can heal our relationships with our bodies and move toward body acceptance and self love at a deeper level. Today, we’re taking it a step further to develop a body positive dynamic for the whole family. 

If you’ve been here for a while, you know that my mission as a parenting coach is to heal the next generation in advance. To help our kids get to adulthood without a bunch of trauma and insecurity that they need to heal from. 

One of the things that women (myself included) are healing from is our relationship with our bodies and with food. What would it be like if our kids didn’t need to heal these wounds?


What is Body Positivity?

Recent culture tells us that a small body = health. And there’s pushback against body positivity by people thinking this means that accepting our bodies means that health isn’t important anymore. 

Victoria explains that her idea of body positivity is not that there are good or bad bodies. Everyone has a different body. It’s a part of human diversity. Body positivity is really about saying, “This is the body that I was given,” and being a little more neutral and accepting of it. 

We aren’t all made to be one specific size, and there are a lot of factors that go into our size and weight. Some are things we can control, like our eating habits, movement, sleep and stress. But a large component also comes from our genetics. 

And our bodies are always changing. You can think of your relationship with your body like a relationship with another person (e.g. your kid or your spouse/partner). You’re always learning new things about them. You might be frustrated with them at times, but the acceptance and love is still there. 


What Our Culture Says About Bodies

There is an anti-fat bias in our society. On the flip side of that, there is privilege that comes with being thin. 

Society uses our bodies to decide what is beautiful, healthy and even moral. And this translates into seeing a fat body and labeling it as not beautiful or healthy, like they’ve done something wrong. 

Living in a body that isn’t accepted by society comes with the risk of being made fun of or passed up for opportunities. As parents, this can feel scary. We want to keep our kids safe, and they are more likely to be valued in society if they are in a thin body. 

You might jump to thinking, “I’ve gotta put my kid on a diet,” or “I’ve gotta make sure they move.”

I see these concerns about weight and body shape come in often around age 9 or 10, as kids are entering puberty. Their bodies are changing in a lot of ways, and kids seem to put on weight before they have growth spurts (not a doctor here, just an observation). 

It can be scary for parents to see those changes, and I sometimes see diet culture start to creep in. Victoria shares that most of her adult clients first started dieting in their teenage years. This can be generational, starting with a girl going to a Weight Watchers meeting or doing a diet plan with her mom. 

The truth is, people might judge your kid by the way they look. We can’t control that. They might even judge your parenting based on how your kid looks. It can be really hurtful. 

So how do we own the idea that their body is the right size, they’re in a relationship with their body and food and that they’re learning and figuring it out?

It starts with the question, “What are you actually worried about - health or fitting in?”

Victoria shares a few strategies parents can use to help their kids develop body positivity. 


Teaching Kids To Love Their Bodies

When it comes to food and bodies, instead of focusing on weight and size, here are some emotionally healthy frameworks to consider.

Focus on health-promoting behaviors: movement, nutrition, sleep hygiene, being outside, and spending time with others. (Instead of focusing on weight loss.)

The book Health At Every Size explains that the things we do, not our weight, determine our health. Eating intuitively, moving our bodies regularly, sleeping well and managing stress are the factors that actually impact health. Our weight is secondary. 

Ultimately, we want to cultivate a home environment that promotes a healthy relationship with food and body. Look at what your kid is doing and what habits are encouraged in your home. Are you bringing nutritious foods into the house? Are you moving as a family?


Practice the division of responsibility with food. The parent is in charge of what food is served and where it’s served and when it’s served. The child is in charge of how much is eaten. (This facilitates intuitive eating.)

Kids are born as intuitive eaters. Babies cry when they’re hungry, and they pull away when they’re full. This instinct is their default. 

This can be as simple as asking a young child, “Is your belly full or is your belly still hungry?” It prompts them to check in with how their body is feeling. For older kids who no longer seem like intuitive eaters, there are ways to bring them back to it. 


Combat anti-fat bias by adopting the belief that bodies come in a lot of sizes and that’s ok. There are non-size-2 bodies that are healthy and strong, and there are thin bodies that aren’t healthy. There is a lot of research now showing that weight does not determine health. 


Communicate that food is there to give us energy, not to control our size. Encourage your child to eat healthier “power foods” because they’ll power them up and make their bodies strong. It’s not about them needing to be thinner.


Convey that the purpose of movement is to keep our bones and muscles strong, and because it feels good. (Not for weight loss or body sculpting.) When kids have more regular movement, they can run around at the park, jump on the trampoline and do the things they want to do. 


Be aware of how you speak about bodies in the world, including your own. Moms often ask Victoria how they can help their kids have a healthy relationship with food and their bodies. 

Her answer: It starts with you. Kids are like mirrors. If they see and hear you talking negatively about your body or food or going on diets, they will pick up those tendencies. 

Make a commitment to not talk badly about your body in front of your kids nor to talk about the size of your child’s body to your child. 


If we can decide to stop looking at our kids’ bodies as a problem and instead look at our society’s values (fat bias, thin privilege, diet culture, etc.) as the issue, it frees us from having to participate in it. It frees our kids from being defined by it. 

Our kids are borrowing our values and beliefs while they’re figuring out their own. Some of us have a little work to do ourselves before we can really teach our children how to have a healthy relationship with food and their bodies. That might mean working on your own body positivity or relationship with food and diet culture. 

If you are healing your own relationship with body and food, connect with Victoria at the links below. 

Teaching kids to love their bodies is just like bringing more peace into your home. It starts with a calm, confident mama. Learn more about my programs to help you become a Calm Mama here.


Connect with Victoria:




You’ll Learn:

  • Messages we get from society about our bodies that aren’t actually true
  • Emotionally healthy ways to promote physical health and positive body image in your family
  • How to handle kids’ desire for sweets and treats
  • Why teaching kids to love their bodies starts with you

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