Teenage girls need to know what God wants them to know about beauty. The cotton ball diet is back. How will you influence the girls in your life?
The cotton ball diet is back. I’d like to thank those who use Photoshop for evil. In that magical computer land, thighs are magically whittled (to achieve the impossible thigh gap), blemishes airbrushed, cheeks lifted, and body images ruined.
Teenage girls can’t possibly look like those in magazines. (For goodness' sake, the real-life models don’t look like themselves in magazines.) Still, women keep trying—even resorting to eating cotton balls soaked in juice—all to feel full while not actually taking in any calories.The long-term damage to their robbed-of-nutrients-while-developing bodies is undeniable. Some are rushed to surgery because of intestinal blockage.
I can’t change the world, but I can influence the girls in my life—my daughters, my nieces, the girls in my church. And you can influence yours.
• Tell your girls—over and over—what God wants them to know. They are, after all, His daughters too.
He has made everything beautiful in its time.—Ecclesiastes 3:11
God knit you together. You are fearfully and wonderfully made.—Psalm 139
All beautiful you are, my darling; there is no flaw in you.—Song of Solomon 4:7
• Fill your home with real food. Talk about the importance of taking care of the body God gave you.
• Talk to a nutritionist or dietician.
• Talk to your girls about their goals. What messages are they telling themselves (e.g., “If I was thin, then I’d be popular or boys would like me or . . . )? Are these goals realistic? Why do they feel that way? Don’t dismiss their possibly faulty reasoning, but address their concerns compassionately.
• Get rid of all “beauty” magazines. Don’t keep a scale in your home.
• Take girls to a gym. Or set up a boot camp at your home. Strong and healthy is far more desirable than fragile and sick.
• Set an example.
Men: As you praise your wives and mothers, the girls in your life will overhear. Use your words to help them define true beauty.
Women: Don’t whine about your hair, your wrinkles, your stretch marks. Eat. Exercise.
• Get professional help. Honestly, if girls have reached the point of eating cotton balls, they are beyond simple solutions. They need help that parents are probably not equipped to offer.
P.S. In a real world, girls aren’t going to believe these words from their parents. Maybe they won’t say it, but you know they are thinking, “Whatever, Mom, you always say I look great. But I know better. I’m doing this because I have to.”
That’s why aunts and uncles, grandpas and grandmas, and family friends are vital. A girl will probably be more likely to listen to you than to her parents. So look over this list. Think of a girl in your life and start building her up.