Posts Tagged ‘Body Image’

Replacing the Destructive Diet Culture With Healthy Living

January 9, 2020


Those familiar with my novel, My Favourite Comedian, are aware that body image is a very prevalent theme throughout the book. Below are some brilliant rules from writer Megan Glosson that seeks to replace the terrible diet culture affecting our children with something far more effective and beneficial:

For starters, avoid characterizing food as “good” or “bad.” While we think this may encourage healthy eating habits, dieticians caution that it actually creates feelings of shame and anxiety for children instead. Furthermore, as an Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson, Rahaf Al Bochi, told The Washington Post, when we believe certain foods are “forbidden,” we ultimately crave them even more.

Also, remember that children eat based on their personal preferences, not based on what others consider healthy or what adults pressure them to eat. Instead of pushing certain items or banning others, consider finding healthy ways to help your child explore foods by simply making a wider variety of foods available to them.

Make family dinner a priority, too. Studies show that frequent family dinners, where the entire family sits and eats together, positively impacts a child’s relationship with food. Not only does watching parents’ eating habits help children make smart choices themselves, but it also provides a safe space for families to discuss food and body image in a meaningful, nurturing way. Even if your family is constantly running places, there are many ways to simplify family dinner time so that it still happens.

Most importantly, celebrate body diversity and take a non-judgemental stance on physical appearance. Experts recommend that parents pay close attention to how they talk about their own bodies and the bodies of others, especially when around their children. Also, talk about the body in terms of functionality and stress the importance of eating anything, not harping on specific “healthy foods.” These messages will stick with children for their entire life, so it’s best to start early and build positive experiences for your child, not negative ones.


Special Announcement:

I am donating 100% of the royalties of my hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian, during the month of January to those affected by the devastating bushfires in my country, Australia. This book is perfect for children aged 9 to 14 and the ideal class novel for Upper Primary students. Please leave a comment to indicate your purchase. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.


Body Image in Boys: The Untold Problem

November 18, 2019

Whilst we haven’t properly dealt with it, we have been fully aware of the issues related to girls and body image. What we may not be aware of, is how rampant body-image conditions such as depression and eating disorders are in our young boys.

Take this recent study by the University of Sydney:


25 per cent of all people with anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa are male.

40 per cent of people with a binge eating disorder are male.

42 per cent of males who have eating disorders identify as gay.

45 per cent of Western men are unhappy with their bodies in some way, rising from 15 per cent 25 years ago.

25 per cent of Australian men in a healthy weight range believe they’re fat.

3 per cent of Australian teenage boys use muscle-enhancing drugs like steroids.


One of the key themes in my soon to be released debut novel, My Favourite Comedian’, is body image in young boys. There aren’t many novels pitched at middle years readers that discuss this very serious issue. I recommend that parents and teachers read the novel with their children and discuss the importance of self-acceptance.


Teaching Body Image at Primary and Secondary Levels

June 21, 2016


Courtesy of the Guardian online:


Start by getting your pupils to think about different representations of bodies on screen with this resource pack from IntoFilm. It includes background information and discussion questions to tackle after watching films such as The Girl With the World in her Hair, The Elephant Man, and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

In her brilliant letter to her teenage daughter, Caitlin Moran advises: “Stay at peace with your body. While it’s healthy, never think of it as a problem or a failure. Pat your legs occasionally and thank them for being able to run. Put your hands on your belly and enjoy how soft and warm you are – marvel over the world turning over within.”

Ignite your pupils’ fascination with the inner workings of their bodies with this detailed resource from Teaching Packs. It explains several incredible processes including how blood travels, what bones are made of and how skin responds to touch and pain.

You can also get your pupils to think about the power of their bodies with this investigation from Teachit Primary. It works on the hypothesis “people with long legs jump the furthest” – and introduces the ideas of prediction, fair testing and analysing results. Twinkl also has this dice race activity to get pupils thinking about different kinds of faces. Working in pairs, they have to roll dice and draw the feature linked to each number – the first to get a complete face wins the game.

Your students probably know their bodies will undergo changes as they grow up, but the idea can be unsettling. Get them up to speed with what to expect using this clear worksheet. It shows the changes that puberty brings to both male and female bodies, with a labelling activity to demonstrate their understanding.

Finally, you can teach your pupils the importance of self-belief with this extract from the confidence-building book Being Me and Loving It. The tale follows Noah, who is initially scared to show off his knowledge about space and try new things because he is worried about what other will think of him. The related discussion asks pupils to think about their attitudes towards themselves and how they can stay positive.


Should we be worried about cosmetic surgery? Is the fashion industry to blame for anorexia among young people? Is Barbie’s new body a win for feminism? These are some of the questions explored in this collection of articles from The Day. Each topic is examined through a student-friendly news story and a selection of linked activities, plus a glossary of useful vocabulary.

Meanwhile, IntoFilm also offers a look at body image for older students through a series of thought-provoking cinematic outings, including: Milo (about a boy with a rare skin disease); Eating Lunch (about living with an eating disorder); and Girl Model (a documentary about the exploitative machinations of the modelling industry).

It can also be helpful to remind your students that the notion of what constitutes a beautiful body has changed dramatically throughout history. This interesting video looks at how the ideal female body shape has changed over time, from the Greek fashion for rounded curves to the 1990s look of “heroin chic”. It could be useful for sparking discussion and debate among your classes.

And it’s also important that students understand that the images of beauty they are confronted with each day have been digitally manipulated to achieve a certain look. This self-esteem workshop (and associated worksheets) from Sport Relief offers inside information on image manipulation. Follow-up tasks ask students to prepare a role play discussing why they can’t look like the people in the pictures and exploring ways to battle body anxiety.


Click on the link to read Whilst I Try to Teach About Positive Self Image, the Media Seeks to Tear My Students Down

Click on the link to read List of Body Positive Books for Kids

Click on the link to read Sometimes You Need to Expect Rudeness

Click on the link to read Do We Learn Enough From Children?

List of Body Positive Books for Kids

January 13, 2015

body positive

A great list courtesy of


  • Flora and the Flamingo and its sequel, Flora and the Penguin, age 4+. These charming, wordless picture books feature a spunky yet graceful little girl. Flora has a pear-shaped body, yet does a ballet pas de deux with a flamingo in the first book and figure skates with a penguin in the second. So many images in books, movies, magazines and ads feature young girls with slim bodies; it’s nice to see an image of a girl with a round tummy who’s athletic, graceful and creative.
  • Brontorina, by James Howe and illustrated by Randy Cecil, age 4+. When a brontosaurus shows up at ballet class, some of the students insist, “You are too big!” But the open-minded ballet teacher decides the problem is that her studio is too small — and moves the class outdoors. It’s a lighthearted lesson about not letting your size or shape prevent you from following your dream.
  • Freckleface Strawberry, age 5+. The main character feels self-conscious about her freckles, especially when other kids make comments and give her a nickname she doesn’t like. The final message isn’t that her freckles are beautiful, but that maybe they don’t matter. More important, people are happier when they accept who they are and what they look like.
  • Firebird, by Misty Copeland, age 5+. A young girl who wants to be a dancer almost gives up before ballet great Misty Copeland inspires and mentors her to reach her full potential in this exuberant picture book that emphasizes hard work and self-discovery.
  • Ivy + Bean, age 6+. Two “opposite” 7-year-old girls become best friends in the first of a wonderful 10-volume series. Bean is a rough-and-tumble tomboy who wears pants and a T-shirt and gets dirty; Ivy wears dresses, thinks a lot and is always reading books. They appreciate each other’s qualities, and the kids in their neighborhood appreciate them for their uniqueness and imagination.
  • Confessions of a So-Called Middle Child and its sequel, Watch Out Hollywood!: More Confessions of a So-Called Middle Child, age 8+. In the first book, Charlie shows she’s comfortable with her out-of-shape body (while trying to make healthy food choices) and confident in her bold sense of style. In the sequel, when she tries out for a TV show, kids tease her about her body, but the TV people admire her for being comfortable with her shape. It’s a refreshing, positive-body-image message to find in a book about middle school.
  • Harry Potter series, age 8+. Hermione is part of the triangle of main characters, and she’s smarter and does better in school than Harry and Ron. Her looks are never a focus, even when the kids become teens, go to dances and start to have crushes. It’s always about who she is as a person and her outstanding abilities.
  • Randi Rhodes Ninja Detective: The Case of the Time-Capsule Bandit, by Octavia Spencer, age 8+. Randi moves to a new town and becomes best friends with two boys who also are outsiders; one is bullied for being hearing impaired but is as passionate about martial arts as Randi is, and the other is lanky, into music and super smart. Together the diverse pals — Randi’s white, and her friends are Latino and African-American — solve a mystery using brains and the occasional Bruce Lee move.
  • Blubber, age 9+. An overweight girl is teased mercilessly by some classmates, and no one stands up for her in this brutally honest look at (pre-Internet-era) bullying among fifth graders. The novel doesn’t spell out moral lessons but teaches kids by portraying repugnant behavior and showing the value of true friendship and courage under peer pressure.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth, age 9+. Middle schooler Greg Heffley goes through puberty in this series installment and suffers the indignity of teeth-fixing head gear. He deals with it all through humor and utter cluelessness, as always. He may not become more accepting of himself, but kids reading about his travails understand that everyone goes through this stage and that you can have a good laugh at the embarrassing stuff instead of being quietly embarrassed.
  • Grace, Gold, and Glory: My Leap of Faith, by Gabby Douglas and Michelle Burford, age 10+. This moving memoir shows the Olympic gymnast’s dedication in the face of homelessness, bullying and having a coach tell her she should get a nose job. Gabby stays focused, works hard and accepts herself as she is, even as she strives for greatness.
  • The Girl of Fire and Thorns, age 12+. A plump princess is chosen by God (in a fictional religion) for a special unknown task. She begins the book as intelligent but insecure and afraid and ends it confident and powerful.​ Rising to challenges and having faith in yourself are big lessons here — as is the message that any size girl can be a respected and capable leader.​
  • InReal Life, age 12+. An exciting graphic novel about a teen girl gamer who learns about harsh working conditions in other parts of the world. She’s smart, competent, and compassionate, both in real life and as her online avatar.


Click on the link to read Sometimes You Need to Expect Rudeness

Click on the link to read Do We Learn Enough From Children?

Click on the link to read Kids as Young as 7 Diagnosed with Anorexia

Click on the link to read The Destructive Impact of the “Fashion Police” Brigade

Click on the link to read The Plus Sized Barbie Debate Misses the Point

High School Bullying Victim Gets Even! (Video)

December 8, 2014


This story reminds me of the famous shopping scene from Pretty Woman:


A former victim of high school bullying was asked on a date by one of her taunters only to stand him up with an excellent note that has seen her showered with praise from all over the world.

It all started eight years ago when UK student Lousia Manning, now 22, was bullied at high school where she was called fat and nicknamed “man beast” for having hairy legs.

Years later at Oxford University, she had a chance encounter with one of the bullies who asked her out to dinner, setting an elaborate plan in motion.

Instead of turning up at the restaurant as planned, she arrived early and left a note with a waitress.

“Hey sorry I can’t join you tonight,” it read.

“Remember year eight when I was fat and you made fun of my weight? No? I do — I spent the following three years eating less than an apple a day. So I’ve decided to skip dinner.”

“Remember the monobrow you mocked? The hairy legs you were disgusted by? Remember how every day for three years you and your friends called me Manbeast? No perhaps you don’t or you wouldn’t have seen how I look eight years later and deemed me f***able enough to treat me like a human being.”

“I thought I’d send you this as a reminder. Next time you think of me, picture the girl in this photo because she’s the one who just stood you up.”

Needless to say, the story received a huge response with anyone who has ever been bullied punching the air all around the world.



Click on the link to read Police Charges for Teen Bullies is More than Appropriate

Click on the link to read African Children Bullied at School Because of Ebola

Click on the link to read Another Vicious Schoolyard Fight Video Emerges

Click on the link to read Bullying from a Teenager’s Perspective

Sometimes You Need to Expect Rudeness

November 20, 2014


ireland hobert hoch

Weighing students, especially around their classmates is invasive and a breach of privacy. If there was nothing wrong with it then principals and teachers would have no problem sharing their measurements with the students. Can you imagine the fuss if principals demanded that all teachers should be weighed and measured during a staff room meeting?

So when such an unfair and insensitive rule is opposed by a student, especially a student with an impeccable reputation for good behavior, teachers should be expected to give the student some latitude. Sending her to the Principal indicates a teacher completely out of touch,

Ireland Hobert-Hoch may seem an unlikely student protester. She’s a straight-A student, “not one to cause problems in school,” her mom, Heather Hobert-Hoch, told The Huffington Post.

But when physical education students at Southeast Polk Junior High in Pleasant Hill, Iowa, were having their height and weight recorded about three weeks ago, Ireland refused. She was sent to the principal’s office.

“I don’t feel like it’s [the school’s] busines,”Ireland told the Des Moines Register. “I feel like it’s my doctor and my mom and my own business — or maybe not even my own, because I don’t need to know that right now.”

School principal Mike Daily said Ireland didn’t land in his office because she refused to be weighed, but because of how her refusal “was presented to the teacher.”

“The issue anytime a student is sent to the office refers more to the situation and how it has escalated — not necessarily the event at hand,” Daily told HuffPost. “I know saying, ‘Hey, we’ve always done this’ is not a good explanation,” he said, but the measurements are part of a bigger assessment program. “If it gives kids feedback, that helps,” he said.

Ireland’s class was having height and weight measured to calculate their body mass index as part of the FitnessGram program, according to the Des Moines Register. Daily said the school was doing these measurements when he arrived four years ago.

Daily said the school board will discuss the matter at upcoming meetings, and will decide whether to continue weighing children.

Ireland said her refusal to be weighed in front of the class encouraged other girls to take the same position.

School officials asked Ireland and her mom if they would be more comfortable if Ireland were weighed in a private space. Both said no.

“She doesn’t want her weight taken anywhere,” Heather Hobert-Hoch said. The family stopped using a scale years ago and Ireland has “been very happy since then,” her mom said.

“It’s very common among young girls, and even women, to become obsessed with the number on the scale,” Heather Hobert-Hoch said. She said she didn’t want her daughter to go down that path, especially since she’s a healthy, lean girl.

Earlier this year, the FitnessGram program was criticized when one third grader in New York City was given a letter from her school calling her “overweight,” because she weighed one pound more than the average for her height and age. The child’s mother said the information should have been mailed directly home, instead of being given to students.

“My daughter is thin. She knows she doesn’t have a weight problem. But that night, I caught her grabbing the skin near her waist, and she asked me, ‘Is this what they were talking about?”‘ mother Laura Williams told Fox. “It was awful to see.”


Click on the link to read Do We Learn Enough From Children?

Click on the link to read Kids as Young as 7 Diagnosed with Anorexia

Click on the link to read The Destructive Impact of the “Fashion Police” Brigade

Click on the link to read The Plus Sized Barbie Debate Misses the Point

Click on the link to read Study Claims that Being Attractive can give you Better Grades

Do We Learn Enough From Children?

November 5, 2014


Sometimes our children show us up as ignorant. In the video above, one simple question is asked: If you could change one thing about your body, what would it be?

Watch the difference between the way children interpret the question to the way the adults do.

It’s society that encourages us to be critical of our own bodies – it is not a natural construction.


Click on the link to read Kids as Young as 7 Diagnosed with Anorexia

Click on the link to read The Destructive Impact of the “Fashion Police” Brigade

Click on the link to read The Plus Sized Barbie Debate Misses the Point

Click on the link to read Study Claims that Being Attractive can give you Better Grades

Click on the link to read The Unique Challenges that Body Image Represents for Females

Shaming Students is Never the Answer

October 7, 2014



If you really cared about the welfare of your students you would never shame them, even in order to make a point. If I became aware that a student’s profile picture was inappropriate I would deal with it thoughtfully and discreetly.

Not like this:


A 15-year-old says she was humiliated by a teacher who showed an enlarged picture of her in a bikini to more than 100 other students during a school assembly.

Children at Eggbuckland Community College in Plymouth, Devon, were shown the photograph taken from her Facebook profile to illustrate the pitfalls of posting private images online.

Unknown to the schoolgirl, who has not been named, staff had taken her swimwear photo off the internet.

It was blown up and added to a portfolio of other pictures then shown during a packed school assembly.

The shock tactic at the 1327-pupil specialist arts school left the girl distraught.

Her mother, who has now made an official complaint to Ofsted, said: ‘They took the photo from her Facebook profile – she put it on there last year.

‘They used other photos of kids from the neck up but for some reason they thought it was OK to use a picture of my daughter in her bikini.

‘Why did they have to use an image like that to make their point. Then they pointed her out in the assembly. She was really upset.

The teachers should have shown the students this instead.

Kids as Young as 7 Diagnosed with Anorexia

May 27, 2014




I think all teachers should be trained to see the signs and implored to report any student behaviour which may lead to anorexia:


AUSTRALIA’S obsession with obesity is feeding deadly eating disorders which are claiming victims as young as 7, including an increasing number of boys.

Experts told a national eating disorders conference on the Gold Coast yesterday of a “toxic culture” of body image which is causing huge physical, psychological and financial harm.

Obsessive dieting was costing lives and almost $70 billion a year in health and productivity expenses, the Eating Disorders and Obesity Conference staged by the Australian and NZ Mental Health Association heard.

Christine Morgan, CEO of l eating disorders charity The Butterfly Foundation, said Australian children as young as seven were being hospitalised for anorexia nervosa and bulimia.



Click on the link to read The Destructive Impact of the “Fashion Police” Brigade

Click on the link to read The Plus Sized Barbie Debate Misses the Point

Click on the link to read Study Claims that Being Attractive can give you Better Grades

Click on the link to read The Unique Challenges that Body Image Represents for Females

Click on the link to read An 8-Year-Old’s Take on Body Image

The Destructive Impact of the “Fashion Police” Brigade

March 9, 2014

Now more than ever, our children feel the strain of living up to the judgmental and often unrealistic expectations of the “fashion police” crowd. Every classroom and every school seems to have them. Magazines thrive on it. Office water cooler discussions is dominated by it.

And like society’s skewed and misguided view of success, the definition for a “body beautiful”shuts so many out of contention from birth. Is this right? Is this fair?

It isn’t. But at the same time, by giving oxygen to shows such as Fashion Police, we are giving permission for the message to harm our children. We can’t make life better for our kids if they feel we are buying into the very lie we wish to protect them from. They wont feel better about themselves if we continue to buy the magazines and watch the disgusting elitist rubbish.

Take this appalling example of how low these shows can go. Imagine poking fun at a woman pregnant with twins?

Click on the link to read The Plus Sized Barbie Debate Misses the Point

Click on the link to read Study Claims that Being Attractive can give you Better Grades

Click on the link to read The Unique Challenges that Body Image Represents for Females

Click on the link to read An 8-Year-Old’s Take on Body Image

Click on the link to read A Father’s Advice to His Daughter About Beauty

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