In this episode of the Real Happy Mom Podcast, I am talking to Sybil from Mamas and Coffee about body shaming. This is not the body-shaming you’re used to. She actually shares about skinny body shaming.
This is a topic that I wanted to talk to Sybil about because of 2 reasons.
First, you don’t hear much about this topic. Usually, you hear about the other side of the spectrum with body shamming of plus size and obese women.
Secondly, this is such a sensitive topic that I wanted other moms that have daughters struggling with this to hear what Sybil has to share.
Sybil is the creator of Moms and Coffee. A lifestyle blog that is just like her. Raw, real and has various topics.
Sybil is a military wife for 16 years, a mother to 3 girls and has one fur baby. Sybil is from Tennessee and as a result of being in the military, she is now living in Virginia.
The comments that skinny girls hear
Sybil is very honest and lets me know that there were many comments that she would hear that would bother her growing up.
The most common comment was “do you ever eat.”
I’m thinking, yeah, I eat. I can eat you out of a house and home. Okay. You see that I’m living, breathing, human being. So I’m, I’m eating something, right?
Some of the names that she has been called and comments she’s heard include:
- “Olive Oyl”
- “You’re going to get blown away with the wind”
- “Go eat a burger”
When Sybil began to share these comments that she has heard over the years, I was immediately taken back to middle and high school days.
I remember hearing some of the kids saying these things to other girls, but didn’t think much of it. Only because society made me think that being thin is ideal. And the skinny girls were what people desired.
The problem is these comments hurt and make girls feel like something is wrong with them or they are not good enough.
What you will find after listening to Sybil is not all skinny girls are okay with their body. After hearing comments like the ones mentioned time and time again, it hurts.
People don’t think comments being made to a skinny person then because society paints skinny as a glamorous lifestyle. But you know, for me I think it was, I was more on the too skinny side. And it really affected me mentally and emotionally. I hid it, but it affected me.
Sybil at her lowest point
After hearing these comments Sybil shares how she struggled with her body.
Because she was told numerous times that she needed to eat, she started to believe that she needed to eat more to gain weight.
Sybil was always told by her mother and grandmother that she was beautiful and not to worry about what other people had to say to her.
This is easier said than done. Sybil struggled with the comments and it became overwhelming,
As a young girl that started to have an interest in boys, it was hard to hear that you are pretty but you are too skinny from the cute boys. Then girls at school would echo the same thing by saying you need to eat.
That was the word you need to eat. You need to eat. And I was eating, but in my mind I wasn’t eating enough. So I did begin to eat and I wouldn’t stop myself. And you know, when you’re stuffing yourself it may eventually come back up. So I would eat and eat and then I would throw up. And I would eat and eat and I would throw up. And I did this and my mom didn’t know I was doing it.
Fortunately, this didn’t last long. But it happened again as an adult. You would think that Sybil wouldn’t get as many of the skinny comments as an adult, but I was wrong.
I still had adults saying things to me about being skinny. How I needed to gain weight. And I would do it when my husband was deployed. Eat and puke. Eat, eat, eat and puke. And I said, you know, Sybil, this isn’t good. You cannot do this. You have to learn to love yourself.
How Sybil pick herself up from that lowest point
Sybil only had this episode of forcing herself to eat more and vomiting for a short period of time. Sybil had a wake-up call and realized that she needed to love herself.
But I had to not allow other people’s words and their insecurities to come into my world. And it took a lot of conversations with myself.
How many times have you had someone say hurtful things to you that made you not like who you are not good enough?
The best way to combat this is to be confident in who you are and not allow people’s words to come into your mind and heart.
Developing your confidence and self-esteem takes time.
Sybil shared that she does this by talking to herself. She builds herself up and encourages herself so that the negative comments don’t weigh her down.
Your child will definitely need you to help with building their self-esteem. But you have to start with yourself.
Keep the door open
One thing that stood out to me as a parent was when Sybil said that she didn’t go to her mom about all of the comments that were being made. She felt like she was bothering her mom by telling her every day the pain that she was feeling.
This is something that scares me as a mom that my child may be struggling with something that I could help with but doesn’t talk to me about it.
How can you keep that open door with your child so that they feel like they can talk to you?
- Pay attention to your child when they are trying to start a conversation with you.
- Ask non-judgemental questions and avoid starting questions with why.
- Don’t be quick to give advice or solutions.
- Make it a practice to spend time with each child.
The last thing that we want our child to feel is isolation. Like they are going through a hard time on their own.
How Sybil encourages her daughters to overcome skinny body shaming
Sybil has endured the hurt and pain that comes with skinny body shaming. Now she has 3 teenage daughters that skinny and hearing the same comments that she heard as a child.
So how does Sybil encourage her daughters?
I tell my kids those six words every morning as they walk out this door. I have in my office on the back wall of my office that is on my wall. Know you, be you, love you. No matter what anyone says to you or they try to do to you when you know yourself, when you are being yourself and you love yourself, there’s nothing they can do. Hold your head up high and love you love.
Sybil has made these 6 words a part of her life and business. As a result, she has a trademark those 6 words.
Sybil’s message to young girls
Don’t look for no little boy to validate you. Know your worth. Love Yourself.
It is difficult for teenage girls to deal with negative comments about their bodies. Especially when they are hearing from boys.
It is so easy to allow the words of others to tear down your self-esteem and how you value yourself.
But listen to Sybil. Know your worth and love yourself.
Don’t make the mistake that I made of being a grown woman, realizing that you are beautiful now.
Sybils message to moms about skinny body shaming
As a skinny woman raising skinny girls, I wanted Sybil to share one thing that she wanted moms to know about body shaming.
Moms, stop, pause, think about it. The same energy that you should put teaching your kids about body shaming when it comes to big girls and guys, I want you to put that same energy in the teaching about skinny shaming. It hurts and it affects many people the same way. Emotionally. Self esteem.
Body shaming doesn’t just affect big guys and girls as Sybil shared. It affects everyone.
Big girls, skinny girls, short girls, tall girls, everyone.
Any time that you criticize someone’s appearance whether in front of them, behind their back, or comparing yourself is all considered body shamming.
When you really think about it, everyone has body shamed someone before. The problem is the negative effects that it have on both you and the other person.
If you are constantly comparing yourself to others, it can negatively affect your self-esteem. For the one being body shammed, the comments hurt emotional and can have lasting effects.
Sybil shared how she wrote a blog post about skinny body shaming and had a grandmother reach out to her.
She messaged me and didn’t know the lady and she thanked me for the article and she had her granddaughter read it because her granddaughter has started cutting. You guys don’t know what I mean? With cutting, cutting her wrist because of the daily torment of being called names and poked fun of for being skinny.
Understand that body-shaming is hurtful and help teach your kids this as well.
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