As a Bravo fan, I knew that the term ‘Almond Mom’ was coined because of Yolanda Hadid, a former model and former Real Housewife of Beverly Hills. On one episode her daughter Gigi Hadid, a then-fledgling model called her mother complaining I’m so hungry. Yolanda urged her to eat two almonds and chew them really well. Guess it worked because Gigi is now one of the top models in the world. In a recent article, Glamour explained that an Almond Mom not only monitors what her daughter eats but that she is a model for her daughter’s diet and developing self-image based on the mother’s own eating habits, her own body image and her self-talk either silently or out loud to whomever is in the house.
To be honest I wasn’t an Almond Mom because both my kids were athletes and never had a weight issue. I cannot say the same about myself. I was a short chubby kid who dreaded ‘weigh and measure day’ and gym class in school. As a young mother I did Weight Watchers, Atkins, some crazy hot dog diet and another of cabbage soup. I went to Gloria Stevens, Womans World and Curves. I complained aloud a lot at home. I’m so fat, I hate myself, Jesus look at these legs, why did I eat that? were words that constantly came out of my mouth. When we’d make homemade pizza on Friday nights I declined more than a bite and made myself a salad instead. I rarely ate rice, bread or pasta. If we went out for ice cream I never.. and I mean NEVER got my own, stealing licks or leftovers from my kids. That didn’t count, right?
‘Mom. Stop! I don’t want Rosie to hear you say stuff like that,’ admonished my daughter.
Britt was here for the weekend and Rosie, my eight year old granddaughter, was having a sleepover with her special Aunty Britt. I hadn’t even been aware that I was muttering one of my usual self-deprecations of God why did eat that second hot dog after we’d had a family barbecue. My switch flipped hearing her words.
Because now, so many years later, I know my daughter was watching. And hearing. And listening. And I am ashamed for ever uttering such words, modeling such behavior and..most important, demonstrating such poor self-image to her at such a young age. Thankfully she is a health-conscious eater but doesn’t deny herself the occasional steak, pizza or visit to our local Dairy Queen when she’s home.
Ahh.. but what about my silent rants? This is harder to tackle because it is an ingrained habit, a ‘brain tick’. Every morning I wake up and think what did I eat last night? Was I ‘good’? This is a difficult ritual to break. I’ve gotten better at not weighing myself daily but if I was ‘good’ the night before I do like to see if I’ve been ‘rewarded’ by the numbers on the scale.
Last week I turned seventy. After lunch of a shared charcuterie board and ceviche, I asked my husband to stop at Dairy Queen. I ordered a pumpkin pie soft serve with whipped cream on top. With NO ALMONDS. At home I sat at the kitchen counter and toasted myself with ice cream and wine. In bed later I started to silently berate myself with you’re so fat, did you have to eat the WHOLE thing? And then I stopped.. No, Liz. You will not speak to yourself in any way that you would not speak to another. Instead I switched to Happy birthday Liz. Wasn’t that delicious? And the next day I got up, forgot to weigh myself and went to barre class.
“Gotta go Britt. I’ll talk to you later. Dad just walked in with the pizza.’ I hung up. And took out two plates.