In today’s world, young women face many challenges when it comes to their relationship with food, body image, and self-worth. Online, especially on Tiktok, the concept of an “Almond Mom” has emerged. As a registered dietitian and expert in eating disorder recovery I want to break down the ‘Almond Mom’ phenomenon and discuss the impact that this has on young people, particularly young women and how we can heal and prevent generational disordered eating.
What is an Almond Mom?
An Almond Mom is a term used to describe a parent, typically a mother, who is hyper-focused on health, nutrition, and thinness. While their intentions may be rooted in genuine concern, their approach can inadvertently lead to negative consequences. Almond Moms may place an excessive emphasis on dietary rules, body ideals, and external validation, which can contribute to the development of disordered eating patterns or exacerbate existing struggles with body image and mental health.
Examples of Almond Moms on the internet show diagrams on cupboards instructing kids to drink water and have fruit if hungry, or Moms pacing around the house to get steps in. According to The Independent, #AlmondMom has almost a billion views on Tiktok.
Not All Fun and Games: The Impact of Having an Almond Mom
Being raised by an Almond Mom can have far-reaching effects on a young person’s wellbeing. Constant exposure to rigid dietary standards and intense scrutiny of one’s appearance can create an environment ripe for the development of anorexia, disordered eating, or other mental health issues. The pressure to conform to an unrealistic ideal may breed feelings of shame, guilt, and inadequacy. It has been found that children raised in fatphobic environments are much more likely to develop eating disorders due to thinness being considered important and related to self-worth.
Research by the Eating Disorders Genetic Initiative found that Anorexia is significantly genetic, up to 40%, and I wonder if this plays a role. I would estimate that the majority of my clients have parents with disordered eating patterns. Could it be a mixture of both genetics and environment that causes this generational disordered eating?
How to Heal from being raised by an Almond Mom
The aim of this article isn’t to put blame on parents. Often these ‘Moms’ are just concerned about health and there are lots of public health messages that they may be following, that are potentially disordered. For those of us raised in this environment, it can be helpful to work on forgiveness and understanding why your parent may behave in this way. Putting words to your parent’s own experience can be helpful, but often not enough on it’s own.
Seek Professional Support: If this has had a long-lasting impact on your relationship with food, reaching out to a registered dietitian or therapist experienced in eating disorder recovery and mental health can be a vital first step. These professionals can provide individualised guidance and support tailored to your specific needs.
Practice Self-Compassion: Healing from the impact of an Almond Mom requires cultivating self-compassion and challenging societal ideals. It can be helpful to send anger outwards, towards society, this is a key part of the Body Liberation movement. Focus on nourishing your body with balanced nutrition, emphasising the importance of overall health and wellbeing rather than pursuing an unattainable aesthetic.
Cultivate a Positive Support Network: Surround yourself with supportive friends, family, or support groups who foster a healthy relationship with food and body image. Engaging in open conversations about mental health, self-care, and body acceptance can provide a sense of community and understanding. The people around us have a huge impact on our own self-esteem, friends who diet and talk negatively about their bodies can worsen how we feel about ourselves. Consider which people in your life are role models in terms of how they look after and talk about themselves.
The impact of having an ‘Almond Mom’ can be significant, affecting not only a young person’s relationship with food but also their mental health and overall wellbeing. By understanding how this can have an impact and taking proactive steps towards healing, it is possible to prevent Generational Disordered Eating and let it not go any further down the line
If you’re struggling with a disordered relationship with food and exercise, know that you don’t have to face it alone. Professional support is crucial for your journey towards recovery.
As a registered dietitian specialising in eating disorder recovery, I provide personalised guidance and support to help individuals like you establish a healthy relationship with food and exercise.
You can book a free call with me below or get in touch with me here.