First, we had Yolanda Hadid, the poster child of Almond Moms instructing her supermodel daughter Gigi to eat a couple of almonds and chew them up slowly after Gigi called her saying she felt like she was going to pass out during a runway show.
A TikTok creator made a viral compilation video of Yolanda’s, a Real Housewives alum, Almond Mom vignettes, teaching Gigi how to restrict her intake, even monitoring Gigi eating one bite of her own birthday cake.
Then, everyone started making videos about their diet culture Almond Moms and it became a viral trend sharing “All the toxic mantras” almond Moms live by:
- Once past the lips, forever on the hips
- Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels
- Are you sure you want to eat that?
- You’re not hungry, you’re bored
- New year, new (and skinnier) me
- You and me are going on a diet together
Since I’m a TikTok doc who lives on the clock app, I hopped on the trend and made what turned out to be a viral video that caught the attention of news outlets. I was interviewed on NBC News, Fox News, by Newsweek, Today.com, and Buzzfeed news.
So, what’s an Almond Mom? For the record, there are Almond Dads and Almond Doctors too.
An Almond Mom is a Mom who is stuck in diet culture, is fatphobic, who has anti-fat bias and projects that fear onto their child or teen. She frames it up as pursuing health but is really pursuing thin privilege and the social capital of thinness. She often gets in her child’s lane while they are eating and promotes restrictive eating habits because she values thinness above all else. An Almond Mom believes their child’s weight is a reflection on her as a parent.
I’m also a coach for teens struggling with their weight and body image. I was excited to help their parents Cut the Cringe and deconstruct toxic 80’s diet culture, so was surprised when I started working with parents and they said things like:
“My daughter is a healthy weight and has no health problems. She’s body confident, is active and has friends. I can’t stop judging her body and what she eats and feel like she would be better off at a size 0.”
“My daughter is losing weight but she has stretch marks and she hates them. She has meltdowns about them every night. Should she try intermittent fasting to get the weight off more quickly?”
Both are really good and loving Moms, but are Almond Moms. They were not interested in deconstructing diet culture. At least not at that point. I have a lot of hope for them.
Now, we have Gwyneth Paltrow, who has been accused of glorifying and profiting off her disordered eating practices (it’s her brand and her personality) going viral for a recent podcast interview which many of us believe is perpetuating harm:
The Goop founder said when asked what her wellness routine looks like now, “I eat dinner early in the evening. I do a nice intermittent fast. I usually eat something about 12. Then in the morning I’ll have something that won’t spike my blood sugar, so I have coffee. But, I really like soup for lunch. Um, I have bone broth a lot for lunch a lot of the days. Try to do one hour of movement. I’ll take a walk, do pilates or Tracy Anderson. Then I get in the sauna. I dry brush and then do my infrared sauna for 30 minutes. Then for dinner I eat according to paleo. So, lots of vegetables. It’s really important for me to support my detox.”
Having an Almond Mom is toxic because it contributes to disordered eating in the child or teen and a negative body image. Also, children and teens who are judged and shamed for their body size or their eating, are not able to develop a healthy relationship with food and their body.
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Another harm is that the child or teen believes they will only feel accepted and loved by their parent if their body is a certain size. The child or teen doesn’t have the opportunity to create healthy habits.
“She was a great mother, but made me hyper-aware of my body and societal beauty standards at a very early age. I guess having grown up seeing food as “bad” and something that “makes you fat”, I grew a toxic relationship that I could never really shake. I still struggle with eating and body image to this day and think that I always will.” – Bailey S. on TikTok
Almond Celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow perpetuate the harmful thought I’m not doing enough in teens who are trying to make healthy choices. More restriction equals more thin privilege and it often becomes an obsession. If you watched the Oscars and heard all of Jimmy Kimmel’s Ozempic celebrity party jokes, you know these harmful trends aren’t going anywhere.
We have to give us Moms a break because we are all stuck in our toxic diet culture to some extent. The reality is a lot of this is rooted in generational trauma that keeps getting passed down.
Though the term, Almond Mom is new on TikTok, Moms who are obsessed with thinness for themselves and their daughters are not. It may seem surprising that the diet trauma that Moms experienced and their Moms before them continues to be passed down. It’s not. It’s internalized fatphobia based on beliefs that you are better, happier, more successful if you attain society’s beauty standard. We are not used to challenging beliefs. It takes intentional work and time to deconstruct toxic diet culture beliefs.
“We have to give us Moms a break because we are all stuck in our toxic diet culture to some extent.”
How can you break the Almond Mom cycle?
First, recognize you are not stuck being an Almond Mom. You get to decide how you want to show up to help your child and teen create healthy eating habits and self-confidence. You don’t cause or control your child’s weight. Body diversity is a fact and should be celebrated. First, stay out of your child or teen’s lane when they are eating. Don’t judge or shame them when they are eating. You may have good intentions, but it causes harm when you ask, “Are you sure you’re still hungry? Do you really want seconds?” Do not focus on weight. Don’t make comments about their body or what they’re wearing. Create a definition of health and leave weight out of it.
I also recommend not following Gwyneth and social media influencers who perpetuate toxic diet culture harms.