Self

How To Know If You're An 'Almond Mom' (Or If You Grew Up With One)

Photo: Kathy Hutchins, Tim UR & Tinseltown / Shutterstock
gigi hadid yolanda hadid

Did you grow up with a mom who was just a little bit more than obsessed with how your body looked, what size jeans you wore, or how much and what kind of food you ate?

If so, you may have grown up with an "almond mom."

"Almond mom" is a new term, but the concept is, unfortunately, not so new. The term is blowing up on TikTok after a clip of Yolanda Hadid, Gigi Hadid's mother, re-surfaced, where she told her daughter, who felt weak after eating only half an almond that day, to have a few almonds and chew them well.

RELATED: 7 Strict Rules Yolanda Hadid Made Bella And Gigi Hadid Follow

Though the clip is old, it's sparked a huge conversation about how moms might be introducing and exposing their children to toxic diet culture that is extremely harmful to their development and health.

What is an almond mom?

An almond mom is a person (most often a mother) who is overly obsessed with dieting, and encourages or even forces their children to abide by the same toxic diet culture.

According to dietician Katherine Metzelaar, "The only thing that really matters to almond moms is getting and staying thin, so much so it inevitably overshadows accomplishments, accolades, basically everything in their lives." 

   

   

These moms are highly focused on staying thin themselves, and making sure their children do the same. They may go to extremes, such as calorie restrictions, guilt-tripping, and even body shaming their kids.

Almond moms are able to sustain themselves on just single-digit quantities of almonds, green juice, 100-calorie snack packs, and nonfat yogurt. They also tend to hop on fad diets to help them stay skinny.

These harmful dieting fads ultimately and unfortunately impact the young people around them.

These almond-a-day moms also struggle deeply with why their daughters may not have the same mindset. They try hard to push their kids to abide by this toxic diet culture, which can cause horrible habits and can even develop into eating disorders.

The term was created in response to an old scene from "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills."

Yolanda Hadid calls her daughter Gigi, who says she is feeling weak. Hadid encourages her daughter to eat a few more almonds after Gigi says she has only had half an almond that day.

Hence, the term "almond mom" was born.

Yoland even responded to the trend with a TikTok of her own, captioned #worstmomever. The video shows her walking around with a large bowl of almonds.

Despite the new terminology, the concept of "almond moms" has existed for decades.

"The existence of almond moms is not a new phenomenon," Metzelaar states in her TikTok.

"I specialize in eating disorders and disordered eating and almond moms — moms who care deeply about their child's weight and body size and what they're testing and what their kids are eating; [it] is something that I talk about in almost every single session throughout the existence of the entirety of most of my career." 

The issue is long-standing, but now that it has a trendy name attached to it, it's bringing the subject matter into the spotlight.

RELATED: The 10 Ways Diet Culture, Wellness, And Fitspiration Posts Do More Harm Than Good

Now, TikTokers are making videos explaining what it was like growing up with an almond mom of their own.

The videos range from people talking about the trauma and body issues they obtained because of their almond moms, to funny parodies of what an almond mom would do or say in a Hershey's store, to almond moms during Halloween.

Some are even showing their mom's pantries.

   

   

Some girls even highlight triggering toxic mantras by which their almond moms live, including: "A moment on the lips, forever on the hips" and "You're not hungry, you're just bored."

   

   

The videos not only show that the experience Gigi Hadid had with her mother is ridiculous, but that it isn't an isolated occurrence in the lives of models and their families.

In fact, this experience of being exposed and controlled by almond moms is something many people can, unfortunately, relate to.

Almond moms create a very toxic experience for their children and how they view food.

Mothers are supposed to be role models for their children, especially young girls. But when your role model only cares about being and staying skinny, what do you think happens?

This mindset shows girls that they must follow their mother's lead or what they do won't matter. This is the toxic diet culture these moms are instilling in their children. And it is dangerous.

"When moms show their children that what they care about most is their body size and how they look through a variety of ways... it sends a very clear message to the kid that in order to get love, acceptance, affection, and anything else that they need, they need to make sure they do whatever it takes to be in a certain sized body," Metzelaar adds.

Almond moms might do this by commenting directly on their child's appearance, making comments about their own bodies, or engaging in certain behaviors like fad diets or extreme calorie restriction.

Fortunately, there are moms that are the complete opposite of almond moms, instilling healthy relationships with food in their kids, and encouraging them in a positive way.

One TikTok user named Kate described how her mom is the total opposite of an almond mom.

She realized that her mother is the reason she feels ready to take on the world, saying, "Growing up with a parent that is constantly saying positive things to you does shift the way that you see yourself."

"I've kind of always felt bad for people that grew up with parents that were super-critical of them or didn't speak highly of them," she continues, "because, I feel like, as a parent, that's the one person in the world who should think that you're literally perfect and you're amazing, and you're the greatest thing to ever happen."

   

   

It's up to parents to instill healthy mindsets in their children, especially when it comes to food. Parents should offer unconditional support to their children, encourage them in the most positive ways, and boost their confidence.

If you or someone you know is struggling with disordered eating or body image, there is hope for recovery. Please contact NEDA for help; they offer support via phone, text and email, and can help you find a professional in your area for further healing.

RELATED: Why I Gave Up On Diets And Started Listening To My Body

Deauna Nunes is an associate editor for YourTango who covers pop culture, lifestyle, astrology, and relationship topics. She's had bylines in Emerson College's literary magazine, Generic.

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