Dr. Robin Smith has been counseling teenage girls for over 17 years. She says that feelings of low self-worth are empty spaces that need to be filled not with food, but with "something rich and affirming that reminds you of your beauty." Self-affirmation is helpful, she says, but it only goes skin deep. "You've got to get something that goes to the core of the "cancer."" Dr. Smith tells the girls that their sense of value has to come from the inside out.
And what about well-meaning mothers who try to help their daughters by pointing out extra pounds and other physical imperfections that they believe need to be fixed? "Hear this message," Dr. Smith says, "There's enough in [your daughter's] world that's already chipping away at her sense of being enough. … We say we do it because we care. But you know what? I say, 'Don't love her so much that way.' Let's find another way so that she really leaves your encounters feeling strong and good and proud about who she is."