Almond Mom: Did You Grow Up With Almond Mom?
Warning: This article includes discussion of eating disorders, diet culture, and weight stigma. If you or someone you know is struggling, please contact NEDA.Did you grow up with an almond mom? It’s a question many women and girls asked themselves earlier this week, after clips of Yolanda Hadid—mother of Gigi and Bella Hadid—went viral on social media. In the videos compiled from Hadid’s stint on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Yolanda calls Gigi’s body “big and bulky” and complains she “eats like men.” During an episode on Gigi’s birthday, she tells her then teenage daughter she can only “have one night of being bad” then has to “get back on her diet,” before allowing her a single bite of cake. The most troubling of all, however, is a scene in which Gigi calls her mother complaining that she feels “really weak” after only eating “like half an almond” that day. Yolanda’s response? “Have a couple of almonds, and chew them really well.”Despite Hadid’s viral comments, the almond mom is not a novel concept—and definitely not limited to stage moms. I know because I hail from a generation of women whose daily lives revolve around how little they’ve eaten and how much weight they’ve subsequently lost. Almond moms are obsessed with dieting, but don’t openly acknowledge it, justifying their restricted calories for the sake of being “healthy.”What matters most to an almond mom is getting and staying thin, so much that it inevitably overshadows accomplishments, accolades, and milestones—unless, of course, you look skinny while celebrating. To ensure that stays the case, they tend to sustain themselves on single-digit quantities of almonds—though they occasionally dabble in green juice, 100-calorie snack packs, and nonfat yogurt—and struggle to comprehend why their daughters don’t do the same.TikTok has proved the experience is alarmingly universal: If you search “almond moms” on the app, you’ll find content created around the topic long before the Yolanda clips resurfaced. At the time of writing, the phrase has amassed 600 million views.In the videos, teens and 20-somethings parody their “half-an-almond-a-day moms” who refuse to eat during scenarios like trick-or-treating or at the Hershey store. Others highlight the triggering toxic mantras by which their almond moms live, including “A moment on the lips, forever on the hips” and “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels,” reciting them with cheerful fervor.Hadid seemingly replied to the criticism with a TikTok captioned #worstmomever in which she does various activities like walking, reading, and playing with baby goats—all while toting a large bowl of almonds.TikTok contentThis content can also be viewed on the site it originates from.TikTok contentThis content can also be viewed on the site it originates from.TikTok contentThis content can also be viewed on the site it originates from.Underneath the humor, however, lies something more sinister: the undeniable fact that even in 2022, during a newfound wave of body positivity, the almond mom mentality is alive and well. But even worse is how much these harmful dieting fads impact women, regardless of whether or not their mothers realize it.“Children follow more of what we do than what we say, which is why not addressing dieting and/or limiting caloric intake, but still being obsessive about it while in the presence of your kids, can have even more of an impact on children than parents are aware of,” Kiana Shelton, LCSW and women’s health expert at Mindpath Health, told Glamour. So even if your almond mom doesn’t or didn’t actively address your eating habits, her problematic habits can still have dire consequences.