Comedian Tina Fey, whose TV career skyrocketed after she lost 30 pounds, tries to promote a positive body image in her two daughters by focusing on health rather than body size.
"I try not to speak badly about my own body or food things in front of them," Fey told the April 2013 issue of Ladies Home Journal. "And I never talk to them about their bodies in terms of anything but being healthy."
Tina has two daughters: Alice, seven, and Penelope, one. While Fey, 42, tries to shield them from negative body talk, she realizes outside influences can always seep in.
"Last winter Alice wanted to eat more and more holiday candy," Fey recalls. "I said, 'Pace yourself, I don't want you to throw up.' I said that because I was a big barfer as a kid.
"But our babysitter misheard me and said, 'That's right, you don't want to blow up. You don't want to get big and fat!' That's when you realize no matter how much you try to guide your children, they will always encounter other people's weird messages."
Interestingly, Tina said fashion magazines that idealize size-zero models aren't to blame for eating disorders. "People will say, 'Oh, fashion magazines are so bad. They're giving girls a negative message,' but we're also the fattest country in the world, so it's not like we're all looking at fashion magazines and not eating," Fey said in 2010.
Tina's TV career took off after she lost 30 pounds in 1998. And while she tries to stay thin because she's an entertainer, she doesn't let dieting become an obsession.
"I don't weigh myself," said Fey. "I just go by if my clothes fit. I try not to participate too much in the incredible amount of wasted energy that women have around dealing with food."
Tina, who's a role model for many women, doesn't idealize anyone because she realizes how flawed we all are. "I've been disappointed by role models, but I also have never counted on somebody to be a role model because, politically, I could see people were fallible," she says.
"They could be noble, and they could also be tragically sad and depressed. It's both liberating and sort of destabilizing because authority begins to not mean very much to you."