Are You An Almond Mum? Everything To Know About The Term Going Viral On TikTok

It's all thanks to Yolanda Hadid...

Almond mum

by Alice Hall |
Updated on

Picture the scene: you're 12 and having a sleepover at a friend's house and it's time to raid the cupboards and devour any snacks her mum has left out. You get ready to stuff yourself silly with all the chocolate, sweets and fizzy pop your body can handle, only to discover that none of this is on offer. Instead, there's a measly helping of fruit and nuts, with a note that reads 'a moment on the lips forever on the hips.'

This, my friends, is the work of an almond mum, a phenomenon born from the ashes of noughties diet culture and now passing her food and exercise habits down to a new generation - whether consciously or not. Maybe you were one of the millions who scrolled past the #almondmom hashtag on TikTok, or you came across the resurfaced almond mum clip of Yolanda Hadid (more on that later), and are now wondering: am I an almond mum and if so, how should I rein it in? Or perhaps you were raised in the weight watchers era by a diet-obsessed mum who scolded you for eating ice cream and you're now contemplating how it might have impacted your relationship with food.

So what actually is an almond mum?

Although almond mum might seem like a recent term, it actually goes back as far as 2013. The term first entered the mainstream on an episode of the reality show The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, featuring Yolanda Hadid. In the clip, we see Yolanda on the phone to her then-teenage daughter Gigi, who tells her mum she is 'feeling really weak' because she's only eaten 'half an almond.' in response, Yolanda advises Gigi, who was seventeen at the time, to 'have a couple of almonds and chew them really well.'

In an interview with People, Yolanda defended her comment by saying she was 'half asleep' when Gigi called. 'I don’t even remember why two or what. There was no rhyme or reason to it. It’s such a silly narrative that is out there, that has nothing to do with the reality of our lives,' she said. Yolanda even later posted a TikTok referencing the clip, which showed her eating a big bowl of almonds while doing a variety of activities, including yoga. The caption reads '#worstmomever #almonds.'

After the clip resurfaced on social media in 2022, the term almond mum entered the mainstream and TikTokers started weighing in on everything from serious videos unpicking the effects of growing up with an almond mum to satirical videos poking fun at their mum's eating habits.

Dr. Emma Svanberg, clinical psychologist and author of Parenting For Humans, says that while not a recognised parenting strategy, the almond mum phenomena seems to be prevalent among parents who have a preoccupation with nutrition and body size. '[It's] a parent who - overtly or more subtly - will control their child's food intake and movement to the extent that this preoccupation is passed down to their child' she says. 'For me, being an almond mum is probably the way that both orthorexia, and anorexia nervosa are manifested in parents and potentially passed down to their children.'

Whatever your relationship with the term, it's hard to ignore how the almond mum trend has sparked a wider conversation around the impact of diet culture. The hashtag 'almond moms' currently has 221.1 million views on TikTok, with people using the term to reference topics such as internalised fatphobia, disordered eating and intense workout regimes.

While the body positivity movement has made significant progress over the past ten years, the rise of Ozempic and a resurgence in Y2K fashion has led some people to speculate that super skinny could be making a worrying comeback - which is why conversations around the generational impact of diet culture are more important than ever.

As with many topics around diet and exercise culture, there's lots to unpick here. How do I know if I'm an almond mum? Why does it happen? And, most importantly, how can I stop? We've answered everything you need to know about almond mums below.

How do I know if I'm an almond mum?

From helicopters to lawnmowers, it can feel like a new parenting buzzword crops up every week on social media, which can feel overwhelming for anyone trying to navigate this world. But if you do want to find out if you're an almond mum, here's how to keep check.

Dr. Svanberg explains this is a 'really complicated' question for women, because the boundary between 'encouraging healthy eating' and a 'more pathological obsession' with food and body size is blurry. Research shows that many people have some disordered eating habits or beliefs - one study from South East London put this as prevalent as 10%. However, she says that one clue you might be an almond mum is the levels of fear or anxiety you feel if you were to relax your rules around food preparation or looking after your physical health.

'For example, it is not unusual for parents to consider their child's intake of ultra processed food, something that has been spoken about a lot in the media recently. But if you would feel panicky or out of control if your child ate an ultra processed food or if you might prevent your child from going to a social event or someone's home where ultra processed foods might be present, then that is a sign there might be something less healthy going on,' she says. 'Where anxiety gets in the way of enjoyment of food and our bodies, then that's a sign that there is something else at play.' Dr Svanberg adds that this is not the same as a parent who is preoccupied with their child's food intake due to allergies or health concerns, where this attention is necessary.

What are the effects of having an almond mum?

On TikTok, captions such as 'what my #almondmom orders at a restaurant' and 'POV: you grew up with an almond mom' are popular ways of satirising the trend. But there is a more serious element at play, too. As Dr. Svanberg acknowledges, it is very easy, and normal, for parents to pass on disordered eating and body image to their children, either directly or indirectly.

'As well as leading to issues with food and body image, we know that this can also correlate with low self-worth, anxiety and perfectionism as well as physical health problems related to food restriction or over-exercise,' she says. One 2023 study published in the The Journal of Affective Disorders found that children of overbearing and controlling parents are more likely to develop body dysmorphia than those without this type of parent.

Dr. Svanberg adds that, as almond mums can be controlling in other ways, their child could develop general anxiety. 'At some point a developing child will have to choose whether to continue to go along with their parents' beliefs, or whether to push against them - which could result in developing less restrictive habits, or could result in, e.g. a different form of eating disorder,' she says.

How to stop being an almond mum

If you're an almond mum, your first instinct might be to beat yourself up and spiral into worry about how your habits might be impacting your kids. But actually, Dr. Svanberg says it's important that you treat yourself with compassion. As she acknowledges, preoccupation with food and health is 'very much part of our society' and it can be hard to find clear and non-judgemental evidence. The first step to changing is recognising the potential impact of your habits.

'Just as with all of our habits, we can think about what we want to pass on to our children or what we would prefer for them,' says Dr. Svanberg. 'Do we want them to feel anxious about what they eat - or do we want food to be something that is just a part of their lives? You might need to consider some of your own beliefs about food, in order to think about how to relax some of those food rules.'

Another crucial point to remember is that almond mums likely grew up during a time of toxic diet culture. If society has made us self-critical of our bodies the last people we should be blaming is ourselves.

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