You are so much more!
Raising daughters to have a positive body image while struggling with my own.
As a mom we spend most of the day telling our kids what to do and what not to do. We often focus on their physical actions and not they're mental thinking.
Being a mom of two girls brings on it's own challenges. I remember what growing up was like and watching your body go through changes. It's the taboo topic of body image. We all observe outside appearances of those around us. Careful not to make any comments out loud. Then we begin to look at our own appearance and wonder, "how do I look"?
I can't remember what it was like to not think about my weight. At 11, I began running with my mom. I watched her work to maintain her size by running. She would often say, "I run so I can eat what I want". That was it, the secret. Exercise allows you to eat, and less exercise means less food. (Fact, fitness is made in the kitchen not the gym)
Over the years I spent a lot of time trying to loose weight, or not gain weight. Over exercising, drink shakes to suppress appetite, pills to speed up my metabolism, protein bars for a meal and just flat out not eating. Not until my early 20's did a doctor finally ask me, "how does it feel to know you're slowly killing yourself?" My first thought, "Wow, I had that much control, so why wasn't I thinner?
Some point I came to the conclusion that all I had to offer was how I looked on the outside. I never went to college, so I never felt smart enough. I didn't have a career, I didn't have a talent, all I could do was smile and look pulled together. When someone said I looked thin, I smiled on the inside. When someone asked my size I never wanted it to be above 0 or 2. Unfortunately, even to this day a number on the scale can control me. I look up my medical records to make sure it never goes above 118. When I feel stressed, I pinch the skin on my sides to see how I've failed myself. When I disappoint my husband, or a loved ones, I'll choose to skip a couple meals. Thinking I don't deserve to feel good, how can I punish myself. When I don't have time to workout for a couple days, I wonder how much weight I've gained.
Crazy to know I carried two babies, making sure not to gain more than 20 pounds. What would happen after the delivery? I was never eating for two. I weighed 140 with my first baby and 138 with the second. Again, all I had to show for myself was how I looked on the outside, but I hoped becoming a mother would change my thinking.
Fast forward to recent years. My girls are 9 and 11, it takes so much to hold my tongue. To not want to criticize their weight, growing belly and food habits. When they ask for second servings, I think, "you had enough". When they want ice cream on Friday nights, I stare at the amount in their bowl. When they ask for a snack, I wonder why are they hungry. I find myself placing my insecurities on them! My battle is not their battle!
Please don't ask how old my daughter is, then comment on her size. Please don't tell me what size your your child is. No one should discuss the size of our children and make us feel insecure.
I pray they don't hear those comments. I pray they know how special they are. I pray they never let a number on a scale decide their worth. I pray they learn not to compare. Most importantly I pray they don't take after me. I hope I can teach them healthy ways. I want them to feel good in their body, love the skin they're in, and block out the negative. They were perfectly made.
Follow the old saying, "Do as I say, not as I do"
I've come a long way, but at 45 my relationship with food, and weight, is still a part of my life. I don't believe it ever fully goes away. I now know what my body needs, signs to look for, and how to switch my thinking when I'm having a bad day. I am forever a work in progress and for my girls I will continue to do the work!