Growing up I don’t remember really ever seeing my mom weigh her self. I don’t remember her complaining about her weight really. Though do remember her complaining about body pains.
I remember at one point my parents started eating less and exercising. (They are both very overweight) None of these particular things though made me feel bad about who I was. Nor, were any of these why I feel I ended up with a bad body image.
In the picture to the left you see my daughter on the scale. I consider ourselves a pretty open family. We talk about pretty much anything. While my kids don’t know EVERYTHING. I am open with them.
We do discuss weight.
My 2 yr old loves to weigh herself. Now before you jump on me, we don’t focus on numbers in this house. It’s all about health. Those numbers here are no different to them than a measuring tape OR being measured in height.
For my 2 yr old you hear squeals of “Mommy, I’m growing!” Why yes you are M… I say to her! You are getting big and strong. She usually will do her strong arms then too…. There will be many who will probably disagree that my daughter has seen a scale and that’s okay.
What people don’t see is what we do. We teach our children about eating healthy. We teach them about being fit. We focus on them loving themselves as who they are. While we are currently not fit our children know we have been working toward being healthy for a while now.
I have four children each and every one of them are built differently. One of my daughters is very tiny. She once said “I can eat what I want because I’m skinny”. I had a sit down talk with her. I explained that just because she maybe small that she still can’t see her insides.
Those foods that she loves (candy) can hurt the insides especially if we eat way too much of them. I explained to her that being skinny didn’t mean healthy. That even though someone is bigger than she is doesn’t make them any less healthy than someone who is smaller.
It also doesn’t mean she can eat what ever foods she wants. We talk a lot about moderation in our house. Then we went on to what certain foods do. It’s about education and self-worth.
I was NEVER taught self-worth. I tell my girls all the time how beautiful they are. We tell my son how handsome he is but more so we build their other strengths. Their lives cannot be defined by their looks.
While, I think it’s important to care for yourself physically, I want my children to really grow mentally. Beauty doesn’t last forever…. So instead of hiding my weight, my scale and my journey. I inform them.
My children know to an extent that we are working toward me being a healthier person. They know that I have had some health issues. While, they don’t fully understand them, they know of them.
I think it’s important to have my children educated and informed. I also think it’s important to lift them up. When I noticed this summer my son has gained weight (he has been at this dads and they don’t eat so well there) I didn’t harp my son.
I took note and we started tweaking things at the house. I also know once school starts it will go back down. We have plans to put him in an activity soon too to help him.. He really wants to have muscles when he gets older so we have told him that he needs to eat good and exercise.
We talk about all sorts of things. Growing up my parents made comments all the time about my weight, my “thunder thighs” these are things that start to mold a bad body image. Not just a scale.
When you use things for what they are then they become just that…. What they are. When we put more value into them that’s when things go grey. I understood weight by the time I was 10 yrs old.
I was obsessed with my weight for many years. What would have helped me was having someone teach me how to do it safely and in a healthy way. Hiding it away, not taking about it, pretending like my kids don’t see my weight or struggles will not help them.
Learning how to over come them, and teaching them how if they too ever struggle I will be here for them to help them. It’s all about communication. Talk to your kids…. Educate them. Play with them. Explain why we do the things we do. And focus on HEALTH not the numbers.
I know I say not the numbers because I have scale so it seems kind of hypocritical. But I want my kids to know that it’s just a guide. Like the measuring tape. Like the way your clothes fit. They are all guides. But as I tell my girls we are all shaped different, things will look differently on each one of them.
Neither are more beautiful for it. They are beautiful for the people they are not just for the way they look. I don’t hide that nor should they.