I read an article posted by the site Scary Mommy in which a woman discussed a play date her daughter had. The writer was shocked when her daughter’s friend, an 8-year old, said she needed to watch what she eats and that her grandmother called her fat. I’m pretty sure I would shocked to. That word is going to stick with that child through adulthood, and not in a very positive way. It got me thinking again about how to handle issues of this type with my three daughters as they grow. I know that the best way to ensure body-positive kids who are healthy is to be body-positive and healthy myself. To not talk about things being “bad for you” but rather encourage my kids to choose healthy without pressuring them.
It’s definitely not going to be as easy as it sounds. Here are some truths that I have come to accept –
- I am not at a healthy weight
- I do not make the best food choices
- I am not as active as I should be
As someone who always struggled with weight, I know how the guilt, shame and anger just continuously cycle. I lost and I gained, I lost and I gained. It’s been that way since I graduated high school. The saddest part is knowing that the science of losing weight is actually super super simple. Consume less than you expend.
I was at my fittest (and let me be clear, this was NOT my lowest weight) when I met my husband. I was beginning my fourth year of teaching, was at a position I loved, and I had just had the most active summer of my life. I was on the ice twice a week, played softball in a women’s league, and biked over 75-miles a week. I even owned a pair of size 8 jeans! I was fit and I was healthy. And guess what? I still ate salt &a vinegar chips and ice cream.
I know EXACTLY why I did not stay like this an list them – eating out more, being less physically active, two concussions within a one year span, arm surgery, a three-month span of hormone medication that caused thirty pound weight gain, and oh yeah, eating way more junk. Like a whole sleeve or Oreos as a snack at 9:00pm. Or getting McDonald’s for lunch on a road trip.
Most of those excuses are just that, my excuses. A few I really couldn’t help, but the rest, I am to blame.
I am SO proud of what this body has accomplished. When I got pregnant with my first I was already the largest I had ever been. Despite my doctor’s ‘fat girl = problematic pregnancy’ theory, I had a perfectly healthy pregnancy, a lovely 36-hour labor (but only minutes of pushing!) and a perfectly healthy daughter. Three months later, boom, pregnant with twins. High-risk due to their rare momo situation, but otherwise, a perfectly healthy pregnancy and c-section.
I. Grew. Babies.
Damn right I’m proud of that. Cute ones too.
I may be my biggest and least active self currently, but I know that will change. I know this walking boot and probable physical therapy won’t last forever. I know that when the girls get a bit older I will be able to play softball again. As they learn to ride bikes we can ride as a family. As they learn to not scream the second I leave the room, I can focus on actually making a healthy dinner and not resorting to whatever I can throw on their tray.
Despite being overweight, I am otherwise fairly healthy. And I’m trying my hardest to model confidence. I wear a bathing suit without a coverup and have even been wearing shorts all summer. I may not feel happy with how I look, but I don’t show that to my girls and I don’t complain in front of them (only to my husband, really).
I don’t know what body types are destined for my girls. I just really want them to be healthy – not just healthy in the way a doctor would describe, but for them to have healthy relationships with their own bodies. To not feel like a complete failure when the scale creeps up. To feel disgusted looking in a mirror if they don’t fit someone’s vision of an ‘ideal’ body type.
And I know that I am the key.
My time to focus on becoming healthy and active will come. Right now, I’m focusing on surviving each day home with three little girls.