First off, my mom rocks. I think I've established this in several posts, but in case you are new to the blog or don't know my mom, she rocks.
With that said, most of my childhood memories of my mom have to do with her hating her body. She bounced from one fad diet to the next. Took diet pills, and hated shopping because she hated her body. She never went to the pool or beach with us because it meant putting on a swimsuit.
I honestly didn't think her weight struggles had an effect on me either way. I was always pretty happy with my weight. I have come to realize that the reason it didn't affect me is because my weight stayed pretty stable for most of my life. I might have moved from a 6 to and 8. After kids I was a 10 for a while, but eventually landed on an 8, which I was totally fine with.
Then, at Christmas, we took a family photo and I looked at it and thought "who is that fat girl?" Not just a little overweight, but fat. I didn't recognize myself. It had been coming for a year. I had been stuck in bed for months and then put on medicines that, instead of helping, made me crazy and gain 15 pounds in two weeks. All of the sudden, I wasn't 10 pounds away from where I wanted to be, I was 40.
In case you are wondering, I hate it. I hate how I look. I hate how I feel. I hate to look at myself. I go to try on clothes, and I hate everything. Not because of the clothes or how they fit, but because the body I'm looking at in the mirror cannot possibly be mine. My body is an 8, not a 12. I keep thinking maybe it is one of the funhouse mirrors.
My instinct is to complain continuously, pummel my self esteem, and just stay in bed until the weight magically goes away. (fyi, I have not found this to be an effective weight loss strategy).
But then, I look at my daughter. Tall, skinny, perfect daughter. And I realize, someday her body will go through awkward changes. She will be tempted to hate her body, even if she is still tall and skinny. If she has heard her mom talk continuously about how much I hate my body, how can I expect her not to hate hers.
This is not to say that we shouldn't eat healthy and exercise. We should, and as a parent it is my job to lead that charge. But it is also my job to make my kids feel great about themselves. There are times in our lives where even if we eat right and exercise, our body doesn't respond like we would like it to. If they get sick, or something happens and they aren't the perfect size, they should still feel great about who they are. And if I can't feel great about who I am no matter my size, how do I teach them that they should love who they are, no matter what.
And it isn't just about them. What about their friends that are bigger then they are? My kids need to know those kids are just as amazing, fun, and delightful they are.
The most wonderful thing to me is that right now, at ages 7 and 4, my kids don't care about size. They think their mommy and daddy are awesome and beautiful (or handsome in daddy's case), even when we feel frumpy and old. I don't want to be the reason that ideal changes. They should love themselves, and others, no matter what the size or shape.
If I am constantly complaining about my weight and that changes my kids' perspecive, shame on me. I can work out, eat sensibly, and even if I have to buy a size bigger, it will be okay.
I want to be the person my kids think I am, and they think I'm beautiful. I need to think that too, because kids see through our lies, especially when we are lying to ourselves.
I saw a sign in a doctor's office that said "Be your own kind of beautiful." I'm signing up. How about you?