Throwing out the F-Word: Fat

Now that Christmas and New Years is behind me, I walked into my bathroom with the clear intention to step on the scale. I pulled that devil scale out its lair with dread, and tentatively stared at it for a bit telling myself that it really didn’t matter what number I saw, it was time to get back to work.

I stepped on it, and looked away. Well this is stupid, I have to see the number. And there it was, a number I hadn’t seen in years since I’ve reached my goal weight…160 pounds. I felt a little panicky, how did I manage to gain 10 pounds in just one Christmas season?

I walked downstairs to make a coffee, inwardly fighting the positive with the negative. I have a goal now, no big deal…but, I can’t fit my jeans! I need to get to work NOW. My daughter’s little voice interrupted my inward banter. She sat at the counter colouring a picture of a Disney princess and without missing a beat of colouring she asked. “What’s wrong Mom?” I replied flippantly  “I can’t fit my jeans, I ate too much chocolate over Christmas!”

Now, I’m going to share the next part of the story with hesitation, because I feel a lot of guilt over it. It’s that crippling Mom guilt and it’s replayed over and over in my mind ever since.

My sweet little girl looked up at me and with sadness in her eyes she said “When I was in Kindergarten, A girl told me I was fat. Do you exercise so you won’t get fat?”  I just stood there stunned. I didn’t realize that my own thoughts about my body image would be transferred to my daughter in that moment and that she equated exercising with the need to not be “fat”.

And that began our conversation about foods that give you energy and vitamins, staying active to be healthy and to have energy, and that she is most definitely perfect just as she is.  I told her that I too was told I was “fat” in school, and she giggled at me and said “but you’re not fat, you are thin!” Those words broke my heart, because if I can’t accept my body, how am I going to expect my daughter to accept hers?! We are going to throw out the word “fat” within our household, it’s officially the F-Word.

I share this story with you today, because I know that like me, there are many Moms out there who struggle with raising their children to have a healthy self-esteem.  I believe it’s THE hardest part of the Mom gig…both in raising sons and daughters. With healthy self-esteem, comes self-respect and healthy decisions. A strong self-esteem will aid in preventing my kids from making decisions where they put themselves at risk…because they will value themselves far too much to be dragged down. In some ways I’m thankful I didn’t have a lot of self-esteem growing up, because it’s now a huge priority in how I raise my children. I believe I understand those issues a little better given my past. But there is no way, I will accept that for my own children.

I need to find a healthy balance, because I also want to raise my children to take care of their bodies. To be active (which in their world means playing and running outside),  and to eat healthy foods. To equate all of that with taking care of their bodies, rather than relating it to aesthetics.

So these are my thoughts today, and I don’t have all the answers, but I am analyzing what I’ve done wrong, and the things I’ve done right. I am holding myself accountable, because like it or not, my kids are watching me. They are learning from me.

Active fun is on the menu for Winter. 🙂

To all you Moms out there: If we want to raise healthy, balanced children with self-respect…we better work on that within ourselves.  If you are reading this post riddled with Mom guilt, and you have insights on this topic (or if you share in my struggle), I would love to hear from you! Drop me a comment.

From my heart to yours,

Christine

12 thoughts on “Throwing out the F-Word: Fat

  1. My mom struggled with her weight when I was a little girl and later, when I was a teen. But she didn’t ever share it with me until I was an adult & in my own struggle. It was something she struggled with all on her own. I worry that because we live in a society where ‘sharing’ has become so commonplace (Facebook, blogs & over a cuppa’ joe), that we are unintentioanlly ‘sharing’ too much with our children as well. My mom never used either of the ‘F words’ in our home. I guess she (wisely) decided that both of those words were too heavy for her daughters. We need to remember that we shouldn’t put the weight of dealing with the issues of money troubles, relationships and weight onto our children. These are all ‘F words’ in their own right if they are introduced too soon unto little eyes. Maybe even worse that the original F word that we all learn on the playground.
    We can’t let ‘F words’ be the things that shape our children or they will have no chance. What should be shaping them is the Disney Coloring book that they are pouring themselves into.

    We should all make a list of ‘F Words’ and remind ourselves not to use them around little unsuspecting ears until we decide they are ready.

    I’ll add ‘Fat’ to mine which also includes ‘F#*k’, ‘Finance’ and ‘Frenemies’ (meaning: I am aware of the way I am speaking about MY friends in front of my children).

    My Mom & I can use all the ‘F words’ now as adults. Although it still feels wrong using one of them around her 😉

    1. H.: Thank you for sharing your thoughts. You have an amazing Mom, she’s a great role model for you now that you are a mother yourself (and a great Mom might I add). You’ve given me lots to think about, and I really appreciate it! Christine

  2. So true. We tell our children one thing, but we demonstrate another. My stepdaughter and I have agreed to ban phrases like “I was bad today” when referring to having too many calories. We don’t talk about dieting, but we look at ways to have beautiful, tasty meals that nourish us. It’s a process, and we don’t always do it “right,” but we’re doing our best to watch those judging words and behaviors.

    1. Thank you Nadine for your comment. I guess all we can ever do in life is “our best”. I appreciate those words you shared! Take care and drop by again. 🙂

  3. Thanks Chrissy! I love the outdoor fun family pictures <3. I am enjoying the replies as well as your post because I struggle with how to help my girls. I have so much work to do within myself that these converstations are difficult with my girls. We do make healthy choices as family and are active together. My oldest is a beautiful dancer but right need eats like a bird and as a teenager I don't have control over what she eats during the day at school or out with her friends. I just hope that I am a little voice in the back of her head when she is making those decisions. My youngest is going through a stage where she doesn't think she is pretty unless she is wearing a dress and there are lots of tears (from both of us!) in the morning if she has to wear something else. I feel like a hypocrite when I explain to her that it doesn't matter what she is wearing. What makes her beautiful is her smile, her good manners, how she treats people and if she believes she is beautiful!

    1. Thank you for your comment Tammy, you have shared something with me that really resonates when you said you “feel like a hypocrite”. I feel the same way! Why don’t we just listen to our own words of wisdom that we share with our children. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we actually saw ourselves through the eyes of a Mom (with the same love and acceptance). One thing I know for certain is that you are an incredible Mom, and an amazing woman and you inspire me my friend. Keep up the good work, you are shaping your little people into amazing women. xoxo

  4. Oh, this is a tough one. Fat has always been the F-word in our house. In fact I once, not so long ago called an orange fat and got reprimanded from my kids.
    I, like many other moms I’m sure, struggle with the best way to raise my kids with lots of self confidence and no ‘food issues’ that I myself had. Thank you for your honesty once again. 🙂

    1. It is a tough one isn’t it Elena?! Thank you for your comment, it helps to know that I’m not the only one that struggles with this. Love ya, miss ya. xoxo

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