Sunday, September 15, 2013

What's a Diet?

Recently my 4-year-old daughter and I had a conversation that was quite eye-opening for me.

It began as she looked over my shoulder while I checked Facebook. As I was scrolling down, she asked me to stop & go back up so she could look at a picture of a very overweight cat.

She asked why that picture was on there.

I explained that it was a story about a cat who was rescued and put on a diet.

"What's a diet?"

Crap. I have tried very hard to not let any references to dieting, weight loss, body image, etc. into our home. As much as I have struggled with my weight, I am keenly aware that girls often inherit body image issues from their mothers. And that is something I do not want. So I have consciously avoided the topic, or deflected when it came up.

So now... what to say?

I told her that a diet is what they call it when someone is trying to eat healthier, to put more good, healthy foods into their body. That the cat needed to be healthier, so they put him on a diet.

"People go on diets so they can be big & fat like you?"

Heart. Sinks.

My daughter knows that I am fat. Even though I did not tell her that, and try very hard not to use the word in our home, she came to the revelation herself. It's not a secret. The eye-opening moment here was that she thinks it's a good thing. She thinks people want to be big & fat like Mommy. $@#+!

So I tried gently to explain. No, people don't want to be fat like Mommy, in fact Mommy has too much fat and I'm trying to eat healthier to try to lose some of my fat so I can have a strong and healthy body like Jena.



It's a delicate tightrope, discussing weight with our daughters. We want to inform them, give them a healthy perspective, but we also want them to tolerate differences and love themselves no matter what they look like.

Once, while clothes shopping, Jena asked what size she should be when she grows up, as if she could aspire to be a certain size.

I responded that I didn't know yet, that we won't know until she's older, but that she should be a size that is a good, healthy size for her.

Then we had a little talk about how everyone comes in different shapes and sizes (and skin! and hair!) and that that's okay, it's good even, that we're all different. God made each of us, so it's all beautiful. That everyone should just try to be a size that is good and healthy for their body, and that's going to be different for everyone.

This whole experience just doubles my desire to reach a healthier weight, not just for me, but for her. Because the fact is our daughters are watching us and they want to be like us.

It honestly never occurred to me that my daughter might aspire to be as fat as I am, or that she would think other people would want to be this fat.

Sure, she loves that we both have blonde hair, and we both have blue eyes, will she be as tall as Mommy, etc, etc, etc.

But it never dawned on me that she'd want to be as fat as Mommy as well. My bad.

Mothers, we need to be healthy, have healthy habits, present ourselves in a healthy manner not just for us, but for our kids. We have to realize that as a parent, it's not just about us anymore.

As always, thanks for checking in.

1 comment:

'Yellow Rose' Jasmine said...

It is just so darn hard to do everything right all the time and our kiddos sure do keep us on our toes, don't they?!
I applaud you for continuing to try even with health issues that make keeping weight in check so difficult.
Your child will surely inherit your good attitudes and acceptance of others along with the blue eyes and blond hair. :)

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