Ya’ll I just had a baby. You know that means I put on a good 30+lbs over the last 9 months. I wasn’t in the market for a quick fix because I know it took almost a year to put it on. I expect it will take almost a year to take off. I did want to make slow and steady progress though. As a mom though, I began to worry about how to deal with this desire and talk about it in front of my children or with them as they grow older. I want them to know I feel great about my body image and that weight loss is for making me feel better in a healthy way.
You’ve been there, right? As women, I know we are constantly bombarded with ads and images that perpetuate the feeling of needing to be thinner or better. It’s solely about looks. Do you love your body? Are you taking care of yourself? Or are you working hard to get a look that makes you feel bad about yourself? I wanted to look at my life and body as the former rather than the latter.
How can we be intentional about our body image?
Don’t talk about your body negatively
This one can be difficult. We’ve been taught that it’s okay as a woman to look in the mirror and hate our large thighs or our sagging arms. The problem is that when we say these things aloud to our children they learn that exact same thing from one of the most important resources in their life.
I didn’t want that to be me. I wanted to look myself in the mirror and say that I love this body I’m in, and I know that right now that means taking off a few pounds. I let myself have those thoughts in the privacy of my bathroom/bedroom. I communicate those things with my husband, but I work very hard to not discuss them in front of my children. I want to be intentional about how I portray myself to them. When I’m with the kids, I talk about how running and eating healthy make me feel.
Make healthy choices in front of your children
Our children see the choices we make and they are likely to mimic those choices. My choices are for fresh vegetables and fruits. My choices are to go for a run 3 days a week and do yoga 2 days a week. My choices are to make sure that I take care of my body in a way that seems reasonable to me. This doesn’t include telling myself that I’m being bad when I choose to have ice cream from my favorite place in town because HOLY salted caramel ice cream BATMAN!
The truth is that we tell ourselves it’s okay to treat dessert as decadent. We’ve been taught that having a piece of pie is cheating on our diet or that we’re being naughty to have it. Do we really want our children to have this relationship with food and indulgence? I don’t!
Talk about the things you love
There are things that you love about yourself and your body. We have to talk those things up. I personally love my legs. I do my best to accentuate them whenever possible, because I know I’ll feel great if that feature is the thing people notice first. You’ve got something like that too, right? Let your kids see you shine by being intentional about the focal point of your body. Let your children see you beam as you feel great in your clothes. Talk about how good you feel, but I suggest not focusing on the body part in this conversation.
It’s so difficult to talk about body image and self-love. It’s uncomfortable for us because we’ve spent the majority of our lives doing the other thing. Does the negative talk make you feel any better though? Do you think it’ll serve your son or daughter in their life? Let us be intentional about our bodies and our discussion of them so that our children can live better in their skin.
For now, I’ll continue on my diet and healthy living plan. I’ll continue to talk about how yummy tummy great and healthy food can be for all of us. I’ll continue to demonstrate that being active is a necessary part of life. I’ll show my kids how to love their body by doing so myself.