As a mom, I’m always working to be so careful about my own weight loss in hopes that I’m reflecting a good example to my kids, rather than a bad one. I’m cautious to say things like, “I’m choosing not to eat (insert food item here) because it won’t help me to feel good.” “I’m working on losing weight so that I feel better.” I NEVER say things like “I’m fat, I need to lose weight.” And I am always hoping that my love for exercise is evident, and that the kids can see I am consistent simply because it helps me feel good. I never ever comment on my kid’s sizes (except for the awesome moments when they decide to flex their child sized muscles looking for a little stroke to their ego).
I compliment them for their efforts to take care of themselves, and never point out flaws in their lack of exercise and I work to help them recognize a need for balanced meals with all food groups, loaded with nourishment (And yes, I do comment when they’ve had too much sugar.) But I don’t inflict diet strategies on them.
But even with all of that, my twelve year old came to me the other night telling me that he wants to do a low carb approach, again. He took on a low carb eating approach in the summer, all on his own, and ended up losing about 15 pounds. Since then he’s gone back to his old habits of eating whatever sounds good. I asked him why he wants to do this again, and his response was “Because I’m fat.”
Now, if my eyes were capable of shedding tears, I would have cried a river here. But, crying doesn’t come easy for me. I can assure you that my heart was breaking for the kid. As someone who has been way too weight conscious my whole life, I sincerely wish my kids could avoid carrying the weight of caring about if they were fat or not.
What is a mom to do?
This has had my head spinning on all the ways I need to be better at helping him. How can I help him learn to love himself? How can I help him recognize that although he might be carrying more weight than he would like, he shouldn’t ever classify himself as fat? What can I do to help him learn to see his own self-worth? How can I help him recognize the fine line between him being completely enough, and also the importance of working on self-improvement? How do I teach my child to love and take care of his body, but not feel a need to have it look a certain way? What do you do, when you feel your example to your kids isn’t enough?
I’m torn. I know that eating strategically places our body in an environment where we do have more energy to take on more active endeavors. Mindfully eating the healthiest things helps us to avoid some of the pitfalls that come with overweight and obese body compositions. Eating the right type of nourishment naturally provides us with slimmer bodies. This might be a controversial thought, but this can also lead us to feel better in our own skin and feel more self-confidence.
I definitely don’t want my child to want to lose weight because he think he’s fat. But I do want to help him learn the right kind of motivators which will help him love and respect the healthiest habits.
Since I don’t have all the answers, and we often learn best from others, I’d love to hear your perspective and wisdom. How do you set the example for your kids? From your vantage point, how do we raise our kids to be able to recognize the goodness and beauty in themselves? How do we help them gain the healthiest habits, while avoiding the unnecessary pressures that come with comparing their body composition with others? What have you done to encourage them to work to be the best version of themselves, but also help them feel good about who they are now? How do you go about your own weight loss efforts without projecting onto your kids?
Please leave a comment, below, and let’s all gain wisdom together! Talk to you soon!
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