Seeing as I have two girls, I thought this article was bang-on, on how I see raising a child (especially a girl) in the healthiest way.
It has always alarmed me at how many people put such emphasis on someone’s body image - either through a comment made about a stranger, or a comment made about one’s self. I, myself, have never and would never look at anyone and think to myself, “wow, they need to lose weight,” or “how can that person be eating those fries or candy, no wonder they are overweight.” Statements like these make me cringe; in the same way the word “fat” makes me cringe. In fact, I have banned this word and classify it as a swear word in our house.
Instead of looking at a potentially overweight person eating a French fry and thinking they shouldn’t be doing that; I don’t even notice their body or what they are eating; I see a person smiling, or having a good time, loving life and enjoying it. If someone is happy, their life is fulfilled, at least to a healthy degree. If that person is potentially shortening their lifespan a few years because they may have a few extra pounds or are living a not-so-healthy lifestyle, so what. If that person’s so-called “shortened life” is a happy one, why does it matter? They are choosing to live that way. They are happy. It’s no one’s place to be putting judgment on that person. There’s a good chance they are enjoying life more than the person placing judgment!
Although I will always show and give our daughters a healthy lifestyle that includes sport and healthy eating, that will never be the emphasis or focus; my goal as a mother is to raise my kids to be happy, to be kind to others, and above all else, love themselves.
Below is the article I am referring to:
How to Talk to your Daughter about her Body
How to talk to your daughter about her body, step one: don’t talk to your daughter about her body, except to teach her how it works.
Don’t say anything if she’s lost weight. Don’t say anything if she’s gained weight.
If you think your daughter’s body looks amazing, don’t say that. Here are some things you can say instead:
“You look so healthy!” is a great one.
Or how about, “you’re looking so strong.”
“I can see how happy you are – you’re glowing.”
Better yet, compliment her on something that has nothing to do with her body.
Don’t comment on other women’s bodies either. Nope. Not a single comment, not a nice one or a mean one.
Teach her about kindness towards others, but also kindness towards yourself.
Don’t you dare talk about how much you hate your body in front of your daughter, or talk about your new diet. In fact, don’t go on a diet in front of your daughter. Buy healthy food. Cook healthy meals. But don’t say “I’m not eating carbs right now.” Your daughter should never think that carbs are evil, because shame over what you eat only leads to shame about yourself.
Encourage your daughter to run because it makes her feel less stressed. Encourage your daughter to climb mountains because there is nowhere better to explore your spirituality than the peak of the universe. Encourage your daughter to surf, or rock climb, or mountain bike because it scares her and that’s a good thing sometimes.
Help your daughter love soccer or rowing or hockey because sports make her a better leader and a more confident woman. Explain that no matter how old you get, you’ll never stop needing good teamwork. Never make her play a sport she isn’t absolutely in love with.
Prove to your daughter that women don’t need men to move their furniture.
Teach your daughter how to cook kale.
Teach your daughter how to bake chocolate cake made with six sticks of butter.
Pass on your own mom’s recipe for Christmas morning coffee cake. Pass on your love of being outside.
Maybe you and your daughter both have thick thighs or wide ribcages. It’s easy to hate these non-size zero body parts. Don’t. Tell your daughter that with her legs she can run a marathon if she wants to, and her ribcage is nothing but a carrying case for strong lungs. She can scream and she can sing and she can lift up the world, if she wants.
Remind your daughter that the best thing she can do with her body is to use it to mobilize her beautiful soul.