We Don’t Use The “F” Word In Our House

Full disclosure, before you think I’ve gone and become a tame mom, I still have moments of F-bombing.  I tend to do it under my breath these days, but the truth is, profanities still happen around here.  I have two kids, can you blame me?!

There was a word that was much more common in my daily vocabulary and I am doing my best to erase it ever since I became a mom.

I grew up as a competitive figure skater.  Like other sports and activities where lean bodies are ideal, as I moved up the ranks, this type of body and weight were encouraged.  Whether coaches and judges came right out and told you to lose weight, or gentle nudges were given, it was very obvious that this body was essential for success in the sport.

I spent a lot of time watching other skaters and comparing my body.  I sized myself up in the mirror at ballet.  I was athletic.  I had muscles.  This left me looking much larger than other girls with skinny little legs.

You hear people telling you that “muscle weighs more than fat” but when you hop on the scale and hear that other girls weigh “X” amount of pounds, you start to feel overweight.  Numbers run through your head and you compare yourself to others.

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The notion of diets came into my life at an early age.  Other girls were discussing them, family members were on various diets, and weight was at the forefront of my mind.  I even had a coach point out to me when I was 12 that I was developing because I was getting “fat” in my armpits.  At the time, I was tiny, but regardless it should have never even been discussed and was very inappropriate.

I spent all of my teenage years and much of my early adulthood obsessed with my weight, exercise, and foods that I should/shouldn’t eat.  While I was fortunate to never have an eating disorder, I definitely had a very unhealthy relationship with food, exercise, and body image.

Friends in high school were annoyed by my constant whining that I was “fat.”  I was always looking for someone to tell me that I wasn’t.  Even if I didn’t believe them, I needed that reassurance.

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I may not be able to protect my girls from the pressures that awaits them in the outside world.  But I am going to do my part by showing them a healthy relationship with my body.  My weight might fluctuate. I may not feel my best at times, but I will certainly never utter the “fat” word in our house or anywhere else.  I will enjoy my food and encourage our family to enjoy a variety of healthy foods.  We will also enjoy every delicious and tasty bite we get to discover along the way.  Food is not meant to cause guilt and exercise is not meant to be punishment for what we eat.  Sweat is NOT your fat crying.  It is the awesome bi-product of moving your muscles.

I will also do the best I possibly can to not criticize myself.  This can be difficult, but young impressionable children do not need to see a role model or anyone else feeling dissatisfied with their bodies.  Confidence can carry a person a very long way and I truly believe we can pass this attitude on not only to our children, but also to the people we surround ourselves with in our lives.

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I have many female clients who refuse to use mirrors to correct their form or to ensure they are properly doing exercises because they do not want to see their reflection.  I cannot tell you how much this saddens me.  These amazing women are wonderful people.  We should somehow be far past this discomfort with seeing our image.  There is much more to ourselves besides a number on a scale.  Beauty goes far beyond pounds or pant sizes.

Learning to love ourselves isn’t always easy, and there are years of adolescence and puberty to wreak havoc on young minds.  Being body positive is a great way to set an example for young girls and boys. Even better, this positive attitude shares the love with yourself.

Regardless of whether you have children of your own, try to take a moment of pause before you criticize yourself or use the “f” word.  Consider what it does to your own confidence and to the people around you.  It is very likely that you are loved by many people and we often forget that when we put ourselves down, it hurts their feelings and confidence too.  Let’s work together to raise a new generation of body confident children and to lift ourselves up at the same time.

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How do you like to set an example for others?  Share your confidence building ideas!

 

 

12 thoughts on “We Don’t Use The “F” Word In Our House

  1. Ah. Your words resonated with a part of me that I’m slowly learning to respect more again. It’s weird how disordered eating can sometimes be as life-ruining as an eating disorder, even if the one is life-threatening and the other is not. Same issues with body-image and athletics here… I know was affected by mother who was always on a diet, or always mentioned calories or how she shouldn’t be eating a certain something- and when I started developing and changing my body shape, her words became more directed at me. I love her and know she thinks she was trying to help me, but even the ones who mean best for us can make mistakes. I think one of the best gifts you can give your girls is to have a good relationship with food and a positive self image. It’s hard, I imagine, but you seem determined! All the best!

  2. Thank you so much for sharing your comment. Parents have a huge impact on our relationships with food and exercise. I totally can relate to that. Knowing this can hopefully allow us to have a more positive impact in the future. I actually find that running makes me a much happier person and my relationship with food is so wonderful now. I’m always hungry and love everything!

  3. Your post has good timing. My 12 year old daughter has been struggling with this lately. She’s gone from swimming on an intense year-round swim team and having six-pack abs to not swimming but instead running on her own and doing other things like yoga and stretching at home. So while she’s still active, she’s not swimming for 2 1/2 hours a day, 6 days a week and her body is adjusting. I’ve been trying to convince her she’s not fat but she insists she’s getting fat because she gained 2-3 lbs. I don’t have body issues and am trying my best to convey that we eat to fuel our bodies and be a positive image to her. It’s a struggle, though.

    • I think this is probably one of the most difficult things to deal with as a parent. Regardless of how we teach and protect our children, I think this is inevitable. Continuing to be a good influence will encourage confidence. While she may step away from that confidence right now, your encouragement and leading by example will stick with her.

  4. Excellent post Sarah. I hope your daughters will always have a positive self worth and self image. Something my wife and I have always tried to instill on our children (2 boys and 2 girls) that they are treasured and valued beyond measure.

    At 14 my youngest went into modelling (was cringing inwardly but this was her dream). From then she never felt she was good enough or pretty enough. She stopped eating and became very depressed. It was very hard on me. She is no longer modelling, has had counselling and is back to her old self again.

    Keep doing all the positive things you mentioned Sarah.

    • Thank you so much for sharing this. I think these are the really hard things we have to learn and deal with as our children get older and it is really scary! It doesn’t just affect girls. Boys deal with body image issues too and we often forget that as well. I’m so glad your daughter is doing better. It sounds like you are great parents!

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