Recently I saw a photo of a little girl in diapers standing on a scale, looking at her weight with a worried curl in her brow. The photo was being used as a warning to moms about the messages we send our kids about weight-obsession. Our little girls, particularly, watch and pick up our fears, insecurities, and our focus on that big W word—Weight.
Ever since having my daughter, I’ve been determined to teach her to make healthy choices at a young age. When I was a child I was chubby and felt insecure physically. The way I was treated by kids and teachers at school created scars that still hurt at times. (Mostly the hurt now is just fear that my daughter will go through something similar.) Understandably, I do not want Eden to have her weight be an issue while she is in school—or ever, for that matter—but I cannot deny that part of weight is wrapped in genetics and she probably will have to face it at some point.
My job, then, is to teach her how to overcome the weight “tendency” the best she can—without teaching her to obsess about her weight! Where is that line? Can I make her conscious about something, without leading her into the weight-obsessed mindset most of our society already pushes?
The answer, I think, is recognizing myself as the example. Do I obsess about weight in front of my child? I can talk about portion control and daily exercise with positive results, but am I mixing it with a panicked fear that if I don’t do these things, something very bad will happen? Does my need to lose weight overshadow my ability to love? If I eat more than I should, do I carry on about my regrets and fears? Is my self-image wrapped up in looking a certain way?
My child watches and learns how to be healthy, both physically and emotionally. I pray that I am able to teach her to be healthy in both aspects.