There is such a battle in weight loss between wanting to NOT be fat, needing fat, eating fat (good ones), past pain of being called fat, and FEELING FAT.
I hate that word.
One of my greatest parts of this journey has been relearning everything to do with body and food. Creating a healthy balance, and being very aware of what an imbalance means. Over eating is an eating disorder, under eating is an eating disorder. Healthy living is a balance. Words like FAT just mess with my whole jive.
My goal as a mother is to change the perspective that my kids hear and learn. We don't talk about my weight loss. I'll say things like "I'm not going to eat that because it's not good for my body" or "I'm exercising so I can be strong". They don't hear me say my weight, my size, or even talk about how how I'm trying to achieve anything.
When they see photos of me before they'll comment things like "you looked different, your hair, your clothes" but they've never mentioned that I look fat, or even use the non-swearing-in-my-house word, overweight. Not once. My hope is that through creating good conversations about body image, health and the balance, they will have a greater understanding on how to treat their own bodies!
...But then some boys at school called my daughter the F word.
I was devastated.
Because I knew.
I knew EXACTLY what was going to happen.
These words, in her 7 year old little heart, were going to burn themselves into her. Into the fibre of her very being. These words would follow her for years.
I know, because I had it happen to me too.
When I was in the 7th grade, my family and I went on a vacation to Florida. On that trip I got some new clothes and shoes, and when returning back to school was so excited to wear them. For sake of a pretty stellar visual of my rocking 12 year old self - here is the rundown... My pants were high waisted pale purple chords, my shoes were jellies, my top was a short sleeve crushed velvet short top that was a matching purple with large daisies on it. My pants lined up with the bottom of my shirt and I wasn't showing any stomach, but when at my locker I raised my arms to put a binder away and THE CUTEST BOY IN SCHOOL (in my opinion) poked my side and said "had a few burgers on your vacation did you?".
Do you think I just have a fantastic memory? or do you think that maybe, just maybe, that entire moment is burned into my being?
Back to my daughter. Within two days, she asked me if she could not wear snow pants because they "made her legs look big". I saw her checking out her body in the mirror and poking away at it, squeezing her thighs, and asking why they looked big when she sat down.
I'm reeling at this point.
I can't take away those words from her, but I can only try to have life giving conversations with her, have her know she's loved and created oh-so-perfectly, and teach her a healthy lifestyle. Which btw - I don't do for her body type, or so she fits a mould, but so that she IS healthy, and so that she doesn't struggle with self control and mindless eating like I did. I need to lead by example. I'm now seeing that my health and my journey - it has witnesses that are very impressionable. I can only hope and pray that they learn good things from me and through me. That the F word remains a swear word, and they never repeat it to themselves in a mirror.
We need to stop the cycle with our bodies, with our children, with each other.
Trim the fat of the word FAT, if you will...from negative fat talk, from fat talk at all, and striving not for weight loss, but striving for health - with a side effect of weight loss.
...and love the freaking crap out of our children enough to teach them good habits, and not just easy ones. I struggle so much with this. But like Drew Carey said "eating crappy food isn't a reward, it's a punishment"...so maybe that should apply to feeding loved ones, too.
Photos taken Spring 2015 by Summerlee Photography