The Say Blog

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The F Word

In my house, the word FAT is a swear word. My kids actually believe it's the "F" word at this point in life, and to be honest, I think it's a worst word than the actual F word.

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" maybe that should apply to feeding loved ones, too.

Photos taken Spring 2015 by Summerlee Photography


  1. Girl this is so amazing. Currently also on a journey and I soooo feel the same about this word *shudders*. I'm loving your content. Thank you for sharing, and your little ones are all gorgeous ^.^

  2. I definitely follow this, my eldest daughter always gets a lot of comments from people because she is so small and "skinny". I always reaffirm that the goal is to be healthy, make good choices and be the best version of herself. It's good to know that other parents are starting to be conscious about what they say around their kids. Weight was always a struggle for me, I'm hoping being healthy and a great self esteem isn't as huge of an issue for my little ones. You're doing great!

  3. I'm finally starting my journey to health and whole mind & body wellness. I have three daughters. All have a passion for sports, which I never had and I'm humbled to see the the strength and confidence they have in being active. Now, it's my part to create the healthy eating lifestyle to go along with it.
    The word has been said to our middle daughter. She came to me three days afterwards to tell me in private. We have never actually called it a bad word, but it's not something we say and in kindergarten our oldest stood up for a friend saying "God made her that way."
    We talk a lot about "WHY" There is a reason that someone feels they need to say hurtful things or put others down. They are insecure and hurting. Or, it's something they hear a lot.

  4. I couldn't agree more. I talk about mommy exercising to get stronger so I can keep up with my growing girls and the word fat has never been mentioned here. I also take care to never make any derogatory comments about my body or anyone elses. I was very surprised to hear my daughter (5) talk about getting fat after only 2 months in kindergarten. Turns out the teacher was talking about healthy food and brought it up. Super frustrating but a good time to start talking about different bodies and how being larger or smaller is not better. Keep up the good work mom!

  5. That was a beautiful post Sarah! I always think, when running myself down, "would you say that to O"? Then why say it to yourself. Self love is difficult, especially if you've spent your life overweight or unhealthy and been ridiculed for it, and then recieved the ridicule, and let it soak into your self esteem. Thank you so much for your insight!

  6. Hi, my name is Cathy
    It brings burning tears to my eyes to think of a 7 year old being brought into the terrible world of body imagine. She's so young, so innocent! She should be oblivious and protected from that garbage. I remember a boy telling me he didn't want to go to a pool party if I was going to be there. "I sure don't want to see you in a bathing suit!" I was 10. It devastates me to think of my daughter (age 6), and yours, to have to feel those feelings.
    It's great you are doing what you can at home. Beyond that is it of your control, but at least you are the strongest force speaking into her life right now! And that counts for A LOT! Thanks for the post, Sarah

  7. well said! healthy eating and exercise fills our mind body and soul! love you!

  8. well said! healthy eating and exercise fills our mind body and soul! love you!

  9. Sarah thanks for this post. Teaching our daughters about health and a positive body image is so important. You mentioned a lot of the things I struggled with and I love how you said to emphasize health with the side effect of weight loss.

  10. Amazing post..body image is a huge matter at what age. I'm 27 years old and I still have negative self talk that I'm working on. You're doing a great thing with your kids, more ppl need to follow your example!

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