Thursday, 4 June 2015

Negative Body Images and our Children

I have always had an incredibly bad relationship with food, I have always been between the two extremes of comfort eating/ binging and starving myself there has never been a happy medium until now.

Growing up my mom was very strict with food- I always had the healthy lunch I wasn’t allowed sodas or certain sweets etc and my mom was always pole thin ALWAYS I don’t think I can ever remember her being anything near to curvy or overweight (even when pregnant) she has always been slim and trim and she has always been very blasé as far as food is concerned, by that I mean she can literally go the whole day on a yoghurt or some crackers and as soon as she feels she has gained even a kg she will go on a diet even though she doesn’t need it.

I love my mom but this is where I believe and have been told my deep seated issues with food started ; as an overweight child I was often teased even when I hardly ate anything but no one ever saw that they would just see a chubby girl and think hey she must eat a crap load or she must be lazy and it was far from the truth, my mom saw this and as much as she loved me I will always remember how much I detested any form of clothing shopping- she would try to be encouraging but I could always see a sadness and disappointment in her eyes, she never sat me down and spoke with me about it or moaned at my father when he asked me if I really should be eating that cookie and by my teens I was already on the road of constant dieting, I never ate breakfast… and still don’t and would go through periods of binging and then times when I would look in the mirror with disgust and not eat at all when I left the house, then of course I reached 15/16 I started developing more ‘sexual’ relationships and that is when I decided enough was enough and I literally starved and over exercised often for up to 5/6 hours a day until I dropped 2/3 of my body weight… even then I wasn’t happy and by going down this road I had established an even worse relationship with food and a very poor body image that came out in almost every relationship I went into.

this is literally what I saw when I looked in the mirror even at 50kg

We are now many years down from that… I have yo yo’d between obese and generally fit, and finally I have reached a point of being generally ok with my appearance and by that I mean I have accepted that I am never going to be completely happy with everything with regards to my body but I now have a better relationship and understanding of food and myself, so in other words we have reached a compromise my body and I and for now that is good enough for me.

Why I chose to write this post in the first place is because I don’t think we as woman, as moms realise how much our relationship with food and our bodies affects our children, particularly if we have daughters but sons count too…

It is why I get up early every morning to cook my kids a proper breakfast, its why I over pack their lunchboxes with an assorted mix of healthy and sometimes not so healthy choices and why they get a treat day on Fridays and why I let them just enjoy the food at parties.

It is why when my eldest points out Gabriel’s rounded tummy I explain that they are still growing and that Gabriel simply likes food and there is nothing wrong with… because there isn’t.

They are both active healthy kids and I always want them to be proud and happy with themselves and their bodies, all three of them, its why when I look in the mirror I don’t point out my flaws aloud no matter how much I want to because I am laying the foundation for how they approach their future partners and how they treat them and their body images, if you are constantly putting yourself down around your kids or if your partner does you are paving the way for them to look at themselves or their future partners in the same way to look for the same flaws you see in yourself because you are their mom as a child you are the epitome of beauty in their eyes and of course very often they are mirror versions of ourselves and get told this by many a person, so when you remark upon your nose that is too big or too sharp they will look at themselves and think but hey I have that nose so mine must be too big or too sharp as well.

So I would just like to encourage all the moms out there no matter how you feel about yourself, if you feel bad about yourself and your body image you need to attend to it, give yourself the extra time and attention you need to find that happy medium, whether you need time at the gym or you need to change how you look at food by way of therapy or family support, every day that you stand in front of the mirror look for the things you like about yourself and focus on that instead of the flaws and take the time to talk to your children about the importance of being happy with your body that everyone is different and they are perfect as they are, because they are… it’s not about creating an ego or sending them into the world thinking they are flawless it is about teaching them to be happy within themselves and that while everyone has flaws we have so many things that set us aside from others… things to be proud of, by doing this we pave the path to how they will teach their children one day and so the legacy continues…it has to start somewhere.

very good idea!!!!

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