Does this food make my kid look fat?

Like most of you, when I look at my children I am in awe that I have been a part of bringing such marvelous creatures into the world. I remember getting ready to leave the hospital with my oldest and having a slight panic attack. They come into the world these little tiny, wiggly, apple smelling beings of the nearest thing to perfection that I have ever seen. That’s why I believe they are sent from heaven..directly. It’s only once they get here and we get hold of them and start fucking them up that hell starts breaking lose. I jest but there is some truth to it. Don’t you agree?
One thing that I know that I worry about and I know weighs heavily on many Moms minds is nutrition.  We try to keep our kids healthy; feed them the right foods, get them involved in some recreational sports for exercise, monitor what they eat but despite our best efforts the incidence of childhood obesity is on the rise. This is of particular concern to me because I have battled with my own eating issues/disorders in the past. I am hyper aware of body issues and the toll they take on a little girls mind and body. I am fully aware that this affliction is an equal opportunity destroyer of boys and girls alike, but I think girls are just more susceptible because of the natural expectation of beauty put onto women.
I’ve said since before my girls were born that I would do whatever it took to save them from that fate. The first best step, in my mind, is to not make weight a focus of attention in their life. I have a dear friend who has a 16 year old daughter who has always been weighed backwards and has no knowledge of what she weighs. How amazing is that? A scale is just a number, its like scoring your importance in the world by how many lbs. you are and the lower the better. How asinine is that? I have been inspired to not let my girls be aware of their number on the scale.
I remember, as a child, my father who is very athletic and an avid runner taking us running with him. He would take us bike riding, to play soccer, swimming, to play basketball and tennis, and walking and it was a blast. I particularly remember a time,  around the time puberty hitting, (you know that lovely time of our lives when our whole body is mutinying on us?) my dad started making me run harder and faster. I distinctly remember him telling me, “Mija, you should run some more”. I could hear the disappointment in his voice. I’m pretty positive that was the moment that it all went down hill for me. From that point on, I was painfully aware of what I ate , how much I exercised and it made me feel that in some tiny way my worth to my dad was directly tied to my weight. As an adult and a parent now, I am sure it was not. But actions speak louder than words and the added, ” you should run more” certainly didn’t help. I can understand trying to get your child healthy and prevent them from being unhealthy but maybe a better approach would have been to not say anything and just take me running and him speed up the pace. Then, I would have had to speed up to keep up but there would have been no connotation attached to the words; no disappointment. Maybe we could have bypassed the body dysmorphia/bulimia/anorexia  episode entirely.
I’ve also tried my damnest to not focus on my own weight in front of my girls. I try to avoid the “Does this make me look fat” question at all cost within their earshot. I’m not always successful but I try to let them know that people come in all shapes and sizes and to just be the best them they can be.
I try to feed them nutritiously and get them to play outside. They are both involved in dance. But it seems that at certain times of the year, my daughter will put on a little weight and then slim right back down.I don’t know what it is but that’s how it happens every year. At these times of the year, I start going over my menu with a fine tooth comb and trying to make sure to eliminate the bad foods and focus on the healthier fare. I know it sounds slightly crazy to be so aware of this but I just don’t want her to ever start being aware of her weight to the point where it could be an issue in her mind. To look at her, obviously she is no where near overweight but I feel like , as her Mother, it is my duty to keep her healthy and happy and not to be the catalyst of an unhealthy lifestyle or allowing bad habits to start. Sounds familiar, right? Probably something very similar to what my own father was feeling/thinking.This is a major contributor to the Mommy guilt that I feel. It’s so hard when you have picky eaters and some times its all you can do just to get them to eat anything but I think this is a stand where we, as parents, need to hold vigilant. The thought of my little girl one day feeling less than adequate in her life because of the number on a scale or the size of her ass makes me cringe. Of course, we want to protect our children from any unnecessary unhappiness in their life but their nutrition and healthy lifestyle choices are something that we can put into place in their formative years. I don’t want to second guess myself and wonder if the food choices I am making for my children are bad for them. The work lies in the execution of the plan. How do you make sure your children are healthy without emphasizing weight or the negative effects of bad food? I don’t ever want my words to be the source of my children feeling anything less than fantastically comfortable in their own skin.

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Comments (14)

Oy – I have so many weight issues of my own that I worry often about passing these along to my kids. Given that they're boys with their dad's genes (tall, skinny, superfast metabolism) – I don't worry about weight so much as the potential self esteem issues they might subconciously pick up from me… lord but it's all so complicated!!

This is such a hrad issue! In an effort to not instill unhealthy mental issues about food I have almost gone the other way! And now with a teen and preteen..I have had to visit this issue..but carefully. I tend to focus on heart health..and energy more then the physical! And no matter what..like you..I let the kids know we are all different! I am smaller and petite. even my 10 year old is almost bigger then me…not easy for an awkward 10 year old girl! BUT, I make sure she sees and understands how gorgeous tall is, how different we are all meant to be! And yet still, she struggles!! This mom this is tough, huh?? 🙂

I actually talk to Cam about good and bad food choices. About how now he has a high metabolism, but when he gets older that will slow down. I tell him that NOW is the time to learn to eat healthy snacks like apples and oranges instead of chips and candy. We do a lot of outside sports, but I let him know that being over weight is unhealthy, and being underweight is also unhealthy. – Cam is a boy though, and he is in perfect shape (he is very muscle toned..) and he's older than your girls…but I don't sugar coat it..I was underweight as a child, and people don't understand what their comments do to a person. I want him to understand tht eating healthy isn't just about your weight..it's about your wellbeing.

so true.

with 2 lil' girlies of my own, i struggle to make sure health is of most importance… not weight. i delicate balance, for sure.

weighing backwards. great idea! 😉

Your blog is amazing. I just starting following you. I am looking forward to coming here every day! I strive to teach my little ones how to eat right and try to teach them at a young age how to balance their food choices but it is hard when you have such picky eaters. I would love any advice. I also have a blog I just started. Could you please follow me back. I found you on the blog hop 🙂
http://kimsweightlossjorney.blogspot.com/2010/09/follow-me-back-tuesday.html

Your blog is amazing. I just starting following you. I am looking forward to coming here every day! I strive to teach my little ones how to eat right and try to teach them at a young age how to balance their food choices but it is hard when you have such picky eaters. I would love any advice. I also have a blog I just started. Could you please follow me back. I found you on the blog hop 🙂
http://kimsweightlossjorney.blogspot.com/2010/09/follow-me-back-tuesday.html

We talk to Kate about healthy eating and feeling good. It can be so hard because they give them junk at school, and ordering out means huge portions. We try to take control of that as much as possible.

We also reinforce that people come in all different shapes, sizes and colors.

Hi There. I am your newest follower from Tuesday Blog Hop! Lovely Blog:) You can find me at http://www.bouffeebambini.blogspot.com

Im following from Tuesday Blog Hop come on by and follow back :)! Naomi
Na-miart.blogspot.com

I love what you are doing! You seem to be keeping it cool and changing what YOU can without them every knowing. I think this is the best approach for sure! Their body will know/recognize those healthy foods and exercise without having to tell them!

I worry about this too. I have had "issues" and I am scared my boys will too……boy are they hungry lil fellows!

This blog is great because the more we stock, the more we feel we can eat. At so, the more difficult to find the healthful foods, the more likely we are to grab what is close and easy and possibly not a nutritious option.this is my site i hope it can contribute you as well as you did to me..http://children-solutions.com/cool-free-stuff

Ok, why would emphasizing the right foods to eat be bad? I'm not talking about sending the subliminal message that eating healthy foods make you skinny. I'm saying, I personally think It's smart to talk to our kids about healthy and unhealthy foods and make sure they know which is which so they can make good decisions for health reasons, not necessarily body image. We talk to our kids all the time about which foods they are eating and why we serve certain foods at dinner and why we don't eat meat. I think it would be doing them a disservice not to make it a big deal. We love our children unconditionally, and they know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they cannot disappoint us with their size or food choices so I feel they are secure in that since it is the truth. I just don't know if shielding them and making it a non issue will really work. I mean they are going to grow up in this society. they are going to feel the pressure, just like everybody else does. I just feel like I can empower them with the ammunition they need to make healthy choices as far as food is concerned. I'm definitely not criticizing you, I'll be the first one to admit that all families work differently and you know your kids better than anyone else. Just trying to represent the other side, that's all.

[…] that I am not talking trash about this child. I feel sorry for her because 1) it’s not her fault. A child’s diet is not her own responsibility at that age. 2) I know what it’s like to be overweight and have to lose weight and it is not fun or easy, for […]

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