I've struggled with my body image most of my life and my weight has been an issue since early adolescence. My perception of myself has always been poor. I never felt like I looked like my peers. In high school I was sure that I was the fattest girl around, couldn't understand how anyone could like me, and it only got worse as I got older and of course, continued to pack on more pounds. I tried all kinds of diets; from calorie restriction, to Atkins, to Weight Watchers, and probably half a dozen others. I would lose some weight, lose momentum, and gain it all back, plus a few more for good measure.
In the past year and a half I finally started to figure it out. I gave up on dieting and just started living better. I made some simple changes to what we ate, adding more veggies and mostly eliminating processed food. I remember one day Tyson walked out of the bathroom and said "I've lost 20 pounds, I don't know how that happened," and all that I could think of was "I know how it happened." I had been trying to improve my overall health and so I cooked differently and he just happened to benefit from it without knowing it. The change didn't happen quite so quickly and easily for me, but still, over time I managed to drop some significant weight.
I knew that I needed to do more than just eat better so at first I started walking, and then took up running. It was miserable at first, I hated every second of it, but after a little while it became easier and before I knew it I was hooked. I started a couch to 5k program at the beginning on October 2011, ran my first 10k in April and then a half marathon in July. Somehow, just as I was about to turn 30, I found myself in the best shape of my life and 15 pounds lighter than I was as a junior in high school. I was wearing jeans and shirts in sizes that I had never purchased before in my life. I should have been on top of the world, right?
The next rule has to do with physical activity. In this home we move. I love to run, my girls see me go for runs several times a week. They see me take this time out of our busy lives to go and do something that is good for me both mentally and physically. Tyson has brought the girls to see me run a couple of races and they get very excited as I am on my way back, running to the finish line. Lily has started asking to go running with me. My running club set up a Kids Race this last fall and the kids all had a blast. I'm not going to lecture my kids about exercise, I'm teaching them by example, and it is working. For me running is fun and my girls know that and amazingly enough are picking up on it. We play, run, and dance together. We move and movement is fun.
|It was a cold day, but Lily did great in her first race!|
Also, my children are not forced to finish their dinner. If they don't eat much or anything at lunch or dinner I set the plate aside and offer it to them again later when they come back and say that they are hungry. I want my children to learn to listen to their bodies and know when they are hungry and when they are not. If they are not hungry, I won't force them to eat. I believe that this will help them to build a healthy relationship with food.
I know that I can't totally protect my girls from the superficiality of this world, but hopefully I can safeguard them a little bit and not pass my body image issues onto them.