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Body image & your kids

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Old 09-05-2007, 02:48 PM   #1
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Default Body image & your kids

Hi everyone!

I'm curious as to how those of you with children are seeing your efforts to lose weight affect your children, if at all. I ask because the other day, my daughter decided that she wants to lose weight, because she's "fat" (in reality, she is chunky but has slimmed down DRASTICALLY in the last 3 years or so)..I just want to make sure that my efforts aren't giving my 6 year old a negative body image. I'm careful not to call myself fat or voice my dislike for my body...but with kids, they pick up on body image everywhere...school, TV, magazines...how do you deal with this?
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Old 09-05-2007, 02:57 PM   #2
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I have a 2 1/2 year old and a 1 1/2 year old. My 2 year old, Jacob, has noticed in a way what we do. We do our crunches, pushups, etc. here at the house - and we each take turns going to the gym to work out. He now knows when we're leaving what we're doing and he'll say "mommy.... you gonna go exercise?" And, if we get on the floor to do crunches, we'll explain to him that mommy and daddy are trying to be healthy. I don't think he realizes that we're "fat" because we don't say fat, or chubby, or overweight around them.... we just say we're getting healthy. It's funny cause they'll get on the floor with us and try to do what we're doing......

I see that as a positive impact.

They aren't to the age yet to know about body image.... I'm praying that DH and I are both at our goal weights by then and can just teach our kids about healthy eating/lifestyle.
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Old 09-05-2007, 03:00 PM   #3
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Oh, I have a son also who is 2.5 years old..he'll ask me "working out, momma"? But that's about all he cares to know, lol..he could care less about bodies, mine or anyone else. LOL. My daughter though...she's getting it.
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Old 09-05-2007, 03:10 PM   #4
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Both my kids are overweight, since I began this, I have stopped cooking all the junk , and buying it for them. My Son has lost some weight, but he doesn't really say anything. My Daughter is almost 10 and is at that stage where she is beginning to hear negative things about body image from kids. She is always asking me if she looks skinnier. I tell her she is very healthy and her body is changing as she is growing, I also tell her that being healthy and exercising is good. She says I am skinny, but I explain to her, that my body right now is not healthy, I need to loose some weight so I can move around more and live longer. I tell her it is not about being as skinny as Gwen sTefanni( an example), but about being at a healthy body weight and living long. We do try and go hiking on the weekends, and sometimes take nighttime walks.
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Old 09-05-2007, 03:30 PM   #5
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My kids are very aware of my efforts at losing weight. They will often ask "Do you have the points for that Mom?" if I start to eat something that even borders on unhealthy. I think that it is very good for them to see that food needs to be "budgeted" and that it is important to take care of yourself. My daughter is 7 and is a little chunkier than I would like her to be, but is becoming more aware and making better decisions. I like to just praise the good decisions that they make and steer them in the right direction.

On the same note, my kids also see the difference in how I look. They always sing the song "Hot Mama" or tease me about getting prettier when I buy new clothes or if I wear something flattering. I think that they have had the unique opportunity to see, first hand, the many, many benefits of a healthier lifestyle.
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Old 09-05-2007, 04:15 PM   #6
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My son is 10 and is average weight. He keeps telling me how proud he is of me and I hear from parents of his friends that he talks about it with them.. He's been very encouraging - thought me getting my piercing was "cool" and encourages me when I get down. On the bad side - he won't let me have a bite of his ice cream and asks for only two dinner rolls when the two of us go out to dinner - hmmm - is that really bad ?????
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Old 09-05-2007, 04:56 PM   #7
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This is a tough one, and I've been pondering it for some time now. My 13YO is highly concerned about every perceived flaw, even crying hysterically because she thought she was getting a double chin. (She's not - she had to put her head straight down to show me, a position in which everyone looks like she has a double chin.) I still worry a lot about how my weight loss efforts affect her and my other children, but I know she's getting so many messages from outside that it's difficult to know what she's picking up from me. She was also hysterical about the way her hair curls (or doesn't curl), about her complexion, about the way she walks, etc. It drives me crazy because I have such trouble getting her to see all of the great things about herself. It's just a tough time to be a kid anyway, but she's a perfectionist, and I am not having much success at breaking her from that habit.

We also have to realize just how many messages the kids pick up from school. My 10YO makes his shopping list request with categories for each of the food groups, with items under "fats and sweets" labeled with such adjectives as "bad," "dangerous," and even "poison." Yet, he still requests an item or two under the category. My 3YO has dental issues, and I have asked her father not to allow her to have drinks of his soda, and explained to her that it was bad for her teeth. So, now she won't drink or eat anything without asking me if it's good for her. And, quite frankly, I'm jealous of her willpower! Ever since our discussion, she refuses to drink soda, and is outraged that her dad won't quit drinking it.

Not sure how helpful this response was - or if it was helpful at all - but I live in fear that my children will be in therapy in ten or twenty years, explaining that all of their weight issues came from their mother, even though none of them have weight issues yet. **SIGH**
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Old 09-05-2007, 05:25 PM   #8
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Well I started my journey when my 3 daughters were all teenagers. A tough age for girls and body image.

Given my high starting weight and all, my kids were more then aware that my losing weight had nothing, absolutely nothing to do with poor body image. They were more then aware that the need for me to lose weight was a matter of life and death. I know that sounds dramatic. But that's just the cold hard facts. They were frightened for their mothers life. As well they should have been. It WAS a matter of life and death.

Luckily and amazingly so, none of my kids are overweight. It was more a matter of do as I say, not as I do around our house. It may have been hypocritical, but that's what I tried to teach them. Much of my poor eating habits/binging was done without their knowledge.

We are eating much healthier though now, that's for sure. I wish more then anything they would have grown up eating the way we do now. I can't think of a better example to teach ones children then that of eating healthy delicious foods, in healthy sized portions. That overeating and abusing food is not acceptable. That treats are once in a while things. That junk food should remain out of the house.

And that's what I would tell me kids if they were younger. That this has nothing whatsoever to do with how one looks. It's strictly about health.
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Old 09-05-2007, 07:39 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mom2QJandT View Post
On the same note, my kids also see the difference in how I look. They always sing the song "Hot Mama" or tease me about getting prettier when I buy new clothes or if I wear something flattering. I think that they have had the unique opportunity to see, first hand, the many, many benefits of a healthier lifestyle.
Doesn't that just make your day?? My 2 year old sometimes comes up to me (usually after I've put on clothes that aren't my PJ's) and out of nowhere, he'll say "wow........ mooooommmmyyy..... you are soooooo pwetty"
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Old 09-05-2007, 08:57 PM   #10
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I decided it was past time for me to get serious to lose weight when I was in a changing room with my oldest daughter (3-1/2 yo ) and she pointed to my tummy and said, "What's that?" I replied, "My tummy." She looked at me and said, "It's very big!" Talk about wanting to die of embarrassment.
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Old 09-05-2007, 09:43 PM   #11
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The two I have at home DS10 and DD9 are aware that I'm losing weight of course. They are generally supportive but neither of them have weight issues and don't seem to think my changes impact them much. I'm careful not to call it a "diet", but "getting healthy". And we talk more now about what foods are healthy and which ones aren't and why. But I only cook one meal for all of us, so we are all eating healthy now. And when I give them things I would never have given them before because I would have expected them to reject it (brown rice, ww pasta, tofu), most of the time, they eat it up without a peep. Not always, of course, DS doesn't care for turkey burgers, DD didn't like the ww tortillas. But I realize now that I was using them as an excuse to cook the stuff I liked. Funny.

But Cassie, I would explain to my daughter if she decided to diet, that diets are not healthy for kids or anyone else, and it's all about eating healthy and being healthy.
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Old 09-05-2007, 11:05 PM   #12
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I have a 16 year old and she is not needing to lose weight but I am slowly trying to get some healthier foods and less processed junk into her diet. I have been successful eliminating soda and she more likes herbal tea. I bought a glass tea pot and some of the flowering tea and we now drink mostly tea on the weekends she loves watching the flower open up (of course I always have to go to her room to refill my cup because the pretty flowering pot somehow always finds its way to her room) . We only have those on the weekends (they're expensive) but she does drink the herbal mint teas during the week.
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Old 09-06-2007, 12:42 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LaurieDawn View Post
We also have to realize just how many messages the kids pick up from school. My 10YO makes his shopping list request with categories for each of the food groups, with items under "fats and sweets" labeled with such adjectives as "bad," "dangerous," and even "poison." Yet, he still requests an item or two under the category. My 3YO has dental issues, and I have asked her father not to allow her to have drinks of his soda, and explained to her that it was bad for her teeth. So, now she won't drink or eat anything without asking me if it's good for her. And, quite frankly, I'm jealous of her willpower! Ever since our discussion, she refuses to drink soda, and is outraged that her dad won't quit drinking it.
LOL! Your kids sound great -- and that last bit about your daughter is so cute! It's great that she is learning this stuff at such a young age, and even trying to hold the adults responsible for their own health. Out of the mouth of babes everyone! :P
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Old 09-06-2007, 08:40 AM   #14
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It is scary how the things that we do can affect our kids without knowing. The other day my daughter said to me that she wants to eat spaghetti all the time because it is healthy and she wants to stay a skinny minnie. I call her a skinny minnie but I didnt think she took it so serious. She sees me and my husband talking about losing weight and getting healthy. And I guess from that she thinks that she has to be skinny. I told her that it isnt healthy to eat spaghetti every day and she needs to eat other healthy things and that it is ok to have stuff that isnt healthy as long as you dont eat alot of unhealthy things all the time. and I told her that mommy and daddy arent trying to get skinny, but that we are trying to get healthy so we can live for a long time. I think she kinda got it I hope. But I told my husband that we both, especially me, need to be careful what we say around her. It is very scarry because that is how kids get negative body images. I hope that what we do doesnt cause her to think that she needs to be skinny.
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Old 09-06-2007, 02:18 PM   #15
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I thought that too, about how scary it is how easily our kids can pick up on things! I just need to make sure that my kids grow up being confident in who they are.
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