100 lb. Club - Kids & Healthy Body Image




View Full Version : Kids & Healthy Body Image


rachael
03-29-2011, 06:06 PM
My daughter will be five this summer. I try not to talk too much about weight around her and we talk about healthy foods and things like that, but she is allowed treats and is a great and healthy eater. She'll put food, even candy, down when she is not hungry. I thought I had been doing a good job.

That said, I HAVE lost over 100 pounds in the last year of her life. She hears people tell me how good I look and how skinny I am. Last night she said "You are very skinny, mommy" and I said something about how I didn't used to be and she still loved me before I was skinny, too, and it doesn't really matter. She then stuck her little round four-year-old gut out in the mirror and said "look how fat my tummy is. I don't want to be fat." I immediately told her that she is NOT fat, that that is how little girls' bodies are shaped and she is perfect and healthy and beautiful, but that even if she were as fat as fat could be, she would still be beautiful and great and we would love her just as much. She was resistant to it, but at least stopped saying she was fat.

This broke my heart. I have been really cognizant about this stuff and tried REALLY hard for her not to feel like thin is good and fat is bad. I'm going to talk to her more about why I lost weight, but I'm not sure what else I can do. I am hoping it was a one time weirdness, but I don't want to assume that it is. Ugh.


sept15lija
03-29-2011, 06:17 PM
I am sorry, that would really upset me too. I've focused on not talking about it either, in front of my 6 and 8 year old nieces (my kids are 3 & 1, so it doesn't really come on their radar when people talk about it to me). It's such a challenge, but no question one we will deal with no matter what our personal struggles are...little girls have so many images around them that they just can't measure up to (and us adults, too!). It sounds like you're doing a great job, momma, and modeling healthy living and eating is a wonderful gift to give your daughter. :hug:

stacygee
03-29-2011, 06:53 PM
I differ from my friends with some of this. I talk openly with my daughters as they have both a mother and a father who have weight issues. They understand what overweight is and I want them to understand. They know Mommy exercises to lose weight and that I am on a diet. They quiz me about things I can and can't eat and why. I am glad they ask the questions and understand because their genetics, I feel, predisposes them to obesity. I want them to always understand what overweight is so they will not let it happen to them.

My little one did almost the same thing... she stuck her belly out and said, "Am I fat because my belly is so big." She's 3 so she has that 3 year old belly. I told her "No- you are three and your belly is perfect." and I left it at that.

My little opinion is to let it be what it is and make sure they understand about diet and exercise and obesity. This is what is realistic in my family for my children. BUT- I know people disagree and that is fine with me - we all have different opinions about raising our children.


fatferretfanatic
03-29-2011, 06:58 PM
It would very much break my heart to hear a little girl say that. No little one should have to worry about being too fat, especially if they're not. I definitely think you said the right thing, and it will be good to talk with her again.

OhMyDogs
03-29-2011, 07:23 PM
I differ from my friends with some of this. I talk openly with my daughters as they have both a mother and a father who have weight issues. They understand what overweight is and I want them to understand. They know Mommy exercises to lose weight and that I am on a diet. They quiz me about things I can and can't eat and why. I am glad they ask the questions and understand because their genetics, I feel, predisposes them to obesity. I want them to always understand what overweight is so they will not let it happen to them.

My little one did almost the same thing... she stuck her belly out and said, "Am I fat because my belly is so big." She's 3 so she has that 3 year old belly. I told her "No- you are three and your belly is perfect." and I left it at that.

My little opinion is to let it be what it is and make sure they understand about diet and exercise and obesity. This is what is realistic in my family for my children. BUT- I know people disagree and that is fine with me - we all have different opinions about raising our children.


This is how it is in our house too, sort of. I have 2 girls, 7 and 5. My 7 year old is very slender, and she has asked a lot about burning calories, and how many calories her supper has in it. I have explained to her that if she eats healthy and exercises as she grows up, she probably won't ever have to worry about calories, and that she certainly doesn't need to worry about them now.

I have been very open and honest with my girls about my weight, and my weight loss journey. They will have a cookie and ask me sometimes "do you want a bite?" and I say "no I can't have any, but thank you for asking" and one of the girls will usually ask "because it has too many calories?". They have been out for my walks with me (granted I shortened them some) when they have had days off school. So they have seen the full impact my weight has on me, and what I need to do to get it off. I am hoping this ingrains healthy habits, and maybe a memory of all the work and "sacrifice" (to a kid, not being able to have a cookie is a sacrifice) I have had to do to get this weight off, and will hopefully never run into the problems that I have now. If one of my girls asks how many calories something has in it, I just explain that they are growing and need ALL their nutrients so that they grow up healthy!

stacygee
03-29-2011, 07:45 PM
OhMyDogs- Thanks for sharing. I am trying to educate them realistically and I was nervous putting what I do out there for condemnation... but, it is how I feel. It is nice to know there are others that have the same philosophies.

runningfromfat
03-29-2011, 08:16 PM
Could you possibly talk to her about reasons that are good to have big bellies? I think what you said was exactly right that little girls tend to have bigger bellies. You could also point out to her that pregnant women have big bellies too and many people compliment them and say they are pretty.

DD's still young enough that she's interested in everything but doesn't really get the whole fat/thin thing yet. I'm hoping that my weight is all gone before she becomes more cognizant of the whole process!

purplecrush
03-29-2011, 09:24 PM
I have a 12 year old daughter that is highly active in soccer. She's very muscular, but she takes this as fat. She's tall 5'5. It breaks my heart to hear her talk about how fat she is. She is NOT fat! I try to explain that shes all muscle, and thats a good thing. She has played soccer practically year round since she was in 2nd grade.

Its hard to hear that your child thinks shes "fat" Breaks my heart. I DO talk to her about eating healthy, as she sees me eating healthy and exercising. She wanted Just Dance, so she could exercise, so I got them, more for the whole family, but its nice for all of us to be healthy :)

Nikki6kidsmom
03-30-2011, 01:03 AM
I am also like Stacygee and OhMYdogs. Open and honest about healthy food,habits, exercise with all my kids both the boys and the girls.

Just living in today's world forms their little minds on whats good and whats not also. But I love my kids no matter what and tell them this all the time. I teach them these things to possibly save them from the hurdle of obesity. My kids are active healthy kids. I have found that right before puberty my kids have gotten alittle chubby only to slim right back down. I don't stress them over weight. I offer them healthy food with limited treats and it works for us. We do lots of activities as a family that is fun to them usually (except for the hike we got lost and ended up walking over 5 miles lol).

rachael
03-30-2011, 04:58 PM
I talked to a friend about this and she suggested we move the focus to her strong, healthy body and what it can do. I've been trying to do that, as she is really into what is healthy right now. I definitely told her that is what little girls' bodies look like, so hopefully she is over the belly issue.

Trazey34
03-30-2011, 05:05 PM
oh my, as if being a girl isn't hard enough, but to have all this on top of it! I think the way you all handle it is great, whether it's to say you're PERFECT, or going so far as to explain how excess weight is accumulated etc.

I saw on Good Morning America the other day, that Abercrombie & Fitch are coming out with a line of bikinis for LITTLE girls that have PADDED bra tops!! OMG what is the world coming to???

Goddess Jessica
03-30-2011, 09:07 PM
Since I am preggo with my first and we know she's a girl, this has been on my mind a lot. My mother was thin, accepting, and always loved me no matter the size. My father was obese, mean, and felt that he could shame me into being thin. My partner and I are heavy people and I am active and in love with who I am but still work on food an exercise as a constant practice.

A friend of mine has a daughter who is not quite 3 and she lost around 40 pounds before getting pregnant with her. My friend struggled with weight loss her whole life and had some bouts of bulimia but is now thin and healthy. She is obsessed that her daughter not struggle with weight the way she did. On more than one occasion she has commented that her daughter's baby fat not going away and eating too much. My friend is a smart, nurse practitioner who should know better!

I am so afraid of becoming her.

ArcticFrogs
03-31-2011, 09:02 PM
I don't have much else to say that hasn't already been said - I think that you handled the situation correctly. It sounds like you are raising her to have a good, healthy relationship with food.

She's on track to understand that her body will go through changes and that, no matter what that "outer self" looks like, the value of who she is as a person does not change because of it...which is a lesson than many of us adult types are still struggling with. So, kudos to you!

That said, I wouldn't worry about this incident too much. It could be as simple as "Mommy doesn't want to be fat, I don't want to be fat either" - "fat" being a simple definition of basic parameters without all of the baggage and evil connotations that we have learned to associate with it. Children learn a lot of communication skills by mimicking, so it could be that she is essentially parroting an overall concept without grasping the deeper meanings of it.

While it's good to set her straight and help her to understand body changes and differences, I wouldn't be especially worried about her.