Happy Hump Day!!! For some reason, weeks have been flying by lately. Maybe it’s because I have had very little downtime. Today has been just as non-stop as you saw on Monday. I would say tomorrow will be a bit more relaxing. Ha! I’m hosting playgroup. I have a feeling having 5+ toddlers in your home won’t help calm things down.
Despite my busy schedule of errands and caring for Makenzie, I did have time to get in a little bit of blog reading today. Certain posts related to children’s relationship with food and body image coupled with a visit to the pediatrician for Makenzie’s checkup really got me thinking about the fine line of parenthood. More specifically the fine line of being a good example in health and not overbearing.
I am very thankful for the fact that my parents fed me healthy meals growing up and never complained about dieting, needing to lose weight, etc. My mom always told me how beautiful I was and I never really felt the need to lose weight, feel down on my body, etc. I learned all of that on my own. I know I have struggled with my relationship with food in the past. I know I have days that are tough on me emotionally solely because of how I perceive my body. And I really want to limit Makenzie’s experience of that. I know she won’t be completely free from it, but it is very important to me to instill values of healthy eating and physical activity for personal wellness versus a “perfect” appearance. I want her to grow up feeling confident, strong, energetic, beautiful, and proud of who she is.
So far in her life, she has only eaten at a fast food restaurant once…and only wanted the fruit. She eats fruits, veggies, tofu, oatmeal, natural products, etc. But I also don’t mind her having some cake at a party, a few pieces of candy from her Easter basket, or Goldfish crackers for a regular snack. I desire to not have any foods off limits to her. I will strive to have the healthiest things that she enjoys available in my home and give her those options for her typical meals, but still expose her to treats in situations that may call for them. The whole balanced, moderate plate philosophy…
Like this past weekend’s birthday party, for example. She ate celery, strawberries, grapes, and crackers. But also had some cake. I mentioned earlier in this post on The Biggest Loser, that I despise the all or nothing mentality. I succumbed to it for years and I will do anything in my power for Makenzie to know that is an unnecessary way of thinking. However, it is such a balance already, even at her ripe age of 18 months.
I want to expose her to healthy foods and always offer them to her. I want her to find wholesome options she likes and promote her to choose those out of pleasure. However, exposing some things to her (like turkey dogs, Gerber raviolis, or a piece of Easter candy) she will naturally enjoy them and then ask for them over and over. I don’t want her to think she “can’t” have specific things. I don’t want her to be older and go to friends’ houses to eat and eat whatever they may have there because she “can’t” have it at our house for the fact we don’t have it in our cupboards.
A lot of these issues are farther off, but the lessons can already be taught now. And the sooner they are ingrained in her, the more likely she will accept them as her own and live by them. I know I will find the balance along the way, day by day. And every day I will be sure to be active with my daughter, set an example by choosing wholesome foods for myself and my family, not acting guilty when I do eat a cookie (or two), and telling her she is beautiful and how much I love her 1000000x every day. We’ll see if that is enough. But the media, fat talk, and negativity from others better watch out. I am a momma that will put up a fight. My daughter deserves that. We all do. Fight the battles to win the war on negative self image, poor food relationships, disordered eating, and the value of skinniness over health. We can do it! As, Holly said to me recently, perhaps we can swing our society to focus more on health than size? Do you think we have what it takes? I think we do. And it starts with each one of us.