On Body Image

Earlier this week I shared some really personal stories with the ladies who subscribe to my newsletter. If you’ve been reading my stuff for a bit then you know I have a young daughter, and lately she’s been talking more and more about her why we eat the foods we eat or mentioning things about why we should exercise. All of this has me thinking about the different stages that I went through in terms of body image, diet and exercise over the years and it hasn’t always been so straight forward and some days it still isn’t. I want so badly for her to feel confident in her body, to want to move her body for the right reasons and to develop a healthy relationship with food. This is NOT simple stuff.

I used to desperately want to reach or maintain a certain number on the scale. During that part of my life I counted, I restricted, I was tiny and exhausted. Being tiny didn’t bring me strength, happiness or confidence. It was a waste of my energy. I hope that since I’ve learned that lesson, that I can help her so that she doesn’t have to. I know that right now I get to be her biggest influence, and that’ll all change as she gets older. I feel a responsibility to consciously cultivate positive thoughts and images around food, exercise and our bodies in our home.

We see so many negative and misleading messages in the media. Last week it was this hilarious nugget that made MY head spin and got me thinking about my daughter. I know better than to buy into fear mongering and uneducated content, but not everyone does and our kids surely won’t unless we teach them. I know I can’t protect her from it forever, but I can infuse my thoughts into her daily life in hopes of setting her up with a solid foundation to make her own choices later. The thing about this, though, is that we have to believe it in order to share it. I’ve spent some time collecting my thoughts on this, so here are some lessons I want my daughter (and all of the daughters out there) to know. I’d love to hear from you guys too. If you could share some positive messages with your daughters (or sons) what would they be?

The number on the scale could never tell you how amazingly smart, beautiful, unique and funny you are. Truthfully, I’m not sure how much I weigh, and I’m not sure why that number matters.

We exercise to expand ourselves, be stronger, do more and have more confidence. We don’t exercise to burn calories or to take up less space in the universe. We don’t exercise to earn food or make up for food we’ve already eaten. We exercise because we love ourselves, not because we hate ourselves. Respect your body for its resiliency, strength and all of the things it does for you.

Food is fuel. Eat it to feel good. Eat it to nourish your body and for enjoyment. There’s no good food or bad food, treat food or cheat food. We don’t reward ourselves with food or torture and punish ourselves with it. Food is food.

Your body is beautiful just as it is: curvy or not, soft or muscular, tall or short. There are a million ways to have a healthy body. A healthy body does not have to look a certain way just because you see it on a magazine. You don’t need anyone else’s approval to love your own body the way it is today.

Our daughters deserve to spend exactly zero seconds of their beautiful lives wasted on body image issues and shame. They deserve to feel strong, confident and empowered in their skin so that they can run and play and live their lives and do amazing things.

 

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