I’ve struggled with my body image for as long as I can remember. I went through life for years without questioning why I felt like I shouldn’t take up so much space. Now that I’m older, I’ve wondered why I started to think something was wrong with me. When did I realize that fat was a bad word? As I delved into these questions I soon found a link that surprised me…my mother.
My mother was a wonderful mom who only wanted the best for me. I do not blame her because I know she was just following the recommendation of my pediatrician who scolded her about my weight each time she took me for a visit. Each time, this led to a new diet plan which resulted in a small weight loss.
In frequent letters and phone calls with my grandmothers, Mom bragged about my older brothers’ achievements, which were many. Then she excitedly shared my latest weight loss results. Looking back now I realize just what message this sent to my young developing psyche…that it was all about my weight! My weight loss would always be my greatest achievement. <— Click to Tweet
Of course, within a couple months I always gained the weight back (and more thanks to the negative metabolic effect of dieting). I hated myself for being fat. I hated myself for gaining the weight back. And I hated myself for, in my mind, disappointing my parents.
As a child, I didn’t even realize what was happening – and neither did my mom. Instead, we spun through this cycle throughout my adolescence. And as my body grew, my confidence shrank. <— Click to Tweet
No parent is perfect, and as hard as I tried to make her feel beautiful, my own daughter still internalized many body-negative messages during her childhood. That’s why we are working together to change the conversation around fat, body image, and parenting. I hope that by sharing this story, other parents will think carefully about how they approach their child’s weight issue. We control the messages we send to our children, and we can work together to change the messages society sends. <— Click to Tweet