Last night my eight-year-old (my strong, healthy, NORMAL eight-year-old) came home and told us she was done eating "Bad food" because she's on a diet. In related news, I'd really like to jump on her classmate's mom's back like a screeching howler monkey for teaching HER kid to teach MY kid that this bull**** is ok.Then another friend of mine commented:
My strong, healthy, NORMAL 9yr old wore shorts over her bathing suit all summer because she thinks her behind is too big.Reading it make me physically feel sick. No eight year old should be on a diet. No nine year old should feel this way about their body. And I just can't get it out of my head. I do not want my sweet little girl to ever think she needs to go on a diet! Our attitudes about nutrition, exercise, and the way women should look in this country sicken me.
Dear Audrey (or anyone else that needs to read this),
Growing up, Mommy was "fat." I was never teased or bullied, but I knew I was bigger than everyone else. I put myself on crazy, stupid diets. I drank supplement diet drinks instead of eating meals. And surprise, surprise - it didn't work!
First of all, you are beautiful just the way God made you. I whisper this in your ear every night before I put you down in your crib. I hope that when you're old enough, it sticks with you and you believe it.
Now a little about nutrition. I have done a lot of research on the subject in my life. We eat to nourish our bodies. Whole, natural, unprocessed foods - fruits, vegetables, whole grains, proteins, and even fats - are important to incorporate in our diet in order to fuel our bodies. In addition to nourishing our bodies, some foods also taste really good. Everything in moderation my sweet girl. Do not deprive yourself of something delicious, but do not over-indulge. Food is not only nutrition, but also joy. Some of my favorite family memories revolve around food or the dinner table. Enjoy, live, celebrate, re-fuel, but don't over-indulge.
My thoughts on exercise are probably different than most people's also. Exercise does not have to be going to a gym and running on a treadmill. Find something you love and do that. Exercise becomes a chore when it is boring. Dance around your room. Take the stairs. Go for a walk. Ride a bike. Hoola-hoop or jump rope. Chase after your 8 month old crawling machine of a daughter. ;) Play frisbee with a friend. Weed the garden. Go swimming or play in the snow. Laugh! Get outside, get some fresh air, and just do something - anything!
In most cases, this is all you need to do, my sweet girl. You do not have to be rail-thin to be beautiful. Beauty on the outside emanates from what you feel about yourself on the inside. Be healthy, be active, and embrace your "thunder thighs" (I'm sorry sweetheart, but I'm pretty sure they're genetic!)
Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. Beauty is not starving yourself, diets, over-exercising or plastic surgery. Healthy is beautiful. Confidence is beautiful. You are beautiful, inside and out!