What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning? I’m not going to lie. In the past, my daily morning ritual used to consist of getting up, going to the bathroom to pee and getting completely naked (get your mind out of the gutter) to step on the scale. Unfortunately, I know I am not alone, and many other women and young girls do the same. Why in the world would I hop on the scale and let the number (good or bad) set the tone for the day? That number does not show my self-worth or value and neither does the label inside my jeans, but why do we focus so much on those numbers?
One morning, unaware my 2 year old daughter was watching me, she stepped on the scale after me and looked up at me, and I knew in that moment, things had to change! This will not be her normal or what determines her self-worth. I NEVER want her to struggle with a poor body image that can lead to the dangers of an eating disorder, depression or the fear of being fat.
I saw a quote the other day, “loving your body only when it is perfect is like loving your kids only when they behave.” Wow, that’s a reality check! Of course, as mothers we love our kids unconditionally, so why don’t we love our bodies the same? Who or what determines what’s a perfect body? I would bet that if a size zero is perfect, many size zeros would still find things they want to change with their own bodies. As women, we must realize that there is more to us than just our bodies or physical appearance. What happened to generosity, intelligence, humility and compassion? Seriously, aren’t these qualities more significant than the number on a scale or inside a pair of jeans?
Currently, I am not overweight. I’m actually the thinnest I have ever been and in the best shape of my life. However, quite honestly I’m still fighting my body image delusions every day. It is a work in progress. I look in the mirror and instead of seeing the 80 plus pounds I have lost and this phenomenal accomplishment, what stands out to me is the loose hanging skin in my tummy or the jiggling fat in the back of my arms. It’s true, I can get 25 compliments about how great I look, but in the end, ultimately what I think about myself depends truly on how I see myself.
I decided to write about this after I went to a ladies event at church and was completely blown away by the statistics the speaker shared about body image and eating disorders. The speaker, Dianne Wilson is the founding director of The Imagine Foundation which helps women understand their true value and unlock their potential by focusing on self esteem and identify. The statistics really struck a nerve, tugged at my heart and gave me a sick feeling to see how many women, a majority of them extremely young, struggle with this issue. Statistics shared from Dianne Wilson’s presentation:
- 70 million people worldwide struggle with body image disorder
- Up to 24 million people in the USA suffer from an eating disorder
- 1 in 5 women struggle with an eating disorder or disordered eating
- 1 in 3 Americans are obese – that is 100,000,000 people!
- Childhood obesity is the #1 health problem in the USA
- Nearly 50% of 6-8 year old girls want to be thinner
- 78% of 3rd to 6th grade girls say they are very afraid of becoming fat
These statistics are heartbreaking. Why in the world do 6-8 year old girls want to be thinner? Why are the majority of girls in the 3rd – 6th grade afraid of becoming fat? There is no doubt, a combination of influences including media, family, peers, school and coaches can attribute to body image and self esteem issues. What can we do as mothers to help build a good self-esteem in our children? It is really simple: having a positive attitude and a healthy lifestyle, such as eating right and exercising, are a great recipe for building good self-esteem. Help your kids focus on how healthy and strong their bodies are. Teach them that everyone is imperfect and that is what makes us original and unique. Many people believe they need to change how they look to feel good about themselves, but all you really need to do is change the way you perceive your body and how you think about yourself. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of fighting with the girl in the mirror! Change your thoughts, change your mind! I want to be strong so I can lift others up, especially my children!