A couple of weeks ago, something happened that completely changed the way I look at my health. Every morning when Allie and I get up, I open the bathroom door and she immediately goes to the scale to hop on it. Sounds harmless, right? Well, I thought so too. The first few times she did it, I didn’t think anything of it. I typically weighed myself every morning and she happens to see that and caught on. Pretty typical of a toddler and honestly, it’s part of why I love the toddler age so much. So the first few times, I thought it was funny. Maybe even cute. And then I started to take a step back and really think about it. I had accidentally gotten my daughter into the habit of weighing herself every morning.
To some that may sound like a ridiculous thing to be upset over. She’s only 14 months. It’s not like she knows what the scale is or what it’s used for. It’s not like she’s purposely hopping on the scale to check her weight. But someday she will. Someday she’ll know what a scale is and its purpose. Someday she’ll be exposed to our society where the pressure of being a size 2 is pushed on every female on a daily basis.
But today she’s 14 months old. She’s a toddler. And I had already gotten her into the habit of hopping on the scale in the morning. And that crushed me.
I grew up with horrible self-esteem and a very bad, unhealthy view of weight and body image. I strived to have a fit, toned body and I cared so much about the number on the scale to the point where I created some really bad, unhealthy habits. Body positivity and health just weren’t things that were taught to me growing up. My mom never taught me how to make healthy choices and she had a horrible habit of constantly pointing out the things she thought were “wrong” with me or my body.
She’d be the first to let me know if I looked “fat” in a dress or to point out my lack of boobs or my flat butt. She was the first to tell me I looked anorexic in my bikini or if I was even “too pale” to be wearing a bathing suit. Understandably, I grew up with very low self-esteem and it wasn’t until I was about 23 or so that I started to make healthier choices for myself and really get myself into shape in a good, positive, healthy way.
By the time I conceived our little girl in August 2016, I was the healthiest I had ever been. I was at a good, healthy weight. I was toned and tan and feeling fantastic. And then I got pregnant and if you’ve been here a while, you know that pregnancy was very hard on me mentally as I watched my body grow and change. I made it a priority to keep myself in shape and keep the weight gain at a minimum and I was so proud of myself for losing the weight relatively quickly after giving birth. And then I went on birth control…
My birth control has added 10 pounds to my body this past year and it’s been a bit hard on me mentally (anyone else here on Nexplanon? I hear this is a common side effect haha). Pregnancy was one thing because it was weight gain I had to gain. It was a given that I’d gain weight because I had a tiny human growing in there. But gaining weight when I wasn’t growing a tiny human, felt horrible. Absolutely horrible.
I’ve continued to go on my morning runs and hit the gym when I have the time because I love it. And I still do my best to make good, healthy food choices as often as possible because it makes my body feel good. But that 10 pounds has barely budged. And while that may not seem like a lot of weight to some, that 10 pounds can be super hard on someone who has issues with body image.
But two weeks ago when I saw my daughter step on that scale, everything changed for me in terms of how I view my weight. Today I am 6 pounds more than I was pre-pregnancy. And that’s okay. Really. I also don’t have my abs back yet and that too is okay. My body may not be 100% back to the way it looked pre-pregnancy, but I’m okay with that. I’m at a healthy weight, my clothes fit, and most importantly, I’m happy. I am so so happy. The moment I stopped caring about the number on the scale, I instantly felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. And in some ways, I’ve felt even healthier these last two weeks.
It’s one thing to want to live a healthy life and it’s another thing to spend every moment of the day obsessing over it. And that’s exactly what I was doing. So I refuse to do that anymore. It’s not the end of the world to skip my morning run to get some work done or spend time with Allie. It’s okay to order a pizza on a Friday night because our household doesn’t feel like cooking. It’s okay to have an extra glass of wine with dinner after a very long day of mommying. It’s all okay (in moderation, of course! haha).
I strongly believe that the most influential person in a child’s life is the same-sex parent. And for Allie, that’s me. I have a 14-month-old who is watching me on a daily basis and looking up to me. And I need to be setting a good example for her. The last thing I want is to put negative thoughts into her mind at such a young age or raise her to believe she can’t have a slice of pizza at a birthday party because *gasp* there’s carbs in it. That’s not what I want for her. Raising a daughter in today’s society is such a big important job that I take so incredibly seriously. It’s my job as the mom of a little girl to raise her to be strong and independent. To be a good person and a productive member of society. And to feel confident in herself and her body.
So here’s what I want my daughter to know about body positivity…
I want her to know that women come in all shapes and sizes.
I want her to know that the number on the scale doesn’t determine her worth in any way.
I want her to know that having rock hard abs doesn’t mean you’re healthy, but not having them doesn’t make you unhealthy either.
I want her to know how to make good, healthy lifestyle choices and I fully plan to be a good example of that for her.
I want her to know the importance of loving and caring for her body.
I want her to learn to love her “flaws” and accept what she cannot change about them.
I want her to know that we live in a flawed society with very unrealistic expectations of the female body.
I want her to know that her body will constantly grow and change over the years and that’s okay.
And lastly, I want her to know that she will always be the most beautiful thing we’ve ever created