Beauty in the Balance….by Liimu

It’s a delicate balance when you’re raising daughters, setting a good example of how to eat healthy and exercise and take good care of yourself without modeling obsessiveness.

I’ve still got a good fifty pounds to lose from this last pregnancy and my son is six months old, so I’m feeling ready to come at it. I finally decided to go back to the personal trainer I used in 2008 who helped me to make this transformation.
I’m ready to make that transformation again. I decided when my son was born that would give myself six months to get myself together on my own and if I wasn’t happy with how things were coming along, I would ask my old trainer for help. Believe it or not, Max is six months old next week. So, it is time.
What I’m slightly concerned about, however, is that I’m teaching my daughters to worry about their weight. I want to model for them taking good care of themselves, exercising and eating healthy.
When we were at the shore, we went one night to play mini golf and when we went to pay it turned out they only accepted cash. I realized I’d have to walk the half mile up to the Wawa to get money out, so I asked Devon if she wanted to take the walk with me. She said yes, which I was thrilled about, but on the way back she said she also wanted to do P90X with me because she thinks she needs to lose weight.
I stopped us in our tracks, turned her to me and said, “Look, I need to be very clear. I’m so supportive of you doing whatever exercise you want to do, but I really want you to do it to be healthy. You do NOT need to lose weight. You are beautiful. You have strong thighs, a tiny waist, beautiful skin, gorgeous arm, beautiful hair…do I need to go on? I wish people had told me what I’m telling you. It was only when I looked back at pictures of myself at your age and in middle school and high school that I realized I was beautiful then. I had such a negative self-impression. I want you to know you’re beautiful TODAY.”

She said, “But mommy, all the other girls are so skinny.”
“Honey,” I tried to explain, “you have a different body type from them. Just like you’re tall and your sister is short. If she all of a sudden started talking badly about herself because of it and hanging from the doorway in an attempt to be taller, wouldn’t you think that was weird? Wouldn’t you worry? You have a different body type but it’s equally beautiful. And you just wait. When you’re in high school, your skinny little friends are going to be wishing they had your curves, I promise you.”
I feel sort of hypocritical giving her what I know is good advice when I can’t take it myself. Why can’t I be just as accepting and loving of my own body since I had Max? My girls tell me all the time that they think I’m beautiful just the way I am. If I want her to believe me when I tell her she’s beautiful, why won’t I believe her? And by the same token, if I expect her to exhibit healthy habits, exercise often and enjoy treats only in moderation, why don’t I hold myself equally accountable without being restrictive?
One thing I know I can do is to start loving and accepting myself now, just as I am, the same way I love and accept them. And I can start believing my daughters when they tell me they think I’m beautiful.