I look in the mirror and cringe on a regular basis. It doesn't strike me as an abnormal reaction. I don't often bother to verbalize my thoughts about it...
And yet today when I waiting for my six year old daughter to change into her swim suit I heard her say, "the top of my legs are so fat and ugly."
My first reaction was anger. "What?"
Then reason, "We don't talk like that about ourselves."
She looked at me stunned. I'm not sure what she thought my reaction would be, but I definitely did something she wasn't expecting.
Good! I thought. Now I have her attention. I had to figure out what to do with it, and fast.
I know my girl and there is only a limited window of use of sustained attention.
"In our family we only use the words healthy or unhealthy. Are you healthy?"
"Good. I think so too. When we get home we can make a fun poster to highlight all the ways we choose to be healthy." (She is a sucker for posters--seriously. She's constantly begging to make charts and posters. It's cute).
This also gave me time to gather my thoughts and develop a plan for the new body image regime I had just instilled for my entire household.
Here's what I came up with. Body image should not be solely defined by our visible characteristics. Thank goodness I told my girl we were using healthy and unhealthy! I could use more than just physical appearance criteria! Phew, dodged a bullet on that quick reaction.
It's not perfect--and didn't cut and paste nice and dandy, but it's a place to start. Also I had columns- it just wouldn't cooperate with the blog thing at my skill/knowledge/tech level)
Approved terms for Szymanski Family Body Image
HEALTHY OR UNHEALTHY
Active (physical activity)
Good hygiene (clean and groomed)
Learning about/working on things/skills
Not enough sleep
Unbalanced food choices
Poor hygiene Disinterested in things/skills
Stunted talents/loss of talents
If the majority of your behavior is within the healthy choices you are healthy.
If the majority of your behavior is within the unhealthy choices you are unhealthy and must pick one area/behavior to work on. Start with one and build from there.
Being healthy isn't easy. It takes a lot of work. Dedication, determination, and discipline are all required to be healthy.
Few, if any, of us have all the areas of health listed conquered at any given time. As long as you are majority healthy, you are healthy If you're not- guess what it's not the end of the world!!! You can pick one single area to improve. Make a goal for just that area, maybe two goals if you want to be an overachiever. Bring that area back over to the healthy side and if your still off balance pick one more until you are once again majority healthy.
I for one m constantly cycling.
It's okay. I'm human.
And I do things like make my family group costumes like this (I'm proud of this BTW Aquabats rule)
I like fat. It's not a bad word.
However, using it in a way to speak negatively or oneself or others is not the proper use of the word. Fat can be good and I have a great appreciation for it when in proper context.
Honor fat, use it for good.
Let's rethink how we encourage good choices in our families. Not to mention how we frame body image in everyone. It's not just what you see.