There is something that has really been bothering me lately. An issue that I feel needs to be discussed. Something I can honestly say most women struggle with. And something we are passing onto our kids WAY too soon.
Body image. Ugh. The worst.
As a woman, it is something that has haunted me from the age of about ten. It’s something that’s continually on my mind. Especially when talking with friends. We are all complaining about weight gained, weight lost, our latest diet, how we shouldn’t be eating this or that, plastic surgeries we hope to get one day, the newest laser treatments, and the list goes on and on.
It honestly has never crossed my mind that I could be totally happy and content with my body. It seems like a laughable thought to be honest.
When I was younger, I was a little pool rat, like most kids in my town were during the summer. Moms across Owensboro, KY would drop their kids off the minute the pool opened with a couple dollars for lunch and MAYBE some sunscreen. Then you knew to be sitting at the exit after the pool closed so she could pick you up. It was so much fun. Some of my favorite memories come from my summers at the pool.
One summer when I was about ten, I was enjoying my carefree summer with my friends. I was wearing a two piece bathing suit and someone pulled me aside and told me that I needed to suck in my stomach. That I was old enough to care about how I looked in a bathing suit. I remember it hitting me like a pile of bricks. I was in shock. I was literally playing in the pool with my friends, being a completely worry-free kid, and someone brought up my appearance – something that I can honestly say I had never been self-conscious about before.
From that day forward, I never wore my two piece bathing suit again. I was extremely conscious of my body. I started poking at it and looking at it in the mirror, analyzing every inch. And I sucked my stomach in all day, every day. Worried that someone would say something to me about how I looked.
This seriously breaks my heart thinking about it. Couldn’t they have let me continue on as a kid? So what if my stomach was hanging out? I was in elementary school! I was having fun! I was running and jumping off diving boards and playing Bass & Minnow.
I was in no way overweight. I also wasn’t super skinny. I have always been an average build. I played sports as a kid all the way through high school and ran track almost year round. I had muscle and was very healthy. But I was never, ever satisfied with my body after that point.
Now that I am in my thirties, I can still say that there has never been a point in my life that I have been completely satisfied with my weight or how I looked. Even after I almost literally worked my ass off to lose the baby weight after having my toddler three years ago, I would still look at myself in the mirror and find something wrong. I had that little shelf of fat right above my c-section scar where they cut my muscles. No matter how well I ate or how much I worked out, I couldn’t get rid of it.
But I also gained a new appreciation for my body after I had Henry. Yes, it was different and things shifted into places I wasn’t used to. But I grew a human in my body. Then they cut through my stomach and muscles and removed the baby and sewed me back together. That’s pretty amazing. Our bodies are capable of so much and so resilient.
But there is always that voice in the back of my head saying I could stand to lose a few more pounds and that I need to suck in my stomach.
Now I am almost 33 weeks pregnant. I know I am growing a child. I eat my tacos and cheeseburgers. I also still work out in the mornings. But no matter what I do, it is so hard to look in the mirror and see a much more round face, swollen feet, legs, and hands, a huge belly, and an extra chin or two.
I can honestly say that comment that was made to me when I was young, shaped my thoughts on my body for the rest of my life. For some reason it is something I can’t shake.
It’s seriously time to flip the switch on negative body image. Yes, our children need to be active and healthy and not obese. But let’s not point out their flaws at such a young age. They are young and carefree! They shouldn’t be counting calories and hating their appearance. We need to watch what we say and how we act. Because our kids are listening and watching everything we do.
Until Next Time,