Have you found that, as a mother, your views about diet and weight are passed onto your daughters? It’s been said that our daughters notice more than we realize, and often share our beliefs about food and body image. They notice what we say about ourselves and other women. If we make a negative comment about another woman, that comment is likely to be stored in the minds of our daughters.
As I think about this, I cringe while wondering how I might have affected my daughter. Thankfully, I recently found evidence that I haven’t negatively affected her like I once feared. While scrolling through social media, I came across this photo that my daughter posted with the caption, “Forever and always,” meaning that she doesn’t need romantic relationships, she will always have food. She is similar to me, that way. Chopping veggies and cooking relieves her stress and helps her to cope with life.
For the first time, it occurred to me that I should listen to her and follow her lead when it comes to my relationship with food. As I thought about it, I began to realize how much she has taught me already, without saying a word.
Before I started my weight loss journey over a year ago, I didn’t have the healthiest relationship with food. I’ve been extremely overweight for most of my daughter’s life. She’s seen me at my worst (nearly 350 pounds!) and watched me struggle with my weight and various diet plans. Many times, I feared I had destroyed her relationship with food and her ability to keep a healthy weight. Thankfully, I now realize that I haven’t!
Thinking about the past year, I realize that my daughter has been showing me how to change my mindset and habits when it comes to food. She has helped me see how much progress I’ve achieved and realize I’m no longer that 350-pound woman. With her support, I will reach my goal weight sooner than I had ever thought possible!
Food is going to be around and it is alright to eat it.
My daughter is all about cooking, in fact, she wants to be a chef. Our family enjoys holidays and celebrations that are centered around food. In our efforts to become healthier, we have learned to only serve a couple of traditional (full fat) dishes and make the rest as healthy and fresh as possible. Lean meats and veggies are the norm in our home, especially for holidays. We Google healthy recipes for these holiday meals, weeknight dinners, and just for fun. We have also veered away from having processed foods in our house.
Dessert is a must!
My daughter has always had a sweet tooth, but I love that she will usually go for fruit over candy. If the only choice is candy, she’ll typically have a few pieces and be finished. Her approach to dessert is similar. She’ll have a small piece and then the craving is satisfied. I have now implemented a similar practice for myself. When I go to a restaurant, I’ll share a dessert with others, or take it with me so I can eat it gradually over a couple of days. This helps me feel satisfied and enjoy the foods I love, while spreading the calories out over a couple of days. I have learned that eating one cookie isn’t going to ruin my progress. I just make sure to keep my portions under control and try not to overindulge.
There’s nothing wrong with snacking.
My daughter is always eating. She often has nut bars, veggies, and yogurt after school for a snack. There’s nothing wrong with having a healthy snack when you’re hungry. I know that keeping nutritious, well-portioned snacks on hand helps me stay on track.
Don’t let peers influence your food choices.
One day, my daughter had her boyfriend over for lunch. She ate her 6-inch sub sandwich and quickly polished off the remainder of mine. She asked him if he wanted something else and he quickly said no. She looked at him and laughed while she made herself another sandwich and ate some carrots. He looked at her like she was crazy, and she responded with, “Hey, I know what I need to eat to keep up my energy. Don’t tell me what I can and can’t eat. You will never control that.” For a moment, I was shocked, but then I was proud to realize that she has learned to listen to her body. She knows what her body needs and when to stop eating.
That day, I learned from my daughter that I need to listen to my body as well, and not feel guilty for what I eat or how much I eat. I might order differently at a restaurant than my peers, and that’s okay.
Perhaps I’ve somehow influenced her in making these food choices. It’s likely she wants to avoid putting on extra weight and struggling with food like I have throughout my life. But, that hasn’t led her to have an unhealthy relationship with food. In fact, I must say, that having her around to help me through this journey has been incredible! As I’ve watched her, I’ve been inspired to see that food is not something “bad” in her eyes. So it isn’t a bad thing for me anymore, either.
Have your kids influenced your health or diet in a positive way? Head over to our Facebook page and tell us if you’ve had a similar experience!
*Note: All the photos in this blog were posted on her social media page.