Developing a healthy body image: Mothers, stop trying to fix your daughters

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  • StephanyMae Safford, AZ
    Nov. 9, 2013 1:42 a.m.

    I struggle with this issue. My girls, 17 & 15, are polar opposites and both quite stunning. I tell them each this often, but my youngest daughter spends 90 % of her day sitting, reading or drawing (she's a talented artist w/ awards already). While I've never called her fat, she feels fat. I don't ask her about her eating habits, except for when I catch her eating after 10 pm or too much sugar, etc. I've tried to change our entire family's diet, but get little support from my husband and oldest. The oldest is fit as a fiddle and very active. Her confidence waivers due to mild acne. She has the build I had in high school. My other daughter takes after the other side of the family & is now in the obese range and climbing.
    My heart goes out to her and I've tried a proactive approach by taking her to the gym or finding some physical activity. We've tried Taekwondo & Swim Team (only available for 2 months), but she's outgrown both of these activites, literally. I am at a loss on what to do, other than to stop trying to "fix" her. Now what?

  • mellee Cedar City, UT
    Nov. 7, 2013 4:52 p.m.

    I disagree Belgie. To illustrate her point further, when I was 17 I stopped playing sports. My weight jumped from 120s to 140s in a year. It didn't bother me as my body was never a subject of discussion at that time or previous to the weight gain. When I started college I lost 15 lbs. I was once again "skinny". During this period a I had an ex-boyfriend tell me, when we had met I was "chunky enough to be unappealing". That was HIS image of me during my 140's phase NOT mine. I continued to lose weight due to not having enough money to buy groceries. I dropped down to 116 lbs (jr. high weight). SUPER skinny but not at all healthy for my medium frame. When I started to gain weight back at around 120 lbs thoughts started creeping into my head of fear for becoming "fat". This bothered me a great deal as I had never felt that way about myself even weighing 140+. This other person's opinion of me affected my thoughts and feelings about myself. THAT is body shaming. Weight is a different issue for which emotional health must be present to fix.

  • mellee Cedar City, UT
    Nov. 7, 2013 4:43 p.m.

    I don't think she's at all saying we shouldn't be concerned about weight. This touches very specifically on the emotional issues that rob people of a certain degree of health regardless of weight. As she stated, her mother's issue was her body image. I happen to have the blessing of knowing this family and her mother, from my image of her, was not overweight and had a very healthy appearance (this is my own perspective and how I viewed her when I knew her). The point isn't about her weight or her mothers weight. The point is the emotional beast called shame, that causes us to look beyond reality and becomes not only crippling for some, but the opposite of constructive. It is far more difficult to overcome a physical issue, (if indeed you have one) when you are battling an emotional issue at the same time.

  • Chesh1767 Jacksonville, FM
    Nov. 7, 2013 4:07 p.m.

    belgie - I disagree that this is representative of the extreme & that it's saying to not concern ourselves about weight.
    I grew up the chubby child & I got so tired of hearing how if I just lost some weight that I would be the prettiest of the 3 girls from my Mom or have my Grandma say that I'd be so beautiful if I'd lose weight. Comments & observations like these do not help motivate the child, teenager or even the adult. It just makes you feel that your worth is based on being skinny. Never make someone, especially a child feel they are unlovable b/c of their weight.

  • belgie Tualatin, OR
    Nov. 7, 2013 11:54 a.m.

    On the other hand, obesity is the #1 health problem in the United States. This article seems to represent the extreme, and potentially dangerous, viewpoint that we should not concern ourselves at all about weight.