Friday, March 16, 2012

Body Image

Yesterday the girls tackled their drawers and closet so we could see what still fit(not much) so we would know what to start picking up to be ready for Spring and Summer.  They have both grown several inches and shoe sizes this past year, something that Jay's wallet will not appreciate! 

Sarah and Ellen are about 4 years apart, but they have completely different body types.  Ellen is a much faster grower than Sarah, who is more petite.  Ellen has some extra weight around her middle, while Sarah has a long, lean body.  So they both end up being about the same size in clothes. 

I find it challenging to make sure that I stay positive about Ellie's body image.  We talk a lot as a family about healthy choices, (we generally only have dessert on the weekend and try to have healthy snacks on hand), and we keep an eye on portion size.  Now that the weather is nicer the kids are all spending more time outside.  Mike spends time with Ellie when he's home helping her get ready for softball or organizing wiffle ball or soccer games in the yard with most of the older kids.  Mike had a similar body type as Ellie before he went through his big growth spurt in high school and had an awkward couple years when he felt uncomfortable taking his shirt off in the summer.  So he worries about Ellie feeling bad about herself and does a good job encouraging her to exercise by these fun family outdoor games. 

Ellen doesn't ever talk about her body shape.  She is still innocent and happy go-lucky...she hasn't been tainted by the media's constant push about body image.  I want to keep it that way!  She is a beautiful girl, inside and out!  I want her to feel good about herself and am extra conscious of helping her find clothes that make her feel pretty and flatter the shape she has right now.

Sarah took after Jay's side of the family in terms of metabolism and body type, while Ellie took after me.  It makes me feel bad that she will have to struggle more with her weight than her sister will.  I need to work through and manage my own feelings of guilt regarding body image.  I feel guilty about the genes she inherited.

I definitely struggle about body image.  Having lots of babies, and too little will power(!), has definitely taken its toll over the years.  I tend to be pessimistic in regards to weight loss, too.  It seems so hard and takes so much time to lose the weight that I usually give up before I really get started.  I don't love to exercise, and taking time to do it amid running the house and taking care of the kids is hard.  Taking "me" time makes me feel guilty, too.  (I come from a long line of French Canadian guilt that I am trying not to pass on to my kids!)

I love Susie Orman's quote "Stand in Your Truth.".  It's meant for personal financial truth, which was very enlightening for me over the past couple of years.  But it fits for so many situations in life.  If I "stand in my truth" about my weight/body image, I can look at the situation without the guilt and the bad feelings.  I can simply say I am not happy with the way I look and the way it makes me feel and come up with a plan to change.  Then I can choose to stick to the plan of healthy eating and exercising at least 3-4 days a week.  The toughest part is staying positive and refusing to give up, even when I have a day or two where my choices are not the best.  Instead of berating myself and giving up, I can just choose to start again.  Each day is a new day with lots of opportunities!  I'm working on something for me.  I'm setting a better example for all my kids.  Most importantly, being healthy and caring for the body God gave me will allow me to give more physically(more energy) and emotionally(feeling more positive) to my family and friends.  And, of course, if you lose weight you get to buy new clothes...and I do love to shop!:)