Sometimes it is all too easy to look in the mirror and wiggle your jiggly bits and sigh, "I can't wear that, I'm too fat." Even with all of the knowledge that we have about photoshopping, airbrushing and the power of make-up, the pictures in the magazines still make us feel a little inferior sometimes. It's a cliché but women will ask friends, partners and children, "Does my butt look big in this?" Because there is always that devil on your shoulder, telling you that you're not good enough, you should be thinner, fitter, prettier...
Insecurity is contagious, it spreads even when you don't mean for it to, and more often than not, spreads onto those closest to us. You are your daughter's first role model, little girls want to be just like Mommy, and if Mommy has hang-ups, so will she. From tots to teens you will be the most important role model in her life.
However, hope is not lost, with a little bit of effort, you can help your daughter, and yourself, to be more body positive and understand self-care and self-love.
You should begin each day with a bowl full of mindfulness each morning. Oh and cereal, or toast, or half a grapefruit, or whatever you're into, because breakfast is the most important meal of the day! There are many ways to be mindful, some women like to pray or meditate, while others feel that journaling works best for them. Think about your overall plan for the day and how you intend to achieve that. This is a a great thing to get your daughter(s) involved in, as each milestone you pass throughout the day will make you feel a little accomplished, a little more confident and a little bit better about yourself. Happiness is infectious, and it's time to sneeze.
Setting yourself goals is all fine and well, however, you're not going to cross the river in one stride! If the end goal is getting rid of the flabby bits under your arms, you know exactly what I mean, then put on your favorite song and take 3 minutes to lift some canned soup. If you want to eat healthier, decide on no snacks between meals, or you'll eat an extra piece of fruit today. Use these as stepping stones to get over the river. Showing your daughter simple healthy behaviors like these instead of dramatic ones, teaches her that it's the small steps that lead up to the big reward.
Spend two minutes browsing through instagram or Pinterest and you can be sure that you'll come across three things, 1) someone's dinner, 2) a baby sitting in something weird, like a pumpkin, and 3) half naked gym selfies! What we're focusing on is the third one, fitspiration, also known as fitspo. This is a poorly thought out attempt by the fitness industry to try and make average Joes and Janes healthier.
However, studies show, that being exposed to fitspo, results in more weight gain, not weight loss. It's almost as if they didn't realize that no amount of inspirational quotes alongside a gym bunny's tanned and toned abs is ever going to inspire women to go to the gym. It'll just inspire most to go to Krispy Kreme and eat all of their feelings. Plus your daughters deserve to understand that being healthy is about mental and physical well being and not about how they look in a sports bra and matching hotpants.
Your body has been through a tough time of it, it's grown, it's dealt with some hate in the past, maybe from others, probably from you, calling it fat or skinny or frumpy. Well it's time to stop blaming your body and start thanking you body, out loud, every day. It may feel silly at first, but a little goes a long way.
Thank your belly for carrying your daughter(s) for nine months, thank your arms for giving cuddles, thank your legs for making it to the top of the stairs, it doesn't matter part what you're thanking, just do it! Proclaim positive affirmations, and do it in front of your daughters, let them see you be thankful for your body, it'll make you and them feel better in the long run. Research shows that being grateful, leads to better sleep, higher fitness levels and lower rates of depression.
Shut Up Shamers!
Being body positive is great, but you need to be body positive about all bodies, not just your own. All women need to be aware about how they talk about their bodies and others'. Big surprise body shaming doesn't encourage healthy behavior, nope, in fact it does exactly the opposite. You need to do a negativity clear out, first of all unfollow all media that promotes body shaming. So Britney gained a few pounds, get over it, pointing out the flaws in others should not make you feel better about yourself.
The second thing you need to do is be very aware about who you surround yourself with, I mean sure Mary Sue is funny, but she also likes to point out that your jeans are looking a bit tight on you and laughs at the "cankles" of the woman sitting at the next table in Starbucks. Your daughter does not need to hear every woman around her body shame every other woman around her. You reap what you sew, so start sewing body positivity!
A Tweak A Week
Being fit and healthy isn't just an end goal or a destination, it's a way of life. There are four healthy habits that you need to add to your routine, one week at a time. Don't try doing them all at once, or you might get overwhelmed.
There are four tweaks, sip it, eat it, move it and stop it.
1.) Sip it
Keep yourself hydrated! Drinking more water throughout the day, even a few sips here and there, makes you feel better and even helps lower stress!
2.) Eat it
You know you should but you probably don't, eat five servings of fruit and veg a day. Plus what better way to get your kids to eat veggies than making and munching on rainbow salad, or watermelon stars.
3.) Move it
Get up off of your butt and move for thirty minutes a day, maybe you like to walk, maybe you go to yoga or spin class, or maybe you secretly dance along to the songs on the Disney Channel. No judging. As long as you're moving every day, you'll really start to see the benefits.
4.) Stop it
Your body needs to wind down, especially before bed. That means no more stuffing your face after 9pm, take some chill out time, read a book or watch some TV and then get to bed. Try to get at least 7 hours of sleep, the better rested you are, the better your body (and mind) will be.
In the end, caring for your body in a healthy way, respecting it and yourself, is a wonderful way to live your life. Body positivity, self care and self love are the best traits that you can pass down to others, and it is these traits that your daughters should inherit from you, for happy, healthy lives.