This is a note to my own daughters, apologizing for not modeling or teaching them: (and other young people as well, who grew up with similar role models.)
That their bodies are uniquely beautiful and individual...and that food has a purpose and can be enjoyed.
My dearest daughters,
I want to apologize for not being a very good role model for you when in comes to food, eating and body image. I was too scared to teach you the wrong things, and contribute to you not feeling good enough.
I grew up in a quest for a better body, knowing and believing that mine did not look like it should and was not "good" enough.
It consumed all my thoughts, actions and behaviors. It was all I knew.
As you both grew up, I actually tried to impose the exact opposite of my own thoughts about food and body image on you, because I did not want you to grow up like me, obsessed with food, calories and the numbers on the scale.
I wished for you both to have a healthy relationship with food and your bodies.
I would like to take this opportunity to apologize for the following behaviors I am not proud of:
- Saying no to a slice of your birthday cakes (I didn't want to consume the calories)
- Not eating dinner with you at night (because I had been eating all afternoon)
- Offering you food to ease your pain (I didn't know what else to do)
- Not teaching you a healthy balance and educate you on the importance of food (I did not know it myself)
- Being angry when you couldn't sleep (and caught me eating cheese-its)
- Witnessing my own body hatred when I looked in the mirror (Hearing my internal "mini-me" tell me how fat I was)
- Always being to "tired" to play outside or swim with you at the beach (I had spent all my energy at the gym earlier in the day)
- The hours you spent at the day care in the gym
- Seeing me throw clothes on the floor in fits of anger
- Witnessing the "changing of the rules around food" when other people were around (trying to show others I was a good parent)
I wish I knew then, what I know now.
I would like to take this opportunity to share what I have learned:
NOW I would teach you
- How to love and appreciate that unique and special body you live in.
- To listen and trust your own internal messages of hunger and fullness
- That food is not good or bad, it is just food
- To strengthen your own inner MAXI-ME's (the positive, supportive, kind and compassionate inner voice you have in your head) by listening positive self talk with you
I would also:
- Model balanced eating and moving behaviors
- Look at my own body with respect and appreciation
- Enjoy dinners, birthday cake, playing at the playground and swimming at the beach
- Stick up for our families relationship with food, no matter who was around.
I am writing this to let you know that we are all human and make mistakes sometimes. It is part of what makes us unique and special, and through these mistakes it creates the opportunity for us to learn and grow. I am sorry for my mistakes as your mom.
For you both...
I wish you joy & happiness as you navigate your adult lives
I wish you acceptance and appreciation of your bodies
I wish you freedom and peace with food and eating
I wish you forgiveness of self when mistakes are made
I wish you support of good friends and family when times get tough
I wish you continued growth and learning
I wish you a life full of experiences and memories
I wish you much laughter & love