I have always had a very poor body image and battled with eating disorders for several years as a teenager. I know because of my history, my daughter is especially prone to have a poor body image and battling an eating disorder at some point in her life. I also understand that what I do, say and model for her is very influential. I remember thinking of myself as fat and ugly as early as 2nd grade. If my daughter were to follow a similar pattern, I have only 5 more years to instill healthy eating and good exercise habits. I also have 5 years to straighten up my act in modeling these habits and my own positive self image.
I do not want to constantly be dieting or teach her that there are good or bad foods. I have been very careful to try to keep a variety of foods in the house and to cook meals for the family that are healthy. We offer fruits and/or vegetables at every meal at home. When eating out, I have had people at restaurants comment on how great it is that Reese will choose to eat peaches, tomatoes or salad over pizza or chicken nuggets (Aidan is still young enough he eats whatever we choose for him). Whenever we have a snack, we usually grab a piece of fruit or veggies before anything else. Guests to our house have been suprised that my children beg at my feet for pieces of grapefruit, which we usually peel and share before bedtime. So I think that we have done a fairly good job of teaching our kids how to eat healthfully but not made it a chore or diet, but a lifestyle.
I do need to work on showing the kids more ways to move and be active. We do play outside or go to the park now that the weather is warmer, but when we are in the house at night, you can usually find me cleaning or sitting on the couch watching tv while the kids play.
Finally, I need to work on the things that I say. For example, this morning while getting ready for work, I passed a mirror and sighed at myself not liking how the outfit I chose fit. Reese happened to be standing there and grabbed my shirt and told me that I looked pretty. I then asked Randy if he thought the outfit looked ok together and on me? He agreed with Reese and I left for work still feeling uncomfortable in my clothes. I know that I need to not say negative things, especially in front of Reese, but getting dressed is an ordeal for me every day!
How do you instill a positive self image in your children?