You’ve got to carry that weight
She’s so heavy (with two apologies to the Beatles)
For the money I have spent trying to get rid of superfluous body fat, my daughter and I could be enjoying our fantasy house on Newfound Lake. Instead, I continue to possess enough stored energy to get me through whatever apocalyptic event my heartwarmingly protective metabolism is worried about.
As the mom of a female child, however, I would prefer I was able to display a healthy body and lifestyle that reflect solid nutrition and fitness choices — instead of “how cavemen survived long winters when the sabertooth tiger burgers ran out.”
I’m caught in a trap. We all are, if we’re trying to lose weight in front of our children. Because though we want to instill good, healthy habits that prevent illness and myriad other problems, we’re also sometimes berated for our efforts.
How so? Well, perhaps a friend shares an article on social media with topics like “moms should never ever comment on their daughters’ bodies — good or bad” or how “fat-shaming is an epidemic worse than obesity itself” or “are you setting your child up for an eating disorder with your own negative self-talk about your body/weight?”
Gain or lose, you’re a loser either way, in one camp of thought or another.
My mom was fat when I was growing up. I didn’t think much about it. I didn’t have social media breathing down my neck as a teen, telling me all the latest shoulds and should nots, and widening my shocked and naive eyes with filtered and edited photos and videos of perfect women who have had more work done on them than my old Ford Granada.
But my kid does.
When I had her, I vowed to break the obesity cycle of my female relatives. I nursed for 18 months; I made all her baby food, cooking organic fruits and vegetables; I have never given her soda or fast food. I wanted so much for her to not become trapped in miserable, exhausting, time-consuming and expensive decades of weight-loss attempts her mother and grandmother are still enduring.
I won’t know if that cycle will be broken until it is. In the meantime, I have to keep showing my daughter that a) it’s probably easier to stay a healthy weight than to get back to one; and b) I love her — and myself — enough to try and fail, and try and fail, again and again, until I find a healthy lifestyle that I can maintain. I will continue my own self-improvement strides and I hope she someday admires me for it.
In the meantime… sabertooth tiger burger, anyone?
Kathleen Palmer is an award-winning editor and journalist, marketing/communications content writer and occasional comedic actress. Nothing makes her happier than making people laugh. She is a single mom to a teenager, so naturally she enjoys a glass of wine, or two.