I want to preface this post by saying something that anyone who knows me in real life already knows but might not be something that others are aware of: I struggle heavily with my weight. And I mean that. I am past the point of morbidly obese. But I am working on it and as of yesterday I am 11 pounds down from my starting weight. My struggle with my weight began as a young child. I look back now and see what a beautiful little girl I was and wonder why did nobody tell me? But they didn't and so I bought the lie. As I grew so did my waistline. This has haunted me for all of my adulthood and having a daughter really and truly scares me. I don't want my precious baby to struggle with her self image or her weight as she gets older. So these are ten things I'm going to do for her to help prevent that to the best of my ability - and the rest of it will be up to God and the thousands of prayers I will pray for her over the years. (I do these things for my sons too by the way but I know women as a whole tend to struggle most with their appearance and weight.)
1 - I will tell her she is beautiful and MEAN it! Sure right now she's 1 and petite but even if she was 1 and chunky I would tell her how gorgeous she is because it isn't her body size that makes her gorgeous, it is her happy and spunky personality that God gave her shining through.
2 - When she has problems or stress I will teach her to pray and lean on God instead of turning to chocolate or other "stress" foods. I will teach her that God is the only thing that can take away the anxiety and ease the stress of her life.
3 - I will teach her healthy eating habits from birth. Started out well with 14 mo of nursing and lots of veggies and fruits. I love watching her munch an apple or eat her broccoli at dinner. As she and the boys grow we will learn about portion sizes and how food works to make our bodies work. I feel that a better understanding of the real reasons we eat will help keep them eating for nutrition and not for other emotional needs.
4 - I will teach her that she is fearfully and wonderfully made. And I won't teach it as a cliche. I will do my very best to help her view herself through the eyes of her Creator.
5 - I will not make a scale accessible to her. We have one right now and I use it regularly for my weight loss process but once I get to my goal weight the scale will be put up. I will not allow my daughter to check her weight daily or even weekly. Feeling good and fitting in her clothes well are all the indicators she NEEDS to know that she is good to go.
6 - I will teach her the value of exercise - not as a weight loss tool but as a way to appreciate and enjoy and keep her body healthy. My boys think that exercising is fun and they understand that it helps our body be healthy and strong and I want that same mentality for my daughter.
7 - I will teach my daughter not to play the comparison game. She was made to be herself not Miss Perfect on a magazine cover who was mostly airbrushed anyway. As a mother the comparison game is so easy to fall into because so often we've spent all of our pre-teen and teenage years playing it.
8 - I will teach her modesty. I will teach her that modesty is beautiful. Being modest shows that she values herself too much to show off everything she's got to every boy/man alive.
9 - I will spend my time focusing on teaching my daughter to have good character rather than focusing on her body and weight. It is the world's idea that our appearance is all that matters or what matters most but the bible makes it very clear that our character, our spirit, is truly what matters in the eternal perspective of life.
10 - I will watch my words VERY carefully. I will NOT comment off-handedly about her thighs or hips or any such thing. I will NOT say - honey you're very pretty but.... because there is NO but. I will not make my opinion of her beauty conditional and I certainly will never make my love for her conditional.
I will work my hardest to do these things for my daughter in hopes that she has vastly different struggles as an adult than I have had. I know she will still have struggles because that is life in our fallen world. But I will do my personal best to prevent this particular struggle for her and hopefully help her to be a stronger person than myself both in character and in body.
11 - I went to get Princess out of bed and when I did another one occurred to me. So here it is - behind the scenes I will encourage her daddy to vocalize and show his love for her even as she gets older. Especially as she gets older. I think that a LOT of a girls sense of herself comes from her Daddy's love and approval and as her mama and his wife I can definitely encourage that.