Monday, June 3, 2013

A lesson: Teaching our Sons to have posititve self image.

There have been two times in my life where I have felt comfortable in my skin. Those times are pregnancy.

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You see, I have suffered/suffer from an eating disorder. It started when I was 13. A group of girls that I was friends with all started taking diet pills. We were obsessed with being thin. Unhealthy for sure, but it's what we heard would shed the pounds quickly. Soon we realized that our hearts raced uncontrollably and that we felt horrible. That was the end of the diet pill craze. Later I started to become obsessed with exercising and calories. I would barely eat enough calories to sustain any substantial weight and then I would work off all that I could. I was a cheerleader. That was a big impact on my body image. Then came college. My sophomore year I joined a sorority and lived with 100 girls. Now I don't speak negatively about cheerleading or sororities because I loved both of them and I felt that I grew from both experiences. That said, it was living in the sorority that took my eating disorder to a whole new level. I won't go into details, but I struggled. It wasn't until my senior year of college that I started to seek help. 

I will never be "cured" of my eating problems and my inability to find the beauty in my body. I try each day but I struggle. It wasn't until my mom was visiting and I was trying to find something to wear. I made a comment in front of my oldest son that I didn't like shorts because "my legs always look fat in shorts." My mom and I went back and forth talking about whose legs looked fatter in shorts. Yes! We actually used the term fat in front of my 5 year old. 

This wasn't the first time. For years I have commented on my negative view of my body. I always complain about my stomach, my legs, my kness.... you name it. I talk to my husband about it, I talk to my mom, my friends, and even my tiny children. It didn't dawn on me until I was laying in bed with my 5 year old and he said to me "Mommy. Do I look fat in my shorts?" I said, "What! Absolutely not! Why would you say that?" He replied "Well you think you look fat in your shorts and you don't."

Gasp. Tear. Breathe. What have I done? When I found out I was having  boys I was relieved that I wouldn't have a girl to have to work through body image issues. It didn't dawn on me that I needed to provide a safe place, free of my own body issues, for my sons. Why I didn't think of this, I have no idea. 

The best thing of seeing your mistake is learning from it. I am trying to better myself and my sons with positive thoughts and comments on my body. To let them know that I do love myself and the way that I look. And mostly laying a foundation for my sons to have positive body images. 

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