Please be aware that this post may be triggering for some people.
When I was a kid, say from ages 10 to about 16, I was subjected to regular dining room table discussions about my weight.
These were conversations of Real Concern. The person initiating them felt that I needed to be told, repeatedly, that while I was not yet fat, I might be in the future. Like my mom.
I choose to believe that the adult who gave me this advice did not realize how damaging it could be. How damaging it was. She is a naturally thin person who possibly didn’t understand how horrifying this kind of thing could be to a person as young as I was. Or to any person of any age.
I’m quite sure that she didn’t ever know that afterward I would look at my body in the mirror and hate on whatever parts I didn’t think were perfect. (That was a lot of parts.) Or that afterward I would horde food and eat it in private so that she didn’t see me eating like a regular girl at meal times.
My mother was about 5’8″ and at her heaviest weighed maybe 200 pounds. She was a dead ringer for Marilyn Monroe and the most beautiful woman I’ve ever personally known. I don’t look like her at all, but I shouldn’t have been made to believe a comparison to her was a negative thing.
My mother is the blonde holding my two-week-old baby. I’m sitting next to her. I’m not-quite 21 in this photograph. My mom and I both weigh about 200 pounds. (Looking at this picture, when our faces are turned, I can see our bodies were actually very similar. Look at those legs!)
We are gorgeous.
That baby is 18 years old now. And I weigh about 140 pounds more than my mother ever did.
What if I’d been given permission to love my body when I was my daughter’s age?
What if we counteract the war on fat kids with a grassroots revolution aimed at building ALL kids up and making exercise safe and fun even for the skinny ones.
I propose we call it: Hey, Kid! Wanna play?