I Hope My Daughter Never Gets Fat

I know what it's like to be the I know what it's like to be the I am a lot of things, but skinny is not one of them. I was thin once a long, long time ago back when I was a little kid. At 8 pounds, 1 ounce, I was a fairly averaged-sized baby, not in the range of the recent big baby trend. Throughout my toddler and preschool years, I was considered a skinny-mini who wore size XS. But somewhere around the time I reached the third grade I started gaining weight. A lot of weight... and I wasn't so skinny anymore.

While there are many positive traits I hope to pass along, there are a few aspects of my life growing up that I never want her to experience. Being the "fat girl" is one of them. My daughter was born weighing less than 7 pounds and has grown steadily but on the smaller side. At the age of three, she is barely 27 pounds. While I'm thankful for her steady growth, I can't help but wonder if she will continue to be slim and healthy, or if she'll suddenly start putting on the weight like I did.

I will always love her regardless of her size.

I want her to be happy and healthy and value herself. I don't want her to get wrapped up in what other people think or cry herself to sleep because someone said hurtful things to her. I don't want others to judge all of her abilities based solely on her dress size. I want her to go shopping for clothes without feeling ashamed.

I want her to be healthy and love herself.

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For most of my life, I've struggled with loving myself. My self-image is constantly challenged both by how the world perceives me and by how I think the world perceives me. I realize thin does not always equal healthy, but I know firsthand how it feels to be fat-shamed anyway. I never want my kids to feel the pain and guilt and self-loathing that comes with being overweight like me.

As a family, we continue to make changes to be healthier, but there are certain things I am more mindful about with the kids. We encourage being active (which really isn't hard for toddlers!) and eating good food. Snacks and treats are limited as well as where they are eaten. We talk about needing to eat so our bodies have energy, but we don't force anyone to clear their plates.

The biggest one is how we talk about our bodies. I don't want her to hear my negative self-talk or comments about other peoples' sizes. I try not to say too much about how thin she is or how fat I am. Instead of focusing on weight, we talk about her and her brother growing bigger, taller and stronger. Unfortunately, I can't shield her from society and the media forever. Hopefully, our approach will help her grow up happy, healthy and confident without relying on the scale to determine how she feels about herself.

- By Darcy Zalewski

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