Should You Keep Your Diet a Secret to Protect Your Kid's Body Image?

The secret dietThe secret dietFor some reason, Casey and I have always been on different weight fluctuation schedules. She zigs while I zag. I zag while she zigs.

Just before we first got married, Casey went on a strict diet and strenuous exercise regimen hoping to hit a goal weight for her wedding. Meanwhile, I was in the middle of gaining noticeable weight. Casey pointed out that I no longer looked like the slim guy I was in high school and I took that as a challenge. I just wish I had better understood the change in metabolism that my body was undergoing at that time. My nighty jogging trips, interrupted by quick stops to the McDonald's for two Big Macs per visit, didn't seem to do the trick like they used to.

Six months into our marriage, I was up to the heaviest weight that I've ever been in my life. The only real wake-up call that things were getting out of control was when I played basketball. I used to be able to cut around people without much problem, but I started to realize that I was no longer cutting around people. Instead, people were jumping out of the way hoping not to get plowed by the oversized train that was coming at them full steam ahead.

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After some serious diet and exercise, I dropped down to my high school weight. Meanwhile, Casey gained quite a bit of weight while on an unnecessary medication. Several years later, Casey ironically dropped the weight while pregnant with Addie and I, you guessed it, gained weight.

And on and on and on the cycle went.

Last year, I started dropping serious weight again while following a strict diet and exercise routine. Casey, on the other hand, believes she has gone up on the scale. Consequently, Casey has decided to begin a diet that will reduce her caloric intake and change the types of foods she eats. The rest of us in this little family will continue to eat the foods that we've been eating.

Needless to say, Casey's change in eating habits will end up affecting the entire family. There's just no avoiding it and at some point Addie's going to ask why it is that her mom is always eating different things than the rest of us. She may even ask why it is that her mom is crying because she just wants that damn ice cream bar sooo, sooo bad.

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Casey and I discussed how this would affect the family and we decided that while my wife is on this diet, we will be telling Addie that Casey is eating different foods to make her body healthier than it was before. We will not mention weight or looks or the size of our pants, and that's how it will be long after Casey ends this upcoming diet. And that's how it will remain until Addie is grown and off living on her own.

Casey can do what she wants. She's a grown woman and she can make decisions that she feels is best for her body. If she wants to diet, I'll support her. If she wants to go on a nothing but ice cream for a week diet, I'll support her - I may even join her on that one. However, Addie doesn't need to know Casey's true reasons for being on whatever diet she's on.

My 7-year-old daughter doesn't need to be growing up wondering if she needs to go on a diet because her mom wanted to go on a diet. I want Addie to grow up understanding that everybody's body is different. We were all born differently with different traits and different strengths and there's nothing wrong with that.

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I want Addie to feel comfortable with other people's differences and I want her to feel comfortable with her own differences. Self-comfort leads to self-confidence, and self-confidence opens doors that lead to easier paths of success and happiness in life.

- By Cody Mullins
Follow Cody on Babble

For 12 simple ways to boost your kid's self-esteem, visit Babble!


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