Rethinking health: Through the eyes of a child

mother and child

mother and childSo many of us grew up watching parents (mothers, in particular) constantly on one kind of diet or another. We grew up watching them weigh themselves religiously, replace meals with shakes, spit out food they ‘shouldn’t’ be eating, or skip meals in an attempt to ‘be good’ or as compensation for over-indulgence. We grew up learning that self-worth was based on appearance. We grew up believing that achieving an ideal body required deprivation and sacrifice. Essentially we grew up knowing that we would never be enough.

Surrounded by all that, how were we ever going to learn that health isn’t about body size, or appearance, or dieting? How were we ever going to learn to love ourselves just as we are? How were we ever going to see that we already are enough?

Something has to change. Generations after generations of girls are growing up believing that food is the enemy. They’re learning that their bodies aren’t something to love and care for, but rather, something to punish and force into submission – something to view with disappointment and disgust. They’re learning to look in the mirror and see everything that’s ‘wrong’ with them, and nothing that’s right. They’re learning to be like their mothers, and their grandmothers before them.

That’s not what I want for my little girl. That’s not what I want for your little girl.

That’s not what I want for you, either.

We can change. Patterns and habits can be broken – it’s never too late to start.

It’s time to look in the mirror and see what’s right. It’s time to teach your daughters, your granddaughters, even your friends, to do the same. It’s time to stand up for yourself. Listen to the words you say to yourself – the things you tell yourself. Would you ever stand for someone saying those things to your daughter, or your best friend? So why stand for saying them to you?

Yes, you might be carrying a bit more body fat than you’d like, be a little less toned than you’d like, or have wobbly bits that you wish weren’t there; but that doesn’t define who you are, and it certainly doesn’t define your worth. You are enough. Just as you are. Exactly as you are. You are beautiful, you are whole, and you are worthy.

When you look in the mirror, when you choose what you will or won’t eat, when you decide whether to exercise or not – do it from that place. Do it from the place that says you’re already enough. Do it from the place that says that because you’re enough, you deserve to be healthy, you deserve to be nourished, and you deserve to feel amazing. Let that be your guide. Throw out the media messages, the diet books, and the inner voice that say you have to do certain things – or not do certain things – to be good enough, and let love be your guide.

Look at your words and your actions through the eyes of your children. Consider how you want them to treat themselves, and then treat yourself the same. Show them love, show them nurturing, show them self-care and self-respect. Show them health, show them energy, and show them vibrancy and a zest for life. Show them that you deserve it, and show them that they deserve it.

It’s time to give up the ‘diets’ and the self-reproach. It’s time to be a mother to your inner child. Care for her, nourish her, and nurture her. Encourage her and support her. Build her up, rather than tearing her down. Listen to her, and love her. She is perfect, whole and complete.

YOU are perfect, whole and complete.

For more information about the author of this article, visit www.lanavernon.co.nz or www.facebook.com/heartcentredeating.

Image / FreeDigitalPhotos.net – photostock


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