Monday, March 27, 2017

What You Say Matters

The idea for this post struck me while I was babysitting a few weeks back. Kids are like sponges and soak up everything you say- the good and the bad. I found it odd that parents teach kids to say please and thank you, the ABC's, and about the world around them the lesson most often missed is how to love yourself. Kids parrot what they hear from their parents. Ever hear a kid say a bad word and ask them where they got it from? Chances are they heard it from one of their parents.

One of the things I heard most often growing up was how unhappy my mom was about how she looked. She always complained about needing to lose 5 pounds, how she couldn't have whatever food because it would make her fat, body part x is ugly, oh my gosh another wrinkle, a zit appeared and now I'm hideous, never wanted to wear a bathing suit because I jiggle, and the scale was never far away. This is what I heard over and over and over again and let me tell you it stuck. I grew up incredibly insecure about how I looked, my weight, and I never thought I was good enough. It lead to some pretty bad habits.

At a really young age I remember weighing myself and trying to figure out what was a good weight and what was a bad weight. When a zit would appear I would think it was the end of the world and want to put a bag over my head. I would stand in front of the mirror and pick out flaws- my stomach isn't flat enough, I don't have a thigh gap, my hair is too wavy, and so on. I literally had zero self confidence. It was what I saw, so I didn't think there was anything wrong with that behavior, but there is. 

I'm not trying to pick on my mom, but to say her behavior was healthy is far from the truth. I wish I would have had a woman tell me that looks are not the end of the world, everyone gets zits, for the love of pete throw the dang scale out the window, and nothing is more attractive than a woman with self-confidence. Instead I struggled for years with restrictive eating, then binging because I was so hungry, I hated wearing a bathing suit, and honestly I hated myself. 

Self-love is not something that comes easily and it's a process to learn. Surrounding yourself with strong women who emulate a healthy lifestyle and don't obsess over weight, every calorie consumed, etc. will help you immensely on the journey. You're not going to love yourself every day. Some days you might be more bloated and feel nasty, other days you may feel super confident rocking a crop top- everyone has good and bad days, that's life. 

I have days where my stomach is flat and I feel great, but I also have days where it looks like I'm six months pregnant and I feel like a bloated whale. No one, not celebrities, not fit instagram stars, NO ONE stays lean 24/7. Do I love my body every single day? No I don't, but I respect my body and it's limits. 

You have one body for your entire life so be kind to it. Fuel it with fruits, vegetable, and whole grains, go to sleep, exercise regularly- find a workout that you enjoy doing, but also live your life. If you want froyo, get froyo, but don't get an overflowing cup. Don't go for a run after to burn off the calories. Find balance in your life. Find what works for you. Everyone is so different so what works for me might not work for you and vice versa. 

Just remember that what you say and what you do impact those around you, whether it be positively or negatively. You never know who is watching you so be mindful. Most importantly, love yourself. I never want to hear my baby cousins fret over how much they weigh or if they have love handles. Instead, I want them to embrace their uniqueness and be proud of who they are. A scale simply tells you how much you weigh. It cannot tell you anything else. Do not let that number dictate how you feel about yourself.

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