I don’t know. You might be. A majority of the U.S. population is. Obesity rates are climbing and climbing. New Jersey’s obesity rate is 23.8% according to 2010 CDC estimates.
So what if you are fat? First, it’s unhealthy and your risk of dying early from all causes is elevated, so make it a goal to reduce your body fat by eating whole foods, cutting back on sugar and upping your exercise. Second, STOP telling yourself how fat you are!
You shouldn’t ignore or be pleased with your extra fat, but I do believe you have to tell yourself stories sometimes, see yourself in a positive light, AND to be a role model for your children you must stop talking about your fat….at least out loud!
How many times have you stood in front of the mirror and said “My thighs are so fat”? How often do you say out loud “I can’t wear that! My arms are like chicken wings – they’re too fat!”? Or how about “I’ve got this mommy belly that just won’t go away and I hate it!”?
You may say these things every single day, but be careful who hears it. Not only are you judging yourself, you are teaching your children, especially your daughters, to harshly judge themselves and their self worth on body image and the amount of fat they carry. According to The National Association of Social Workers, how adolescents formulate and define their body image ideals and subsequent self-comparisons is strongly influenced by personal, familial, and cultural factors. Many adolescent girls believe physical appearance is a major part of their self-esteem and their body is a major sense of self (American Association of University Women, 1991). The experience of body dissatisfaction can lead to poor health habits and low self-esteem. These negative feelings may contribute to a higher prevalence of depressive symptomatology and lower self-esteem among girls (Siegel,et al., 1998) and can affect health behaviors associated with poor eating habits, dieting, depression and anxiety, and eating disorders.
Instead of saying how fat you are, show your daughters how strong you are! Show them what your body and their bodies can do – climb over fences, run fast (or slow), climb flights of stairs, play tennis, kayak, pick up the baby 50 times a day, lift a golf bag, move furniture, play basketball, power shop at the mall – you get the idea!
Look in the mirror and find a body part you love (or like the most). Focus on that every day. Once you’re comfortable with that, find another body area to love! It only gets better!