March 30, 2016

Mommy Don’t Eat That, You’re on a Diet

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“Mommy don’t eat that, you’re on a diet”….are words that came out of my 6 year old son’s mouth one day as I was holding a cookie, about to stuff it in my mouth. All these thoughts went through my head, some which were “why does he think I’m on a diet,” “I’m pretty sure I’ve ruined my child’s innocence,” and “I’m quite possibly the worlds worst mom.” In any regard I’m pretty sure kids aren’t supposed to know or even say the dreaded ‘D’ word.

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Diet is never a word I have never intentionally used, but I’m sure at one point that word did come out of my mouth. I mean things slip out in conversation or on the phone, so I can’t be sure. I guess I took for granted the fact that my kids are really taking in things that I don’t even realize.

As parents we try to do the best we can, and be the best we can for our family, children and ourselves. I know through the years my kids have seen me go from overweight, to a mom that goes to the gym everyday, and eats “yucky” fish (according to my 6 year old) because it’s good for you.

What do we talk about? We absolutely do talk about “why mommy goes to the gym so much.” I don’t nag about it or dwell on it, but I do think it is worth the conversation. I mean my kids go with me sometimes 6 days a week to the gym. I want them knowing why the gym and fitness is important to me, and why I spend so much time there. I want them seeing me trying, failing and succeeding in all things…and that includes my fit life habits. I want them knowing that going to the gym is healthy and important, but I also want them knowing there is a balance. I want to be a good example of balance. My life is better with the gym, BUT my life is NOT the gym.

I can’t pretend like my gym and healthy fit life habits don’t exist, like they won’t have some type of impact on my children. But I want to make sure it’s a positive one. I don’t want them growing up thinking back to this time, and thinking I went to the gym and watched what I ate because I wasn’t happy with myself. I want them understanding that I spend time taking care of my body, developing strength because I loved myself, loved learning new things, and feeling healthy and strong. I want to be better, happier and healthier for them.

So getting back to the cookie. The truth is food is rarely a topic of conversation at our house. We eat what we eat, end of story. Of course, my kids do hate what I make about ninety percent of the time, and would prefer pizza and Mac and cheese to about any dinner that I make. But I’m guessing I’m not alone in that battle. I have always felt like the “diet” word is a bad word and literally would scar them for the rest of their lives, so I try not to use that word. But maybe it isn’t so bad. I mean, dieting for a purpose is something my kids have seen me do when competing in a NPC Bikini competition. They saw me set a goal, accomplish it, and succeed even when I was scared to fail. But then again they’ve also seen me sit with them and have pizza and ice cream.

The truth is it’s not the “d” word itself that matters….it’s the example we set that matters.

So as I was sitting there pondering if I had done irreversible damage to my son. Thinking what the effects of him thinking that I was “dieting” was going to have on his future….I took a breath and I said, “I can have this cookie, I want to eat it, so I will, thanks.” I really didn’t want to give it more explanation, I didn’t want to dwell on it. I just wanted to set a balanced example of eating for my boys…and that night, it included a cookie.
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