Food trends are everywhere. Are you Vegetarian? Vegan? Raw? Pescitarian? Paleo? Dairy, Wheat & Nut free? Alkaline Dieting? Blood Type Dieting? Atkins? Zone Dieting? Well working in the food industry, I’d hypothesise you are now part of the majority. Everyone seems to be looking for something to help with optimising their health. And power to you! If it works for you, that’s great!
But as I lay here tonight in bed all warm under my doona listening to the rain outside, I look across to my beautiful daughter laying beside me. She’s so unbelievably beautiful. Inside and out. She has an appetite for life, like no one I’ve met. And she loves HUGE! She also gives as good as she gets and is very comfortable in her own skin. She’s been in my bed for a couple of weeks now. Never something I thought would happen. I’ve always been really strong about that being my space. Maybe we both just need the closeness at the moment. Whatever it is, we’ll work through it in time.
Parenting is a series of contradictions. The best are all the parenting decisions we make before we become parents. You remember,
When I’m a parent, I will never bribe my child; Reality: If you eat all your vegetables you can have icecream… We just call it incentives or positive parenting to make ourselves feel better: Or…
When I’m a parent, my kid will only eat organic foods grown from locally sourced farms; Reality: snot becomes a food group. Well I guess it is natural and locally sourced at least.
But you get my point. And from my experience this continues throughout the different life stages.
So here is my girl sleeping next to me for the first times in her 5 years and I just get lost in my thoughts about how she must be experiencing this world. How do both of my kids perceive this world? I love to ponder these things. But tonight my attention was on a topic that has come up a bit since having my daughter. This whole thing of physical appearance. It has been an ongoing thing in her short life and that of her little peers of them often commenting and focusing on outward ‘beauty’ and physical traits. My niece even commented one day that she would only eat salad, as that’s what Barbie eats. She was 4:(
Our Western world is slammed with imagery of ideals. What we should look like, how we should dress, where we should live, what we should drive etc etc etc. Marketing would have you believe if you have all these things you will be the epitome of happy. We adults act this out, every single day and these beautiful little sponges we cherish so dearly, pick up on every little bit of it.
I mean it is not entirely new. I’ve gotten comments my whole life about my weight. I was called ‘Ana’ (anorexic), a surfboard (flat and straight up and down), and a boy. If I had a dollar for every time I was told to not turn sideways or I’d get lost or to eat a burger, well I’d have a LOT of Big Macs.
Truth is I eat a lot. I love food. I was blessed with a fast metabolism. But I also eat well. I love food that is good for my body. I treat my body well for the most part and always make sure I treat myself too. For some reason people think it’s ok to comment on this. It’s not. If you wouldn’t look at someone and tell them to lay off the burgers; it’s equally as rude to tell someone they need to eat more.
Its not new for these types of comments to get thrown around. In fact it’s almost a right of passage in growing up to be on the recieving end of some of this. Character building if you will. But I think everyone would agree. It’s turned up a notch since we were kids and it only seems to be getting worse.
My take on this is because we, the parents, the people who are here to guide this younger generation, are not entirely happy or confident within ourselves. So if it’s all around our kids in their shows and entertainment, in their magazines, displayed by their peers, and modelled by their parents… How are kids going to know that they are enough just the way they are?
If they sit down at the dinner table and their parents are on this diet or that diet, who’s displaying a healthy relationship to food?
At my reiki course the other week, I actually felt uncomfortable with my food choices. Everyone was discussing this new super food or that new substitute for a common food that is now considered poison. And honestly I don’t know enough to comment either way. I don’t disagree that the way we eat in general needs to be discussed so we can make good choices, but like the focus on our physical appearance to me, it’s getting out of hand.
All we need to focus on in my opinion, is self love. If you love yourself, are happy and have respect for the vessel that is your body, then your body will function just as its supposed to and you will easily look exactly the way you should. And that optimum is as different for everyone as we are different! Makes sense doesn’t it!?
What works for one, won’t work for others. But don’t deprive yourself. And don’t over indulge. Just LISTEN to what your body is telling you and the rest should flow.
Stop shaming people for their weight. Big or small. Stop shaming people for their food choices. Why don’t we start telling people all the good things about them and encourage them to see the good things too. Then in that they will only want to treat themselves and their body with the love and respect it deserves.
So as I look at my beautiful daughter I’ve made a decision. I’m going to encourage my kids, starting tomorrow, to tell themselves something they love about themselves in the mirror every morning. Every single day. Looking right at themselves with love and adoration. I do it for me as a part of the process to undo some of the past hurts and to brighten my future. Imagine a generation of people who’ve done it all along! I think that would be one happy healthy bunch of people.
I honestly believe that self love is the answer to everything. I also believe it’s up to us to start this change. Let’s stop looking outward for happiness and joy.
Its been inside each and every one of us all along:)
Much love, Michelle xxx