One of my earliest memories related to body image is that of the famous Farrah Fawcett-in-the-red-swimsuit hanging on our refrigerator door to remind my Mom not to eat.

My Mom wasn’t overweight. But because she thought she was, I assumed I must be too.

By second grade, I was already convinced that I was fat. I wasn’t (the chubby phase of my life didn’t start until puberty), but it was the first of many years of struggle related to feeling good about my body.

Thankfully times have changed and we are all far more aware of the huge impact the messages our daughters receive–from us, the media and her peers–have on her body image and self-esteem. Most of us are intentional about communicating positive messages to our daughters about their bodies.

Is that enough? What we don’t always think about is how our actions and attitudes about our own bodies influence our daughters. My Mom certainly never told me I was fat. In fact, she told me just the opposite. But, actions speak louder than words and I didn’t believe her words.

Most of us see a lot of ourselves when we look at our daughters. The phenomenon works in both directions. Our daughters see themselves when they look at us.

If your daughter senses that you are unhappy with your body or how you look–either because she hears you say it outright or because you constantly make efforts to change your physical appearance–chances are she is learning to be dissatisfied with hers as well.

So, stop. Stop obsessing, stop battling, and start accepting and appreciating. If being good to yourself hasn’t been motivation enough to make peace with your body, do it for your daughter. Help her have a healthier and happier relationship with her body than you’ve had with yours.

And if you don’t actually feel acceptance and love for your own body, act as though you do. Given enough practice, you just might get good at it.

Be well!

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