As I sat down to eat, I heard you speaking to your mom about your weight. You referred to yourself as “fat.” Your mom said very little as you filled the space with your nonstop talk of food and weight, your big bones, the weight you had lost and gained back, and how that weight had redistributed itself on your body.
I couldn’t help but wonder if this had been the dynamic between you and your mom for your whole life. Perhaps from a young age, you showed signs of being on the bigger side, and your mom expressed her concern about that and encouraged you to watch your figure.
Though I’ve been in recovery for a long time, and I don’t even desire for a millisecond to go back to borderline anorexia, it was still so hard to hear. Then I turned and saw her.
I saw your precious daughter.
I hadn’t noticed her there initially because she was hidden next to your tall figure. But there she was, about 11 or 12 years old, on the cusp of adolescence, and she wasn’t saying a word.
Oh, how my heart ached for her!
I hope she knows what a precious gift she is. I hope that most of the time, you find lots of other things to talk about. I hope you reassure her that she is worth far more than whatever her weight might speak to her.
I hope she knows she is treasured for who she is.
As you got up to leave, I wanted to run over and tell her. Tell her that she is beautiful. Tell her that she is loved and cherished. And Mom, I wanted to tell you of a Savior who hung from a cross, declaring you worth much more than a number on the scale.
Instead, I grabbed my four year old and told him he is a gift of God and that he is deeply precious to me.
Moms and dads, grab your kids today. Pour out your heart and tell them that their worth will always be defined by the cross and not the messages the world or people would try to fill them with. Tell them that life is too short to be constantly worried about what you will eat or drink, or what you will wear. As Jesus said, “These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need” (Matthew 6:32-33, NLT).
Fill your kids’ heads with messages of love and acceptance and affirmation because the messages of the enemy will eventually come, seeking to devour them. Tell them these true and noble and lovely (Philippians 4:8) things before the enemy has a chance to try and fill their heads with lies.
And even more importantly, parents, tell yourself the same things.
Role of a Mother in a Daughter’s Body Image – video resource
My Mother’s Weight Log – Amy Schaller
Mom I Feel Fat – book resource by: Sharon A. Hersh, LPC