Disclaimer: I know I'm not fat. In fact, I'm generally pretty happy with my level of fitness and my ability to fit into 98% of the clothes I keep in my closet and drawers. Despite that, at the moment, I'm back to counting calories and trying to shed a few pounds. It isn't about clothing sizes, it isn't about body image. It's all about race weight and getting faster. I correlate my weight directly to my ability to shed a few seconds off of my per mile pace, and I think that's a reasonable way to think about it.
Try not to judge my runner logic. Or even understand it, if it seems wackadoodle to you. It doesn't make sense unless you're a little bit of a crazy runner. Which, seemingly, is my normal. But I digress.
I actually have a thing about weight - and by a thing, I mean, I stress about not talking about it and not thinking about. I spent most of my life with the knowledge that a woman's weight, in many ways, defines her. Oh, nobody ever said it overtly - who would? - but the constant presence of a scale in the house growing up, then the public weigh-ins at West Point and in the Army, to the post-baby morphing of my body all contributed to my low level obsession with weight and body image. Directly contributing to my stress about not thinking about it when I think about it all. the. time.
That is so far from what I want for my children, I have made an effort to go to the opposite end of the spectrum, at least in conversations in our house.
We don't own a scale; we don't talk about weight; we don't call people fat or chubby or pudgy or anything along those lines in our house. We do talk about being healthy and fit, and making good choices with our food quantity and quality. I figure there is enough pressure in society at large; my kids don't need me adding to it.
Kids aren't oblivious, though - quite the opposite. They see and hear everything (except what you need them to, of course), and when I'm counting calories, they notice. The last thing I want is for either of them to think they need to lose weight. So the other day, when John asked me if I was counting calories "again," I nervously answered in the affirmative. His response?
"Oh, do you have another race coming up soon?"
My kid associates counting calories not with weight gain or loss, or with body image issues. He associates it with races and trying to get faster.
Mom for the win.