Dieting and Setting a Precedent with Your Children

Every New Year, there are so many people that make the resolution to get fit, get healthy, exercise and diet. I am one of those. I am guilty of pretty much year after year, making the resolution to better my physical self, whether it is to diet, exercise or a combination of both.

What I have noticed this year however, is what effect this has on my daughter. She is 5 and a half years old, and she notices. Kids are our little mimics – listening to everything we say, watching what we do, and copying it all.

So when I say “No, I can’t eat that”, or “that is not healthy” or “I hate myself, I am so fat” – she hears it all. Kids are also little sponges. So just because they may not say anything or react on that now, it is still in her memory, something she will pull from in the future.

I lost my Mom at 14, but growing up, I remember her dieting. I remember her not wanting her picture taken. I remember her not liking herself. I remembered it all, and know it has to play on my subconscious. And I now see all those characteristics in myself.

Even now, my daughter will ask me “Is this healthy Mom”, or “I only want something healthy.” She will sit and watch me on the treadmill, and ask to use it when I am done. Which don’t get me wrong, it is important for her to know what foods are good for her to eat and that exercise is good, and at 5-6 years old it is innocent. But will she over examine her food when she is 15? Stop eating at 17? Be crazy obsessed with working out?

I don’t want her growing up thinking that her Mom hated herself and was always trying to change herself, like how I knew that my Mom wasn’t happy with herself. I want her to grow up knowing she should love who she is and that she is beautiful. And I want me to be her role model for that.

So this means that I need to change my thinking. Change the way I treat myself. Show my daughter that there is more to eating and being active than just what it does for the look of our bodies. That dieting is not ‘cool.’

Please don’t misinterpret this as me saying not to be mindful of your eating habits and physical activity in front of your children. I think we all just need to be careful how we go about it, as to leave our little sponges full of memories of confidence and ability to love themselves, and not try to change themselves!

Crystal is a stay-at-home-mom to two beautiful little children and a wife to one great husband! Together with her family, Crystal resides just outside of the nation’s capital in the Ottawa Valley. Not that Mom’s get a lot of spare time, but when she does, Crystal is busy as a co-founder of Ottawa Valley Moms.

  • Such a fantastic post Crystal! I think it is awesome that you have the self-awareness to know what you are doing and how it might affect her. I think many parents forget that their little sponges are taking it all in.