is my child fat?

Following my post about my new Untold Stories feature I’ve already had several people send me their stories, which I’m really thrilled about. It means a lot to have you trust me with your thoughts so thank you! If you have a story or a concern of your own to share then do get in touch. 

Today’s story is on a really interesting subject – that of children and weight. It can be a really tough one to talk about because there’s such an anti-diet movement at the moment, which is fantastic in a lot of ways, but there’s also a fine line between embracing your body as it is and still understanding the importance of eating good foods and treating your body well. With children it’s especially hard because eating habits and the stories we tell ourselves about food embed themselves from such a young age. 

If you have any thoughts on the subject please do leave a comment, or share the post. I’d really appreciate any support you can show for this new regular feature.

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Firstly, to be clear, I have no idea how much my children actually weigh or what their BMI is. I just know that since my husband and I separated, they’ve both gradually got a little plumper, to the point that I am now bothered by it. To complicate my concerns, when I raised the issue with my ex, hoping to create some joint rules and strategies about junk food, snacks etc, he responded that in his opinion, the children don’t look overweight, they look happy.

A bit of context – I’ve always struggled with my weight, and so has their dad. As a clever but overweight child, I was bullied and felt different and unhappy. As an adult I lost a significant amount of weight after the birth of my first child. I’m not currently completely happy with my weight but I am more accepting of my body than I have ever been. Knowing that this issue is triggering for me, I consulted a counsellor. At the heart of it, as much as I do worry about my children’s short term and future health, I don’t want them to feel unattractive and uncomfortable as I did for many years. And I don’t want people to look at my children and judge me as a mother.

It really bothers me that I can see rolls of fat on my children’s stomachs, but I also don’t want to give them a complex about their appearance, I want them to be body positive. The older one is starting puberty and someone else mentioned she had a bit of puppy fat. It’s very hard when she complains about her stomach area to know what to say. She needs to understand that there is a correlation between what she eats and the health of her body, so I’ve told her that healthy choices of food will help keep her body a healthy shape, and that planking exercises will strengthen her core, but haven’t made any changes to the way I feed her. She gave up sweets for new year, which I was slightly concerned about, but didn’t discourage. View Post

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So far this year I’ve been quite good at having ideas and less good at doing anything about them. I could make some excuse about Christmas and mince pies and things like that but I felt the same this time last month, so it must just be me. I can’t blame Elizabeth Shaw and her mints.

(Question: Is Elizabeth Shaw actually a person? Did she invent the chocolate mint?)

Last week I told you about my new brunch club idea, and actually I have been busy with that one. I’ve eaten a LOT of brunch this week, I’ve just not quite got round to writing about it. Baby steps though right?

The other idea I’ve been sitting on for a while is about the stories that we tell online and, more importantly, those that we don’t. Increasingly over the last couple of years I’ve felt that I’ve not been able to talk about the things in my life that take up most of the space in my head, and I think that feeling of lacking authenticity and connection with you has contributed to the midlife unravelling, the idea of not quite being able to give a true version of myself.

I wrote about the feeling a little while ago, of telling the truth but not the whole truth, and it got me thinking about what I could do about it. It’s not just that I want to be able to share my own stuff, it’s also that I genuinely think there is a gap in the support available online. I know this sounds crazy – how can there be NOT ENOUGH information online? – but when I’ve found myself struggling, in bad relationships maybe or with things going on with teenagers, Googling desperately for stories of people in similar situations, they’ve not always been easy to find. I don’t want facts, I want feelings. I want to know it’s not just me going through something, feeling a certain way.

As a writer in a public space there is always a balance between sharing enough to connect with people and keeping enough private that you respect other people’s privacy. Talking to other parents and parent bloggers recently I’ve found that it’s not just me that finds this hard.

What I’ve decided to do then is create a space for people to anonymously share their stories – the sort of stories that we normally keep to ourselves but that shape our lives.

Untold stories. View Post

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