Mommy Dearest: The Root of Body Image Issues

IMG_2699I love my “fit life” and I love good food.

Not fast food. Not cheap food. I love flavourful food, fresh food – food that makes my belly – and body happy. I love garlic and coriander and olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I love a good steak and the crunch of steamed broccolini. I don’t consider it superior. I don’t consider it dysfunctional. I just enjoy it. It tastes good. It feels good. And it makes my body happy.

But, there is a dark side to my own food and fit life obsession. I have three daughters, a son and a husband whom all are on the receiving end of my food encyclopedic info dump… nutritional value, benefits, effects on the body, and ALLLL the reasons we should eat them.

I can get sucked into the internet vortex of ‘natural-cures-they-don’t-want-you-to-know-about’ – endless webpages and articles and videos and infographics all designed to educate.

I make choices in the grocery store out of a desire to provide them with the very best food I can afford. I choose to make meals that are rich in colours and nutrients and flavours, I want them to know what it means to eat to nourish and heal and sustain. I want food to be a source of SELF LOVE, and self care.

IMG_2717But, I also know that my food and fitness fascination comes with a price that my family pays.

I refuse to let them use the microwave to reheat anything. I get angry when my husband takes a turn in the kitchen and produces entire meals that consist only of perogies.

I preach endlessly about what foods do what to help the body – which are good carbs and bad carbs. I display looks of disdain when they make choices I don’t approve of. I make them feel ashamed of the food they put in their bodies.

And that must feel really bad.

I’ve gotten the signals from others I love. Eye rolls. Sideways glances to each other when I start to spout my food concerns – which always comes off as superiority and shaming. [Ugh. The way it feels to think about it now.]

My 22 year old daughter has had her share of struggles. And although I’ve been available and willing to help in anyway possible to see her heal, I also can see how my own lifestyle choices negatively affect her and others I love. And I don’t want it to be so.

IMG_2715I’m not willing to give up the way I eat. I like the way I feel. I like the way I live. But I AM willing to work harder at letting go of my judgement, criticism and control issues around the food my family eats.

I’m not going to lie. It’s going to be hard. I love them a whole lot. And want them to be as healthy as possible.

I want them to be healthy and happy.

I equate healthy with HAPPY.

Am I willing to let them be healthy and happy in whatever way they choose?

Even when those choices look completely different than I want them to? Can I let go and let them do their own thing. And just love them – exactly as they are – no changes required?

Yeah, they deserve that.

(Below is the conversation seeking resources and support from my friend Marriann who is a student of the Psychology of Eating. She is the one who challenges me to think about my own food issues. Explanation included. @marriannhammond on Instragram and Twitter)




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