My Weight, My Body Image and My Kids

Like many women, my weight is something I think about a lot. We are all a bit obsessed by it aren’t we? I have never been skinny and never will be, it’s just not my natural shape, I have wide hips and sizeable thighs. That’s just the way I am… but I could be slimmer, and healthier, than I am.

Even at my slimmest I still have big hips but this is the size I am happiest at.

Even at my slimmest I still have big hips but this is the size I am happiest at.

I lost a lot of weight when Monkey was little and that was the size I feel happiest at. Second time round though I am finding the weight much harder to shift. I have a proper shelf above my c section scars which I can’t stand and for the first time in my life have a properly wobbly tummy in addition to my big hips and thighs despite trying to diet a few times.

The trouble is that I really enjoy food and food is a pretty big part of our lifestyle. We love days out as a family visiting National Trust houses and going for country walks and these outings often include visits to a cafe for a hot drink and cake or something energy boosting, especially in the winter months. Because we are parents and don’t get out much, our social life often includes having friends or relatives round for a takeaway. In short we often use food as treats for ourself, which isn’t really that healthy I suppose, but it is fun.

Hubs and I are also dreadful comfort eaters. When one of us is poorly or we’ve had a rough day with the kids we rarely drink alcohol and are far more likely to pop out and buy some ‘naughty’ food like bags of crisps or chocolate, as we don’t generally have them in the house.

In many ways I don’t think any of this is too bad as I do believe that you can eat everything in moderation. We eat healthy meals and snacks as do the kids so the treats aren’t the worst thing in the world. I do want to lose weight but I am struggling with balancing my enjoyment of food and having the motivation to lose weight.

So I started to think of my kids. Of what I want for them. I started to think of using them as a motivation for losing a bit of weight. I don’t want them to grow up with an overweight mummy who is over indulging without a care in the world. I don’t want them to grow up over indulging and piling on the pounds either. But the more I thought about it the more I changed my mind about what I want for my kids.

Do I want them to have a mummy who is slim-ish but who is also constantly obsessing over the scales and worrying what she puts in her mouth? A mummy who is counting calories and denying herself yummy food for fear of putting extra weight on. A mummy who hates looking in the mirror and who berates herself for eating anything remotely indulgent. Do I want my children to do that to themselves? No, I don’t.

I want my children to be healthy and confident. To know they are beautiful and for them to be healthy and strong. To eat a balanced diet and be happy in themselves. So how to strike that balance?

There is a family round the corner from us who we call ‘the fit family’ and they are all so fit and healthy they have two teenagers and they all run and cycle and are clad in lycra for much of the time. Now I am not about to go and buy us all lycra yet but they are a bit of an inspiration. Because what I want is for our kids to grow up understanding healthy eating and exercise and the best way to do this is by leading by example.

So while I am trying to make sure I am eating healthily I am also trying not to worry too much about what the scales say and how many calories or fat I am eating. Instead I am focusing on how much exercise I am doing, and how much the kids see me doing. I have been swimming a couple of evenings a week for some time and I want to keep that up but I am also making sure that I don’t just limit my exercise to the times when the kids are asleep.

I have done my yoga with them in the room, which does make it interesting as there is a little face appearing next to mine at times, but it is lovely seeing them copy the moves. It was especially hilarious when they were doing it in the middle of the ikea warehouse!IMG_20160227_203029

I’ve also bought a Zumba dvd to do at home. I often end up dancing round the living room with the kids dancing along to cbeebies or a nursery rhyme dvd, so I thought I would try and step this up a bit. There are times when the kids are playing happily and I can pop it on and have a dance around the living room. It is great exercise and great fun and the kids can join in a bit by having a dance with me which is lovely.

IMG_20160310_162024We spend a lot of time outdoors and LM is as keen as Monkey to walk everywhere herself and we are happy to encourage that. Monkey can walk a really long way and at a pretty decent pace for his age and LM is keen on strengthening her little legs too. They both love running about like all kids do too. I’m obviously not about to become obsessed by how much exercise they are doing as that would be daft, but I do want exercise to be just a part of everyday life for them. We are making more of an effort to get them both swimming (more on that in a later post) and I would love to get Monkey riding his bike this summer so we can go on family bike rides.

As for me, well it’s hard to change a habit of a lifetime. I am not going to suddenly be amazingly happy with my body. But I can try and keep my insecurities hidden from the kids. I’ve always been a big believer of “fake it till you make it” and hope that by acting body confident, one day maybe I will be an did it won’t be an act anymore. I also hope that all this exercise pays off so I can be stronger an more toned.

On the food side of things, the summer will see us taking more picnics out with us, which will in turn mean less cafe and cake trips. I do think we have some work to do to change our attitude to food and stop relating it to happiness or comfort…but that is going to be a heck of a change to make, and not something I expect to happen overnight. Gosh if I’m honest we enjoy it so much I am not sure we are ready to try…. One step at a time but we will try as I do also worry about how we use food as a reward or for comfort and how that affects the kids long term…. But for now exercise is the main focus as well as continuing to eat healthily most of the time, so we can continue to have our treats.

So this week I have done my Zumba dvd and even been to aquafit with a friend. I am using my fitness tracker a lot to keep an eye on my activity levels and am doing as much as exercise as I can. The difficult bit may be keeping up with this… But I am going to try really hard,if not for me, for my kids.

My word this week is exercise.

The Reading ResidenceAnd then the fun began...Mummascribbles

19 thoughts on “My Weight, My Body Image and My Kids

  1. Good for you lovely and you look amazing in the first pic. I think it is really hard with kids as you do influence them. The gremlin already knows I go to the gym to exercise and I’m trying to get her to walk more to make her legs strong as she is lazy! Food wise she knows I’m a dietitian and that she needs her dinner before anything else. I do worry she will get obsessed but then I was taught the same lessons as a child and was ok. It’s so hard with all the pressure and media!!! xx #wotw

  2. You sound as if you are on the right track. Hats off to you! I’m sure that they will pick up on all the positive messages. Good luck and I hope you find a happy middle ground. (We have the super-fit family around the corner, and they are annoying lovely people with it!)

  3. I am very similar to you and want to portray a healthy lifestyle to the children with everything in moderation. Exercise and just being active is a big step. Sounds like you are doing well with the exercise and your children are taking note of seeing you exercise. #WoTW

  4. Go for it! I am so like you with food and body shape – in fact I was just thinking that having spent all day writing my OU assignment, I’m going to nip to the shops for some chocolate tonight! I definitely think a healthy attitude and exercise is the way to go, best of luck with it x Thanks for sharing with #WotW

  5. After stopping breastfeeding the weight slowly creeped up on me and I am now over weight and I have tried so many things to go back. But I am not giving up yet hehe. Like you I try to include activities. I think no matter how small they are at the end they still count.

    Goodluck.

    #wotw

  6. I think we are on the same page. Dieting isn’t working for me and I do think you only live once so an ice cream now and then won’t hurt. But I need to get fitter. I’m going to get a bike and start using it when Little E is at nursery as a start. I’m also going to get a fitness tracker for my birthday next week. I’m hoping it will help me move more. Wishing you luck on your journey, lets hope we are both where we want to be soon x

  7. You look great in the photo, I think, and if you look different now it’s because your body has been thro an amazing experience and made babies! Don’t be too hard on yourself
    I sounds like you’re on the right track; being healthy and offering children a balanced diet is important and long term I think the children will thank you for it.
    Good luck with your efforts,
    #WOTW

  8. Keep up the exercise, it is the easiest way to stay healthy and a good example for the children, dieting and food fads is never a good message to send and besides you look amazing just as you are! #Twinklytuesday

  9. What a fantastic post! It’d such a tough topic and having suffered with body image issues as a teen something I am very passionate about! Sounds like you are doing great! #thetruthabout

  10. Go Mummy! Sounds like you are in the right frame of mind to make some healthy changes at the moment. As someone who can relate to body/food issues (and trying not to pass them down!!) I think your state of mind is half the battle. I find a long walk listening to a podcast (Scummy Mummies is a good un for a giggle!) or some upbeat tunes really helps as does a bit of meditation, I can recommend the Headspace app if you haven’t tried it. It’s just 10mins (I’ve subscribed as I do feel the benefit of it but there is a free starter package available) and it definitively leaves me in a more positive frame of mind to carry on the day. x #TwinklyTuesdays

  11. I love this post! My mum modelled great healthy behaviours for me when I was a girl, I’m not living up to her example yet. I did try and do yoga with my boy in the room but he seems to confuse yoga and wrestling… #TwinklyTuesday

  12. Love this. Such a positive message. I’m a big believer in everything in moderation and try to teach my kids to make good choices, but allow them to have treats. Makes them less of a big deal, and they are just as likely to ask for fruit as a biscuit. But, more than that I am determined that they will see me as an active and fit mum, and grow up thinking of exercise as a normal, ordinary part of life. I really believe that’s the most important thing we can do for them (even while I try not to obsess over my c-section shelf!) x

  13. I’ve been very like you over the winter Caroline – all those coffee & cake trips to cafes – I have been comfort eating for England I think! I like your idea of making exercise a part of everyday life too – that is really healthy for the kids to see and be a part of as well. I really want to take advantage of my current situation once the weather is properly nice and go to the park for a bit of a run when I can. I bought this book called ‘Lean in 15′ by this social media phenomenon – a former physical trainer called Joe Wickes who has designed this programme for making massive improvements to your body shape in about 3 months just through regular High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) combined with certain kinds of foods at the right time (so he really advocates carbs right after (possibly before, don’t quote me on that!) a workout and he advocates eating fats like butter and other dairy etc. as well – at the right time though. Looking at the pictures of all the success stories is very inspirational but I can’t get my head round how I could tackle something like that at this point – I need a regime where I have to spend like zero time thinking about and planning it! Xx #thetruthabout

  14. Great post and really made me think. I keep thinking that I need to stop eating so much crap and do some light exercise in this pregnancy – because I know that I will regret it at the end when I’m struggling to lose the weight. I used to do lots of exercise at home in front of Zach and he too would often join in and try to do sit ups with me. I try to get him out walking although his little legs do get quite tired but he’s getting much better. His problem is that he runs rather than walks so he wears himself out too quickly. He does rugby on a Saturday morning which has a lot of running around and we need to get him back in the swimming pool! It is important to instill these kinds of activities in them. You are starting in a great way to change your mindset. The odd hot chocolate and cake is still fine though hehe! Thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

  15. Hey Caroline, lovely to see you joining in with #fitmamasclub

    You’re approach to food sounds exactly like my own. I’m never going to be able to say no to chocolate or a glass of wine and so to counteract that I have to do more exercise, and thats fine!!!

    Love that the kids are getting involved too!

    The ‘fit family’ sound like the family I would love to be haha!!

  16. Such a positive way to look at it. I’ve put on weight since I had my spinal op because I just haven’t been able to exercise. We mostly eat healthily but don’t deny ourselves a takeaway but since I’ve not been exercising the weight has crept on. Now I’m starting to feel better I’m back working out but I’ll still be having the odd treat. Thanks so much for linking up to #FitMamasClub xx

  17. Pingback: Our obsession with weight and the affect on our kids - Becoming a Stay at Home Mum

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