Recently, I have been having conversations with Hana regarding body image. I was surprised a few months ago when she approached me and said she needed to lose a few pounds. Hana is an active girl, plays sports, eats moderately and does NOT need to lose any weight.
If she had a high BMI, I would have made a plan for her to get on track in a very healthy way so that she could learn to lead a healthy and balanced lifestyle isA. However, I already felt Hana was leading this lifestyle and was even a role model for her siblings (and even classmates). I didn’t know where her feelings were coming from.
So, I asked her why she felt that way. She said, “I don’t know, you and baba are always talking about your weight.” It was at that point that I realized my own obsession with my weight loss was transferring to my kids and they also felt the need to “lose weight”
We had a long conversation about what it meant to be healthy, how I had gained lots of weight due to my pregnancy, how that was ok because it was my body’s way of preparing for a new human being, how I wanted to maintain an active lifestyle and a healthy diet, how I still loved myself regardless and I loved her and how both of us are beautiful inside and out (Alhamdulillah). We spoke about our obligation, as Muslims, to do the best we can and lead a healthy lifestyle as the Prophet (PBUH) did and how we needed to incorporate weekly fasting as he did (InshaAllah). I also made a mental note to stop stressing my kids out and voicing my goals as problems 🛑
I found this great online resource at Dove.com/selfesteem offered by Dove (yes the soap!) that gives parents tools to talk to their girls about self esteem, body image and bullying. If you have a daughter 8+, be sure to check it out!
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