I’ll never forget what it felt like as a kid for family members and friends to comment on my weight, which fell into a category the Sears catalog dubbed “husky.”
I was devastated when a relative compared my tummy to a turtle’s and when a family friend noticed that I had returned from a vacation looking a little plump.
After a few years on the swim team and some natural growth, I was fine, even thin, by the end of high school. Now that I’m older, I’ll never be skinny and that’s OK.
Given that experience, and all we now know about eating disorders, I try to be extra careful with my own daughter, who seems to have inherited my body type.
What’s been a bit shocking is how other adults don’t seem to have picked up on the need to be sensitive about this.
Since age 2, my daughter has gone through periods of being a bit chubby. But each time she grows a bit or gets more active, she looks slimmer.
Whatever! None of this should even matter, but of course it does. People seem to need to comment to me about her size.
I’ve had random strangers imply that she was “big” (read, chubby). Lately people have been complimenting me on the fact that she has “really slimmed down,” they say, nodding their approval.
No wonder our world is so messed up with body image. The kid is 6 for Pete’s sake. Her body size should be no one’s business but hers, mine and her doctor’s, who I must say, has been good about reminding us that we need to help keep her at a healthy weight.
So yes, we did make some adjustments in the foods we were offering her. No more apple juice. More veggies. Healthier snacks, etc.
But even at her plumpest she was always very active. She’s super athletic and always on the go. She can already smack a softball like a pro, she knows how to swim and she’s even good at basketball, despite being on the short side.
I’ve been so happy to see her learning to use her body so physically. That should be what’s really important — not whether she looks slim or plump at any given moment in her development, which has years to go.