January: a time when our thoughts turn to New Year's resolutions. Articles on the Internet and in magazines are sprawled with images of perfect bodies. Their titles shout out, “New Year, New You!”
Have you made any New Year resolutions yet? There are millions we could make, but I want to talk about one in particular: weight loss.
As a mum, I am enormously conscious of the strong influence I have on the body image of my daughters. This is why I never talk about their weight to them. Instead, I try to lead by example through eating a healthy balanced diet and exercising regularly.
But it’s occurred to me that I shouldn't just be avoiding talk of my daughters’ weight and appearance. What we say about our own image, and the weight and appearance of others, is just as important.
Research has shown time and time again that the same-sex parent is the most important role model for a child. So when it comes to weight and body issues, what impression do we give our daughters when we comment on a celebrity looking stick skinny or if we’re always saying “I’m fat”?
No matter how many times we tell them that they are beautiful, hearing us comment on ourselves and others can be detrimental to the self-esteem and body image of our girls. We’re bombarded with negative body images and "How to get skinny in 2 weeks”- type articles, but our daughters are most likely picking up on the majority of their beliefs on body image from us at home.
If you are thinking about losing weight this year, why not take away the focus on external appearance and put the focus on being healthier instead? Replace junk food in the cupboards and talk about the importance of a healthy diet in front of your daughter, as well as exercising regularly. You can achieve your goal while still sending a stronger, positive message to your daughter.
I know what two resolutions I will be making in 2016: I’m aiming to eat healthier in front of my two daughters and stop talking about the outer appearances of both others and myself. I want to focus on talking about other things, like how I took my Maths GCSE a year early and found the inner strength to go the extra mile on my morning run. There may be the occasional slip-up, but I will try my best. Will you be joining me?
Written by SisuGirls Community Ambassador, Kassia Gardner.
Kassia Gardner loves running. As well as running road marathons she’s also an ultra and trail runner. As an Event Director for junior parkrun Kassia is passionate about getting kids moving and believes that sports can empower girls and teach them skills such as teamwork, determination, focus, goal setting and dealing with failure. Her own personal motto is, ‘I don’t need easy, I just need possible!’