What the fuck?
That moment your kid says: “Mom, I want to go on a diet.”
The scary thing is…it’s the second of my kids to say it in a two week period. WHAT IS HAPPENING????
I don’t use the word “diet” in my vocabulary. I screen my clients with it. I loathe the way it forms in my mouth.
BUT…did it slip out somewhere along the way? Did my daughter catch me looking sideways in the mirror? Does my son know it’s a way to push my buttons? WHAT IS HAPPENING???
I work in an industry where our obsession with thin comes up a lot. And I feel like I talk about two things until I’m blue in the face.
Joy keeps you healthy (aka a healthy weight).
Diets don’t work.
It’s simple. We are beautiful creatures. We come in different shapes. In different sizes. Yet, I find myself getting caught there. Not only professionally, but personally. I was told once I would never make a nutrition-based business work without focusing on weight loss. I’ve thankfully proven that to be wrong. But I, too, have moments where I wonder “Am I thin and/or healthy enough for this industry?” I answer in this moment with a resounding FUCK YES I am. But it’s not that way at every moment.
Regardless of all of this…I am sitting there faced with that statement from my ten year old girl. My mind flashes back to that place. The age I first “went on a diet”. I was about ten years old. It wasn’t too long after my best friend’s mom put her on Weight Watchers because she was “big-boned”. And I fought ferociously then with myself. I was always told I was big-boned.
What do you say to your ten year old daughter when she says she wants to go on a diet? The thirteen year old boy saying this is another thing. We have a pretty good heart to heart about it. But this one says it and she doesn’t even know why. (She heard it somewhere? Her friends are saying it? She watched some dumb Netflix sitcom that suggested it? What?)
So here is what I said (pretty much). And it wasn’t maybe the wisest thing I could say. But it was the most I could think of in that moment.
My Love Letter To Violet (and some other stuff):
Beautiful Violet. First of all…you are stunning. You have the most beautiful soul of anyone I think I’ve ever met. You see the world through rainbow coloured glasses. You float about like a pixie fairy and move like a dancer. You do the handstand splits like an athlete…because you’ve worked so hard to master it. And you play the piano like a rockstar…even if you don’t know the notes. You paint with such colour and vibrance because that’s how you see the world. And you love. Oh how you love. You don’t see the black and white of an argument — you see the grey area that no one sees and you can’t understand why no one sees it. And that is one of the reasons you are such a great friend. You are my beautiful mom’s incarnate. You see the cup half full instead of half empty. You are a wee engineer…the way that fine brain works. You love math. You love life. Your eyes crinkle when you laugh, like the eyes of a wise soul. You have an insane, infectious laugh and your humour makes me howl. When you actually shed tears they are so fat and full of love, it breaks my heart. You are the most beautiful creature I’ve ever met because beauty exudes from your pores. You are so light I sometimes think you might take off.
Don’t. Change. A. Thing.
Secondly, diets don’t work. They never, ever work. Even when they work for a little while, they eventually don’t. There are plenty of physical and psychological reasons for this that I will explain to you when you’re ready.
Thirdly, this sort of stuff will be a challenge for your entire life. Because we live in this world where women have to maybe work a little harder than men…And you’re going to feel a pull to be or look a certain way. But at least we get the opportunity to create the life we want. And we are damn lucky. But you already live your life like you know that.
And lastly… Eat Real Food. And sometimes…when you’re begging me for Reece’s Pieces at the movies…that’s okay, too. Life is about working hard and playing hard. And food should be approached like that. Balance. It’s great to know that when you sometimes eat Reece’s Pieces and feel a tiny bit rotten afterwards, you can eat some raspberries and feel pretty darn good.
People come all different ways. This creates balance in the world, too. We are supposed to be like that. If we were all the same shape and looked all the same and behaved all the same… life would be boooooooring.
Fuck Diets. (I didn’t say that part. But I wanted to.)
So I guess this feels raw for a lot of people. No, I don’t agree with dieting. I agree with living. I agree with eating well. I agree with enjoying the hell out of eating well. And there may be a discussion in here for many of you. Maybe it’s a discussion about daughters. Maybe it’s a discussion about your own journey. Now that I’ve opened it up, I want to know.
If you wish to take it further, leave a comment below and we’ll go from there.
I just love the hell out of y’ll and want this word to screw off for good. Or at least exit my kids’ lives for the time being.