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Re-defining My Body Image Legacy

How mothers have a choice in defining their body image legacy for their children and the impact it has on how they view their own bodies

Creating your own body image legacy for you and your children 

A few
years ago when my eldest daughter, who is now 9, was about 3 years
old we were looking through old family pictures. After about 45
minutes she started to get frantic, pacing back and forth and started
crying and saying, “where is mommy? I can’t find her!”  She
broke down and sobbed over and over again, “where is mommy”?!?!
My husband and I both jumped off the couch and I grabbed her and I
said, “I’m right here, I’m right here!” She looked at me, her
big, beautiful, blue eyes, red and swollen from crying in those few
short minutes, a small shutter went through her body and she got out
of my lap and walked to the television. 

She looked back at me and she banged
on the TV with her little hand and said, “WHERE IS MOMMY?!?”

The world
stopped spinning for me that day, the house was dead silent and a pit
in my stomach grew so big that I could have swallowed the entire universe. I
wasn’t there. You see I was a professional photographer and I was
not in any pictures and my three year old called me out on it. I had
no legacy because in images I never existed! That day was a turning
point for me.

Looking
back I never had positive body image, I always felt heavy, to round,
too curvy, too heavy chested. Knowing what I know now I can trace
back to where those ideas where imposed on me and with that knowledge
I chose to do better for my daughters. I worked really hard for the
last 6 years to learn to love myself and embrace my body and what it
has done. I slowly stopped hiding and have allowed myself to be
photographed with my girls, even in a bathing suit!

Me at 16 when I thought I was heavy and my arms were fat which is why they were covered

What I can
say is that at 37 years old, my heaviest weight in my life, I am the
most comfortable in my body and who I am. That is no easy feat. I’m
not saying i’m happy at my weight but that I love and accept myself
for who I am. I eat healthy foods that fuels my body and nourishes my
soul but I could probably work on moving a little more and getting
out from behind my computer- baby steps. I accept myself and my
thoughts, ideas and opinions even when it goes against the grain. I
put my mental and physical health first and schedule in self care and
time to recoup. When I’m tired I’ve learned to slow down and
little by little, baby step by baby step I have started to build and
create a BODY IMAGE LEGACY for myself and my girls that I am proud
of.

Current picture – bathing suit and all HAVING FUN!

Because
mama, at the end of the day, it is up to US to create the body image
legacy in our home. You can’t tell your daughter to love herself
and her body if you aren’t doing the same. You can’t expect your
daughter to run, tumble and jump in the sun in a bathing suit if YOU
aren’t doing the same. You can’t expect your daughter to stand up
for herself and speaker her truth IF YOU AREN’T DOING THE SAME! So
what is your Body Image Legacy? Are you proud of it? Do you need to
make some changes? Have you never even thought of it and are feeling
overwhelmed and stressed? Don’t worry because it is NEVER too late
to REDEFINE your body image legacy. 

Here are 5 awesome tips below you
can start implementing today!

VERBALIZE-
Verbalize out loud at LEAST once per day something that you are good
at and Love about your body! I love that I’m tall that I can reach
things without a step stool. I love how strong my legs are, I can
help carry things and don’t need anyones help. I love that I can
be goofy and make people laugh. I love that I’m a good listener
and it makes people feel better. I love my freckles, that they liven
up in the summer sun. I love that my hands are small, I can open
things in hard to reach places. I love how my body is soft and round
and curvy, I am a great snuggler. I love that my body has carried
two babies and birthed them, what power in that. I love how smart I
am and never stop learning. And On and On. What
a child hears becomes their internal monologue.

What a mother states out loud becomes behavior that a child will
model. What kind of language and behavior do you want your child
repeating? 

ACCOMPLISH
– Talk about what your body has helped you accomplish. We want to
shift this narrative about our bodies being things to look at instead
of things that help us accomplish goals. I love that my body allowed
me to help save peoples lives when I was a paramedic, I love that my
body grew and created two babies. I love that my body allows me to
dance and play and run and make memories with my children and
friends. I love that my body allows me to think and solve problems
and help others in their lives. I love that my body allows me to hug
people when they are sad and bring them comfort.

CHALLENGE
– Do one thing that challenges your comfort zone and level with
your body. So you might not be ready to go out in public in a bathing
suit. For me, I was told and always thought my arms were too large so
I never wore tank tops, I started there and let me tell you it was a
full blown hyperventilation moment, but I did it and let me tell you
it’s so much cooler! Do you refuse to leave the house without
makeup on? Try it one day or maybe your baby step is to just do
mascara and lip gloss. Do you wake up every morning and spend 2 hours
flat ironing your hair? Use those two hours and sleep in or do
something fun and rock your curls or waves. What can you do to start
pushing yourself out of your comfort zone with your body? Do it and with
practice it becomes easier.

WHO
ARE YOU
– Stop focusing so much on your body and others bodies and instead focus on WHO THEY ARE or WHO YOU ARE as a person. Start describing or
verbalizing people by their actions. Instead of describing someone
as the bald man with the red shirt we can say so and so’s brother
who loves to cook. We need to shift the narrative away from
describing people on what they look like and base things on WHO they
are.

DOCUMENT
And lastly, and one of the MOST important is DOCUMENT your Legacy. Be
photographed. Make it a mission to be captured to create a physical
legacy for you and your children to show the world that you were here
and laughed, cried, had fun, helped others, and changed the world.
Start a 30 day project where you do a selfie doing something fun
everyday with your children. Have professional photographs taken, just MAKE SURE you can prove to everyone that you existed and that
you had fun because at the end of the day THAT is what your children
will remember. They will not remember your muffin top or stretch
marks but they will remember how you played on the beach or pool or
swang on the swings with them and if they are lucky enough you will
have the pictures to prove it! 


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