How to Have a Healthy Body Image

I need to model a healthy body image to my kids. I can’t expect my kids to have a positive body image if I’m always putting myself down, commenting on how I need to lose weight, etc. One day I heard a woman who was 90 saying how she had always hated her hair and desperately needed a perm. I realised I can either choose to complain about my hair for the rest of my life, or choose to be grateful and love it! Besides some people don’t have hair and wished they did!

I’ve had to get my hair and makeup done professionally for promotional photo shoots for CD covers and my kids have seen how it takes one hour for makeup and another hour for hair. They’ve seen how we took 1000 photos and picked a few of the best. So when we see pictures of models, I comment on how long it must have taken for that model to have her hair and makeup done and how many photos they must have taken to get one beautiful photo. They are budding entrepreneurs themselves, so they get that a model’s job is to make a product look appealing so people will buy it. They realise ANYONE could look like a model if they spent time and money getting their hair, makeup and photos done professionally.

If I go to the markets, I purposely choose interesting looking fruit and veg. I once found a carrot that resembled a witch with warts! The kids loved it! I explain to my kids that not every carrot grows straight up and down like the ones in the supermarket. I remind them that just as each carrot is unique, so are we. Imagine how boring the world would be if we all looked exactly the same!

The beautiful yellow pumpkin flowers in my garden are here one day and gone the next, but a pumpkin is really special because it has the ability to reproduce itself. I feel like our society glorifies the pumpkin flower and discards the pumpkin. Being young like a stunning pumpkin flower is a special short time in our lives and we should enjoy it! But it’s ridiculous to spend the rest of our lives trying in vain to be a flower and not realising that we are actually an amazing pumpkin! We can sow seeds in to our children’s lives and our values can live on through them, and they will teach them to their children. Now that is AMAZING!! I got my first grey hair the other day and told my kids it was the beginning of my crown of wisdom! I’m teaching my kids that we all go through seasons and we should enjoy the season we are in, rather than envy someone else’s season, because we’re all going to go through the same seasons of life eventually!

I tell my kids when I was a teenager, I had a girl’s stick figure body with an adult woman’s bum. The boys called me J-Lo (for younger readers- the equivalent of Nicky Minaj in the 2000’s). Thankfully the rest of my body caught up! I’ve let me kids know their bodies are going to change and some parts change before others but it’s like a caterpillar going into a cocoon. It might look a bit different in the cocoon but they will eventually change in to a butterfly and to just enjoy the process and not worry about it.

Every day I tell my kids they have been made wonderfully and that they are beautiful as they are. If Jewel (5) puts a party dress on and hair clips and asks if she looks nice, I say, ‘Wow the dress and hair clips look lovely on you! Just remember that you don’t need hair clips and a dress to make you look beautiful. You’re beautiful just as you are because you were made wonderfully.’ I believe it’s important to give kids a solid foundation of who they are so that when the world tries to bombard them with the lies that they aren’t good enough, their strong inner voice will say, ‘Actually, I’m good enough just as I am.’