Mommy, do you think I’m chubby?
5/25/2011 11:01 AM
I was a chubby kid growing up. So when those words came out of my 7 year old’s mouth last night, I was immediately transported back in time to that dreadful period in my life, when I was a very insecure girl who was called “fatty four-eyes” by my classmates. And I wanted to cry.
But I composed myself instead and asked Leah why she asked me that. I asked if someone said something to her? And she said no – thankfully. That she thinks she’s chubby. Phew. I was relieved. Because I know I can help my own daughter feel better about herself – but it’s very difficult to stop the teasing from others.
I reiterated to Leah, as I always do, that it does not matter what our bodies look like. What does matter is how healthy our bodies are and how we take care of them. I then gave Leah my usual speech about the importance of eating lots of fruits and vegetables, choosing whole grains, eating slowly, being active, washing our hands before we eat, etc. General guidelines for overall health.
Yeah, yeah, okay, Mom, she said. And that settled our conversation. Leah moved on, happily.
But the matter at hand is far from over. Unfortunately, Leah is overweight. She has been that way since she was born. But she gets less overweight every year and is definitely – slowly – creating life-long healthy habits.
Fortunately, Leah has more self-confidence that I ever did/do. And she thinks she’s fabulous. I’d even go as far as to say she thinks she’s a “hot tamale.” Leah struts around the house like a model on a catwalk – sometimes dressed, sometimes not - posing in all her glory.
I can only hope she continues to maintain her level of self-confidence. Because I am pretty sure, one day, she will get teased for her body shape. And I dread having to lift her up from that horrible place of insecurity.
Leslie Fink, MS, RD
Family, General, Health