How I'm Breaking the Cycle of My Body Image Struggle — For My Daughters' Sake

One of the biggest stresses for me around vacation isn’t the trip itself — it’s what I’m going to wear. Packing for our last family trip, I kept in mind two main thoughts. First, it was going to be a five-day trip with lots of sunshine and lots of walking. Second, with two kids in tow who weren’t huge fans of the whole “close-to-double-digit-mile-daily-walks” thing, comfy clothes were an absolute must. As parents, we do anything to cut down on potential whining and meltdowns. 

But after I packed my girls’ suitcases and stared down at mine, this whole comfort strategy got overwhelming pretty quickly, and I started to panic a little. I don’t want to be too hot — should I go sleeveless? Or will people stare at me? High-waisted leggings and a long-line sports bra … it’ll keep me comfortable all day, but am I too fat to wear this style? And, most importantly to me in my mind, how will my daughters feel about my look? Because the last thing I’d ever want to do is ruin our vacation by embarrassing them. 

But happily, this spin-out didn’t last the entire time. Even better: for me, a woman with intense body image issues, this trip actually turned out to be a surprising breath of fresh air. We saw bodies of every shape and size donning whatever fashion they enjoyed without a second thought. They didn’t give a care — and what’s better, neither did my kiddos. 

You see, I came from a household where conversations around body image and weight were minefields. More often than not, the judgments tossed around about other people’s bodies were an attempt to cover up your own insecurities. Like, just because they make it in your size doesn’t mean you should wear it. Which was just another way of saying I’m envious that they have the confidence to rock that style, and I never will. 

I’ve made a very conscious decision not to make comments like that in front of my daughters, or really, at all. Because truthfully, it’s absolutely nobody’s business what someone decides to wear. It’s a hard habit to break when society has totally ingrained the notion into your mind that only a person of a certain shape and size is allowed to wear whatever they want without reservation. 

What I love most about this change in thinking is that not only have I given myself permission to wear whatever I want with confidence, but my daughters do the same. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever once heard them talk about their body, size, or shape in a negative way, and I couldn’t be more grateful. In reality, there is no reason that they shouldn’t be comfortable in their own skin, but it’s always been my greatest fear that they would repeat my experiences. 

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