Body image is the perception you have about how your body looks, how acceptable it is and how it “measures up” to society’s standards. Having a negative body image can lead to feelings of shame and feeling “not good enough.” Research has shown the connection between a negative body image and the development of poor self-esteem as well as problems with mental health including anxiety, depression and eating disorders.

Tonight, Body Image became a REAL concern when my 7-year old daughter breaks down after her shower and tells me “I hate my body”. After I wiped away my own tears, and picked my jaw up off the floor, I asked her why she felt that way. She dropped the F Bomb…. and told me she was “Fat”.

My daughter’s body is much like mine was as a kid. At times this similarity scares me… Does that mean she’s going to struggle with weight and self-image the way I did for so many years? Im sure I am not alone when I am left wondering: Could my daughter be on her way to becoming obese? Can I stop it? How can I help her?

Like most parents, I want my children to grow up with good self-esteem, a healthy body, and the desire to be kind to others no matter what their size. Girls are already under a lot of pressure to look, act, think, and be a certain way (yes, boys are too). Don’t be too loud or too soft-spoken. Be assertive, but don’t be bossy. Be humble, but confident. Be smart, but not too smart. Be thin, but not too thin. Be stylish. Be pretty.

What girls hear and see is that they should be anything but themselves.

It’s so important to show your kids what healthy habits look like. As a Personal Trainer I feel as though I am creating healthy habits for the entire family, so tonights breakdown has me mind blown. Here’s my promise to my family;

💜I will continue to establish healthy eating habits; making healthy meals and snacks the norm and eliminating junk food choices as much as possible.

💜I will continue to encourage exercise. Our family mountain climbs are all the rage at the moment. Not only good for physical health, but for mental health as well as for reducing stress, and building confidence.

💜I will continue to walk the talk. As with so much else, children learn what they live. They pick up on your feelings, attitudes and behaviours about food and exercise. Focusing on healthy eating and physical activity habits for the sake of health, not appearance, has a positive influence on children.

💜I will encourage more positive relationships. Supportive friends who value positive personal attributes (kindness, sharing, sense of humour) over physical ones reinforce healthy and balanced views about the body and self, and aid positive personal development.