Everyone has low body self-image from time to time. My oldest daughter is going through that again right now. Summer is coming and she wants the perfect bikini body in time for the beach. To be honest, every summer I look in the mirror and say to myself this is the year I will lose weight. We really aren’t that different in our way of thinking. Just like most people in the world.
So my daughter has started to hit the gym and as her dad I support that. Why wouldn’t you support anyone who wants to be healthier. What I am trying to teach now is to be healthy and get the results isn’t just a trip to the gym, but a lifestyle change. It is one thing to go to the gym and workout but you also need to eat a proper diet to fuel your body right. Something I myself have failed with many times in the past. Still do I might add.
It is hard for anyone let alone a teenage girl to deal with body image. I am a 280 pound man and with that have heard it all. I too have put on something only to find it doesn’t fit. Look in the mirror and get pissed off at what I see. For me though I can bounce back really quick when it comes to the emotional side. I also know if I want change I need to put in the work. You kind of hide these things from your kids as a dad, but you shouldn’t though. Valuable lessons can be learned as well as opening up the door to conversation. It can be much easier for your kids to show vulnerability with you when you show it to them as well. It can show that even a big strong dad is human.
So begins my teaching. To begin I listen. I ask if she is looking for help at all or just venting. Sometimes I will share a few tips but like everything, if she didn’t ask for help it usually doesn’t get the response I was hoping for. I have told her I can help her reach her goals. By starting her on her way doing things the right way. In order for her goals to be reached, the way life is viewed needs to change. Once that does and she is comfortable in her new routine I will help get a personal trainer to further her fitness goals.
Just like myself, you can’t be forced into anything and as her dad I never would. All we can do as fathers is listen and share advise. Our kids will make the decisions best suited for themselves but we can share information so they make the most informed one possible.
Just like anything, what you put in is what you get out. Starting to eat proper foods, proper meals and roughly at the same time is key. Get that metabolism working. Start with cardio in the gym and when using weights, go light weight and light reps with proper form to start. At home, go for walks and bike rides. Head out to the parks with her brother and sister. Parks are great for workouts and getting the heart rate up, plus you get to spend time with family. Swimming can also be a great way to get cardio in. The best thing for her which I don’t have is at school there is world-class facilities to use. Take advantage of that.
Nothing in life happens ASAP. No miracle pill or product is available. If there was, no one would be overweight. Supplements can be used later on but you still have to put in the hard work. At the beginning just focus on routine. Changing how your day runs and the way you think is most important.
Now as a dad here is where I have a lot of problems. Advertising for gyms and products all show buff/slim people. The only time real people are shown are the before/after shots on products saying in 2 weeks this could be you. My daughter like most people see this and think I have to be that now. Never is it shown how long it took. Has advertising shown a person just starting out, no. You aren’t told body structure has a lot to do with the final product either. My daughter at 5’10” will never look like someone 5’2″ but ads say she should.
No different than myself looking at men with big arms and abs thinking this is what I should be. It should happen shortly after starting to work out. Never are you told that they took 3+ years to get there with a ton of hard work. I would love to have gyms show peoples transformations and how long it took. It would be great if fitness magazines would show that everyone once started out just like everyone else. Scared and nervous to start and all wanting the so-called perfect body.
Body image will never change and our kids will continue to suffer with it when advertising stays the same. The world need to change what we show, that every body type is normal. The only person that should ever say what the perfect body is should be yourself. It is easier said than done most times but is still true none the less.
I hope one day my daughter will be comfortable in her own skin. That she reaches her goals and does so in a healthy way. If I could afford it, I would love to go to the gym with her and workout by her side. Maybe that could be the motivation she needs. Having that friendly competition with dad to help things along.
So I ask you the reader. What gave you the motivation to hit the gym? How have you gotten over self-esteem issues? How long did it take you to reach your goals? Please comment and let me know. I will share them with my daughter, especially words of encouragement.