Banishing the F Word

Dear Everyone,

Now that the baby is one and starting to understand English, you’ve got to stop using the F word.   Please, I beg of you.  Stop calling yourselves FAT.

For the next 17 years, kindly refrain from referring to your perfectly lovely body parts as muffin tops, cottage cheese thighs, saddle bags, pooches or FUPAs (look it up).   I am ok with badonkadonk, which I believe is a compliment.

Consider not starting conversations by asking, “Do these pants make my butt look fat?” or ending meals with the defeated declaration, “I ate too much and I’m going to be soooo fat.”

Sure, it’s always fascinating to compare and contrast Atkins, The Zone, South Beach and Jenny Craig, but maybe not while little ears are listening.

Above all, try not to equate weight with happiness, as in “Everything would be perfect if I could just lose 15 pounds.”

I know I sound like the word police.  In general, I’m not into censorship.  I plan to provide my daughter with accurate, age appropriate information on sex and drugs and I’m totally going to let her watch Dirty Dancing whenever she’s ready.

But I’ve got to put my foot down about all the weight talk.   It’s going to be hard enough raising a girl in Los Angeles, the Body Dysmorphia capital of the world, without her being brainwashed at home.  In my experience, it’s mostly skinny people who complain about being fat anyway, and that’s got to be confusing to a child still learning her opposites.

When kids are young, they want to be just like us.  It blows my mind when my daughter Viv studies my lips to see how I form words, mimics the way I brush my hair or mirrors my yoga poses.

But as Uncle Ben told Spiderman, with great power comes great responsibility.  If I degrade myself with self loathing comments about my weight or shape, my daughter might copy that behavior as well.  And that would be sad.  So I’m asking you ladies out there to join me in being kinder to ourselves, for her sake.

For the record, I’m not planning on stuffing this child full of Happy Meals in front of the TV and letting the corn chips fall where they may.  I think there’s a way to encourage kids to adopt a healthy lifestyle without harping on weight.   My mom was amazing at this.  When I was growing up, she served green salads and fresh fruit with all our meals.   I never thought twice about it — that was just how we ate.  If we wanted cookies, we could have them.  But even at a tender age, I liked those sweet, juicy blueberries better than packaged Chips Ahoy.  (Mom’s not much of a baker, which probably helped.)

Every night after dinner, if it was warm enough outside, we took a family walk.  Never was it positioned to me as a chance to “get some exercise” or walk off dinner,” though I now realize that was indeed the point.  To me and my brother, the evening walks were an opportunity to sing songs, crack wise, pet neighborhood dogs and play with flashlights, which to this day I think are really cool.

I want to raise Viv the same way – with physical activity and fresh food as a natural part of life.  What I don’t want is for the adult obsession with pounds to trickle down and become her obsession.  Fat should be a word we reserve for Albert, Santa and 1970s Elvis.

Don’t be annoyed.  Really, all the pressure is on me – to model healthy behavior by actually eating right, exercising and not harshing on my own bod.   All you people have to do is watch your language.

So say the F word for the last time.  And then come over for some fucking ice cream.

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  1. Katie
    Posted February 7, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    bravo! well-written!
    I am taking the opportunity of raising my son as a way to change some of my own habits. It helps that he is always interested in what I’m eating so gone are the snacks of potato chips. Instead, I’m hoping to lead by example and break out the grapes at snack time.
    Keep up the writing, I love reading your humorous take on life :)

    • Amy
      Posted February 7, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Katie! Grapes are a huge hit in our house. Good luck!

  2. Lisa
    Posted February 13, 2012 at 2:48 am | Permalink

    Yes, but if you really are fat,then you just let them zerbit your fat belly and say “mommy I have big belly” too and then they laugh.

  3. Mailisha
    Posted July 15, 2012 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    Great topic, Amy! I agree 100%. However… I have (accidentally) made the mistake of letting my daughter know that I started the Atkins diet (she’s almost four and is so freakin’ nosy and up-in-my-business about EVERYTHING, there’s no way I could have hid it from her!). But in retrospect, I wish I would have used the term “meal plan” instead of diet. I’m trying to backpedal a bit and see if I can fix things. I firmly believe that it’s crucial to model self-love and care -and words DO matter!

    However, as a woman who has about 40-50 more pounds to loose… It’s no secret that I have a serious problem that needs to be addressed. Because I also want to be sure to be raising my daughters at a healthy weight so that I can also model being healthy and comfortable in my own skin.

    It’s all so tricky! Talking about it with other Mamas helps -like right now. I agree so much that it takes a village -a village of kind, supportive, loving parents who want to HELP each other, not judge one another and tear each other down.

    This topic is so fabulous! I so very much want to raise my girls to feel strong and brave and free -free of the trappings of superficial bullshit like being “skinny and perfect and oh-so gorgeous.” And hey, if you can manage to do it in LA, more power to you! LOL I’ll see if I can accomplish it up here in the Bay Area and get back to you.

    • Amy
      Posted July 16, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

      I’m still cracking up that your “nosy” 4-year-old knows you’re on Atkins…I’m sure it gets harder as they get bigger. Definitely keep me posted!

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