a conversation: healthy body image

We are going on a family holiday soon. The type of holiday that involves sitting on a beach, enjoying the weather and relaxing from the regular routine of our lives. One of the difficulties we are facing with taking this family holiday is the topic of what is a healthy body image.

You see by taking this family holiday, it will require us to get into our swimmers...in winter...enough said...right! It may be hot and perfect weather for swimming where we are going, but for us right now....it is winter and the season where I personally don't want to get into any swimmers at all!

The discussions we have had (mainly with my daughters), are about feeling insecure with our bodies. It has been a real slap in the face for me in regards to my own personal thoughts. I have to watch what I say in front of my children when trying on swimmers and have to bite my tongue as I look at myself in the mirror.

I have a much healthier body image than I used to but I still struggle. As women we are so hard on ourselves when it comes to a positive body image and it doesn't help that there is so much pressure on us to always look good. Even though I have worked hard to go from a size 16 to a size 12 and have kept the weight off, I still struggle.

I go back and forth between two thoughts:
1. You look good for having seven kids
2. You have let yourself go.

I find it a challenge on what to say about what is a healthy body image to my children. They all have different body types (especially my girls) and so comparing doesn't work. They vary in their heights, strength and shape.

I want them to know that our bodies are incredible, amazing and a wonderful gift to us. Yet, at the same time I want them to strive to be healthy and have a good fitness level and not focus on being skinny and slim just to please others or to achieve it by putting their health at risk.

They need to work out what a healthy body looks like and feels like for them. I don't want them to look to magazines or television or movie stars or even to many of their friends for the example they should be striving for. This quote below describes exactly my thoughts on the matter:

I want them to look at the 'whole person' they are and not just what they see in the mirror. Real beauty doesn't just come from what you look like, it is much deeper. I guess, I just want them to be confident with who they are and not worry about fitting the social mould of having to look a certain way.

Most importantly, I need to be a good example to them. I need to reach a stage where my self love is healthy and realistic. I don't want to be the mum who sits on the beach fully dressed and misses out on all the fun with her children because she can't stand the way she looks or worries too much about what other people will think of her. I want to embrace who I am and what I look like and to have fun.

For so many years that has been so difficult for me. This year I am hoping that I will be happier and healthy enough in my mind to achieve that. That I will wear my swimmers with confidence (super high and lofty goal here!) and enjoy our holiday.