We’re gonna talk about the “s” word today.

swords

No, not that one.

Yesterday I read a letter from Lauren Conrad about the “s” word – SKINNY – and how she’s banning it from her vocabulary.

When we’ve talked about getting in shape in the past, words like “skinny,” “slim,” and “thin” have often come up. Starting this month, we’ll be banning any body shaming terms from the site, and replacing them with words like “fit” “toned,” and “healthy.” We try do to this for the most part anyway, but now we’re making it official! The word skinny will now be reserved for skinny jeans. My editorial team and I had a long talk about it, and we want to make sure that the focus is on being fit as opposed to a number on the scale. Every body is created differently—and healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes.  {source}

As a woman, I applaud this.  As a trainer, I love it.

And as a mama of a young girl, I want to go kiss Lauren Conrad’s sweet Laguna Beach face.  And that’s what I want to talk about today.

Parenting In A Skinny Versus Fat Society.  How should we approach the next generation?

Skinny isn’t a word that we use around the Wright house.  “Fat” either for that matter.  We just don’t talk about stuff like that.  And it’s VERY intentional.  When you’ve struggled with body image and food issues for a large part of your life, the last thing you want is to pass along those demons to your daughter (or son – I don’t think it’s a gender-neutral issue).

Here’s my approach:

Clara’s body is “strong” and she loves to dance.

FinishLine-8

Clara and Henry eat “healthy” foods but they don’t know the words “calories” or “fat grams” or that carbs are naughty or nice.

We just eat. 

They just eat. 

Sometimes it’s carrots and sometimes it’s ice cream.

Henry can do 10 push-ups and he thinks that’s awesome. So do I.

FinishLine-10

We move daily.  We feel best when we’re active as a family.

I’m very intentional with my vocabulary.  I’m very intentional with the faces I make when trying on clothes, during bathing suit season and when I look in the mirror.

(both for them AND for me)

FinishLine-15

Maybe I’m a bit jaded because my children AREN’T overweight.  We haven’t really had to deal with adolescent dieting and I know many parents who have/do.  Is this because I’m hyperaware of how I talk in front of them….of how I talk about MYSELF in front of them?  Is it all due to genetics?  Because we’re more active?  Who knows. 

What I DO know is that we’re called to help and not hinder, to guide these little lives toward VITALITY and JOYFUL LIVING.  I want so much more for them in life than MyFitness Pal.  

I want to open this up as a DISCUSSION post.

What is YOUR approach (or what will your approach be) to raising healthy children?  What does your vocabulary look like regarding the “s” word?  What measures can we take to give our daughters a fighting chance against poor body image?  I’m all ears.

splendid…lindsay

  1. Pingback: Link Love #15
  2. Kate @ Kate Lives Healthy says:

    What a well written post Lindsay. I really dislike the word skinny. Since going through my weight loss journey I cringe each time some one describes me as skinny. Some of my family member and friends would frequently label me as that soon after I finished loosing the weight. I would be called ‘the new skinny Kate”. It really upset me and I wanted to scream that I was the same person I always had been. It blows my mind how casual people can be about say “you look skinny” but most people would never say ‘you look fat’.

    To me they are in the same category with BMI calculations and are unacceptable descriptors and not a true measure of health. Strong, happy, radiant, etc are great alternatives that I use with family and friends if I feel it appropriate to use during conversations. Hopefully overtime the media and corporate companies will stop focusing on being slim as the norm and that bodies and people come in all shapes and sizes.

    Thanks for spreading the message by writing this.

  3. Danica @ It's Progression says:

    I don’t like using either of the words “skinny” or “fat” already (unless I’m talking about eating healthy fats), so I know I’ll be very intentional about not using those words (or adding any particular stigma to them) when I have little ears listening to me and eyes watching me. I couldn’t agree more with the fact that healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes. I hope that I can instill in my children healthy lifestyles that are just normal – they don’t stress over eating healthful or enjoying treats because that’s just the usual balance, they don’t worry about getting in “enough” exercise because they just move for enjoyment, and that they understand that our bodies are only vessels in this life anyway because God has a big, beautiful purpose for them using their gifts and talents (and that vessel is what helps them utilize those gifts!).

  4. Krysten says:

    Oh my gosh love this!!
    We don’t have any babes yet, but I huge part of what motivated me to start running before my double mastectomy was just this issue. I knew I had to set a positive example and make peace with my body, And running was it for me. It changed the way I thought of the scale, food, and my body. Instead of focusing on ots flaws and what it looks like, I started focusing on having a healthy body that is strong and capable

  5. Julie says:

    I love this!! As someone who struggled with poor body issues for most of my life, I’m very aware of what I say to my 2 year old twins. Esp my daughter. Kids pick things up so quickly.

  6. Sarah says:

    HI, Lindsay :-). I love that you are talking about this. My kids are currently 3 1/2 years and 9 months old, so I’m no expert (if I ever will be). I will say that I do really want “skinny” and “fat” (and other similar descriptors) to be and feel arbitrary to my kids…and to ME. I’m on my own journey of freedom in this area and I think it’s more of a challenge and also more beautiful than I imagined it might be. Right now, my only real experiences along these lines are at the doctors’ office. My son is close to overweight on the BMI chart, but solid, muscular, and active. Not letting those numbers and any precautionary words worry me because I KNOW he is healthy is an exercise in food and weight freedom for me…and helping my son be and stay there. In the future, I plan to do as your doing and also stop anyone I catch talking about my kids’ bodies. (This happened to me as a kid- adults commenting on my body- and it’s really appalling as I think of it.)

    • lindsaymwright says:

      That IS horrible – for an adult to talk about a child’s body size/composition!! I think protecting their innocence is HUGE (in all things) – TV, media, radio music, etc. I’m ok being called a prude if it means my kids’ innocence is protected for a little while longer.

  7. Rebecca Lynn says:

    Body image issues don’t stand a chance when a child (or a 37 year old mom for that matter) realizes the truth of their identity as a beloved child of God!! It’s the filter that brings all images into their proper focus. That we ARE all strong, and through those things that could be seen as weaknesses or faults, we are given an opportunity to be made even STRONGER. In Him, for Him and by Him alone. It truly is a splendid thing :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>