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The Secret Diet and Preserving Addie’s Body Image Innocence

By Cody |

For some reason, Casey and I have always been on different weight fluctuation schedules. She zigs while I zag. I zag while she zigs.

Just before we first got married, Casey went on a strict diet and strenuous exercise regimen hoping to hit a goal weight for her wedding. Meanwhile, I was in the middle of gaining noticeable weight. Casey pointed out that I no longer looked like the slim guy I was in high school and I took that as a challenge. I just wish I had better understood the change in metabolism that my body was undergoing at that time. My nighty jogging trips, interrupted by quick stops to the McDonald’s for two Big Macs per visit, didn’t seem to do the trick like they used to.

6 months into our marriage, I was up to the heaviest weight that I’ve ever been in my life. The only real wake-up call that things were getting out of control was when I played basketball. I used to be able to cut around people without much problem, but I started to realize that I was no longer cutting around people. Instead, people were jumping out of the way hoping not to get plowed by the oversized train that was coming at them full steam ahead.

After some serious diet and exercise, I dropped down to my high school weight. Meanwhile, Casey gained quite a bit of weight while on an unnecessary medication. Several years later, Casey ironically dropped the weight while pregnant with Addie and I, you guessed it, gained weight.

And on and on and on the cycle went.

Last year, I started dropping serious weight again while following a strict diet and exercise routine. Casey, on the other hand, believes she has gone up on the scale. Consequently, Casey has decided to begin a diet that will reduce her caloric intake and change the types of foods she eats. The rest of us in this little family will continue to eat the foods that we’ve been eating.

Needless to say, Casey’s change in eating habits will end up affecting the entire family. There’s just no avoiding it and at some point Addie’s going to ask why it is that her mom is always eating different things than the rest of us. She may even ask why it is that her mom is crying because she just wants that damn ice cream bar sooo, sooo bad.

Casey and I discussed how this would affect the family and we decided that while my wife is on this diet, we will be telling Addie that Casey is eating different foods to make her body healthier than it was before. We will not mention weight or looks or the size of our pants, and that’s how it will be long after Casey ends this upcoming diet. And that’s how it will remain until Addie is grown and off living on her own.

Casey can do what she wants. She’s a grown woman and she can make decisions that she feels is best for her body. If she wants to diet, I’ll support her. If she wants to go on a nothing but ice cream for a week diet, I’ll support her—I may even join her on that one. However, Addie doesn’t need to know Casey’s true reasons for being on whatever diet she’s on.

My 7-year-old daughter doesn’t need to be growing up wondering if she needs to go on a diet because her mom wanted to go on a diet. I want Addie to grow up understanding that everybody’s body is different. We were all born differently with different traits and different strengths and there’s nothing wrong with that.

I want Addie to feel comfortable with other people’s differences and I want her to feel comfortable with her own differences. Self-comfort leads to self-confidence, and self-confidence opens doors that lead to easier paths of success and happiness in life.

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About Cody

theycallmecody

Cody

Cody is a father, husband, practicing attorney, and loyal football fan who is outnumbered by girls in every area of his life. He's also been known to drink maple syrup straight out of the bottle. Read bio and latest posts → Read Cody's latest posts →

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6 thoughts on “The Secret Diet and Preserving Addie’s Body Image Innocence

  1. Kim says:

    I agree completely. Although no one is dieting in our house, we do make an effort to eat healthy. I agree because I’m a parent of a ten year old girl and realized the same thing about the importance of her having a positive self-image. Well done, “Dad.”

  2. theycallmecody says:

    @Kim, Thanks. We try to eat healthy too. Casey’s really good and making sure the girls eat plenty of healthy food and not much sugary food. I’m the one who probably takes too many liberties with the sugary food.

  3. Olivia says:

    My husband and I are the same way – we joke that there is a finite amount of weight in the world, and among your circle of family & friends it travels. He gains, I lose, and vice versa. I gained a ton of weight with my three pregnancies, and developed a thyroid disorder in the middle of it. It took a while for me to find the right medication, doctor, etc, and now I’m finally down almost 60 lbs, with about 40 to go. I try to exercise daily and eat healthy, and I too do not always have what the rest of the family is eating. Last night, my perfect, beautiful 7 year old (oldest) daughter said to my husband and I, “I need to lose a few pounds. I’m getting fat.” I don’t know if this is a result of starting cheerleading this year, or listening to me talk to my husband, or TV, or some other outside influence. I almost burst in to tears. We sat her down, and told her that she is beautiful, and needs to do nothing of the sort! But being active and eating healthy are always good choices, and if she does that, she will be exactly where she should be. I hope that we handled it right. The scary fact is that body image issues are starting younger and younger. All we can do is try to teach healthy habits and instill in our children a healthy self esteem. I think that you and your wife are right – the less that the word “diet” comes up, the better.

    1. theycallmecody says:

      What you are experiencing is exactly what I was worried about. There’s probably no way to keep the word diet out completely or the pressures from the outside world about body image out, but hopefully the emphasis on being healthy as opposed to dieting will be enough to teach kids that it is important to be healthy, not to look a certain way. Thanks for commenting and I’m sorry for the late response. Several comments seem to have been mistakenly sent to the land of spam due to some gitch. Every week or so I go out into the land of spam and approve comments that were wrongly marked as such. Your comment was one of those land of spam comments.

  4. Sanriobaby =^.^= says:

    Bravo! I love that you are so sensitive and are taking a active stand on this issue. I can’t tell you how many of my friends grew up with their fathers making the worst comments about thier weight and it really hurt them and gave them life long complexes about thier bodies. I have a daughter and my husband and I struggle with our weight (mainly portion control), but we want to be good influences on our child and don’t want her to develop a complex about her weight. We’ve agreed that we will only speak positively of weight and of food. If SHE feels like she has an issue as she gets older, we will seek out appropriate support for her. Otherwise, we’re gonna do our best to keep out the processed junk food and do better at controling our portions.

    1. theycallmecody says:

      @Sanriobaby: Thanks. I think a lot of people diet for the wrong reasons and get so caught up in body image. We’re all different and that’s a good thing. If we’re going to “diet” it should be to get healthy, not so we can look a certain way. Good luck.

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