Healthy Food Relationship Talk + Running w/4 Inches of Snow on Your Head.

I sure didn’t dress properly for the weather yesterday!

When I left my house to meet my friends it was 40 degrees and it was just sprinkling… I was even planning on wearing shorts but changed my mind last second to wearing some thin pants instead.

With each mile of our run it started raining harder and harder and then at about mile 4 it was a complete blizzard.  AKA we were soaking from the rain and then it got really cold from the snow/wind.  It was cold during the run but when I sat down in the car afterwards I started shivering like crazy and had to sit there with the heater on for a while before driving because I was so cold.

I am SO glad I wore a hat.   I would have called an Uber to pick me up if I hadn’t worn one and had those huge snowflakes hitting me in the eyes while running.

The water fountain that has the most refreshing water (I swear it is straight from the very top of the mountain) that never ever turns off… this fountain has saved me on hundreds of runs!

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I was planning to get in my tempo miles yesterday but that plan definitely did not happen:

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I ran with two of my friends and was reminded quickly how much I love running with them.  Josse is running pain-free again so I’m sure we will get together more now and my other friend just did a 2:47 marathon so hopefully I can join her on her easy easy easy days;)

10 miles @ 8:42 average and those tempo miles will happen today on the treadmill instead.

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I got home and took the hottest shower ever and then got back in bed with a hot chocolate for a few minutes.

We had a few appointments in the morning but canceled those because it kept snowing and snowing and there was no way I was going to drive in those conditions.

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When my sister and I were younger we would draw our dream houses and they included an underground tunnel from one house to the other.

Maybe our childhood dreams will come true:

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Because we were stuck inside for a lot of the day we got some things done including putting away the laundry… Skye was a great helper.

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We played a lot.

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We made some hamburgers (the picture was not pretty) for lunch along with some sides… And then once it stopped snowing and the roads were plowed we went to the gymnastics gym with my sister and her family.

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Brooke has nailed her vault sprint.

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We did our normal crockpot chicken for chicken salads and sweet potato fries from TJs.

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I wanted to include this question from a reader in it’s own post so we could talk a bit more about it in the comments!   *How do you help your kids, especially Brooke, develop a healthy relationship with food?

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This is a great question and I might think a bit differently on this subject than other people do and that is okay:)  I’ll share how we do it and what works for us.  For us, our pantry includes an entire shelf of candy/chips/treats/deliciousness.  It’s always there and always will be.  Our kids have fruits and vegetables with their meals and obviously they can’t just roam into the pantry and snack on treats all day but they don’t ask to do that because the treats are always there, they forget they exist most of the time.  Treats aren’t something that is forbidden or cut out from their lives. There is white bread and there is wheat bread.  There is broccoli and there are cheez-its.  Some days they snack on fruit snacks and pretzels and other days they snack on string cheese, chips/salsa and carrots.   Some days we go out for a donut, cookie, hot chocolate or ice cream and some days they ask for an apple with peanut butter after dinner.  Sometimes Andrew and I have dessert (I absolutely need to work on less sugar and eating out less;) once the kids are in bed.  We are just trying our best and like our balance talk yesterday… I’m nowhere near perfect:)  We eat dinner all together every night and I love that we are able to do that.
 
Calories, bad/good etc aren’t discussed in our house.  I hope they grow up seeing food as food… without all of the emotional ties or obsession with it.  We talk to them about food as fuel for our activities and the importance of taking care of ourselves.  We talk about exercise for our health (mental, physical and spiritual), not to burn off what we ate yesterday.  I think after having an eating disorder my brain is constantly trying to figure out ways to help them avoid this problem.  I’m probably over the top but I give quite the look of STOP WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT IN FRONT OF MY CHILDREN when someone brings up calories/diets/losing weight and things they hate about themselves and I change the subject right away to something else.  I know I can’t protect my children from everything but I feel like I have a big responsibility in so many areas to give them the best example.  I feel very lucky that Andrew is very careful and thoughtful about the things he says in relation to all of this.  He worked with eating disorder in-patient teen girls for 5 years and has a very good understanding about it all.
 
Something else that I really try to do is to NEVER say anything negative about my body.  Brooke is sometimes with me in the mornings when I’m getting ready and I love to talk about different parts of me that I love.  My legs that get me up the mountains or how much I love my arms and how they allow me to carry my babies and give the best hugs etc.  Then I ask her what she loves about what her body can do.  And when she is in the bathroom with me as I am getting ready, I smile when I look in the mirror (it sounds like such a simple thing that she probably wouldn’t notice, but I really think she does… doing this to help her actually helps me too).
 
As my kids gets older I’ll continue talking more and more about how our body’s are tools to allow us to create/serve/discover/progress/love rather than an ornament to be viewed.
 
Yes:
 
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I would LOVE to hear about what things helped you growing up to develop a healthy food relationship (along with things that might have not helped you so I can try to avoid those with my kids).   If you have kids, how do you help them?  How do you help yourself at this point in your life?
 
How has your relationship with your body changed over the years?
 
Who else got dumped on by snow?  Did you stay in or go out in it?
 
Craziest weather that you have ever run/raced in?

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68 comments

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I LOVE what you are doing to raise such healthy kids with healthy attitudes towards food! I have wonderful parents who I adore, but they didn’t do these things and i did end up with eating issues in high school and college.
I think it gets really hard when kids get a little older and are exposed to media that’s obsessed with weight loss, as they are growing up and naturally gaining weight- I know that was hard for me!
So far it sounds like you’re doing a great job and I’ll have to remember this for when I have kids!

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Thank you Ellie, I really appreciate your comment! I think you are very right about the media and that is the next chapter for me so I’m going to need all of the help. Have a wonderful day!

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It dumped snow here yesterday too. They said 2 inches. We got over 6. The roads were terrible.

Worst running weather was at the Rut 2016. It rained a bunch and it was so muddy!

Currently working on my own relationship with food. You have a great way of dealing with that for your family.

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Oh crazy… that is a ton of snow. Stay safe today! Thank you Angie and keep me updated with how you are doing:) . Good luck!

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Oh my goodness. That looks WAY too cold!!! Props to y’all for getting out there and running in a blizzard!

I love how you encourage your kids to love their bodies and reinforce that when you’re looking in the mirror, and I’m definitely going to do that with my nieces. It’s easy to see all of our flaws, but it’s so much better to embrace the things that make us uniquely us and find the beauty that God created in each of us. I definitely still have to work on this sometimes (I spent most of my entire life thinking that I was ugly and that no guy would ever be interested in me because of the way I look), but I’ve gotten better about trying to compliment myself when I look in the mirror (in a non-conceited type of way) rather than pointing out the things that I see as flaws.

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Oh wow, that pic of your hat at the end of your run is impressive! I have had a couple of runs that change conditions really fast like that and it’s so wild. Good call on NOT doing the tempo miles in that crazy.

I do not have kids but I do coach 48 girls ages 7-19 (omg) and being in an aesthetically-focused sport (synchronized swimming) a lot of the girls struggle with body image, etc. Even though their parents tried really hard to model healthy eating relationships, the outside influences always creep in. I try to reinforce that we eat well and train hard and smart and that will get us to our goals, but not fueling for our training (whether it’s not eating enough, or not eating enough of the stuff that fuels us best) won’t make us good no matter what we look like. I think one thing parents who want to do their best on this sometimes miss is the important conversations about how sometimes we all feel bad about how we look, and that’s ok, we can acknowledge that. I have seem some girls who feel ashamed of how they look, and then feel ashamed about feeling ashamed because they think *that* is wrong. It’s very hard to get right for sure!

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I love how you talk about being strong! That’s perfect. I know our society is still pretty backwards with food/dieting, but I feel like there is more of an emphasis on being strong right now. I love it!

I track my food, but just to make sure I’m getting enough of the right stuff. I love seeing the percentages for macros line up, ha! Type A personality over here. I don’t think we should tell oursveles we can’t have something. It just makes us want it more and it can give certain foods a negative light. You guys are doing it right!!

Also, dang to that snow run. You’re my hero!

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Beauty Redefined is my favorite insta account! Yay! Love what you say about kids and loving our bodies/talking about our bodies. I have become VERY careful about this because I had an eating disorder in college. It’s amazing what you notice about people’s conversations when you are trying to keep a positive mindset about your own body! Something that helps me whenever I’m struggling with my relationship to my body is listing OUT LOUD all the awesome things my body has and will do. It makes me realize that my body has served me so well and that by attacking my body through restricted calories etc. I’m just attacking myself! And that won’t help anything.

Another thing that has changed my life, literally, is intuitive eating. It sounds crazy but because of my eating disorder, I didn’t experience hunger pains for 4 years. I literally didn’t trust my body that much. It was a real victory last year when I started feeling hungry again because it meant I was listening to my body 🤗

Longest comment ever, but I did want to say that we got rain for 2 days, then it iced, then it dumped snow on top of that!! So crazy.

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I love your approach to raising your littles with a healthy relationship with food and with body image. I have a big, horrible history with my own body, and I have come a long way. I grew up believing that people were “better” if they looked a certain way, and I grew up with parents who worked VERY HARD to instill in me strong values of IMAGE and VANITY. They still try to shove it down my throat (which is why I do not ever want to live so close to them, no matter how dearly I love them).

But what I have come to is this: there are times where my body does not look or feel its absolute best (right now is one of them), and I know that some of it I can be in control of–movement and eating the foods that feel best in my body–and some of it is very strongly linked to the effects of depression and anxiety. For me it’s important to recognize when I am eating in a way that allows my body to work the way I want it to work and when that other stuff is taking over. For most of the last year, that other stuff took over quite a bit. I may have also allowed myself to enjoy a bit more cake than I normally would if I want my body to feel really capable of kicking butt in front of an RPM class or on the road. I will readily admit this. BUT–at the end of the day–when I know that my body WORKS in all the best ways (it lets me teach spin classes and Body Flow classes, it lets me walk all over the place, it lets me wrap my husband in a big hug, it lets me run and walk, it lets me go out and about and spend time with friends…etc…), then my body is allowing me to fully exist in this world and to fulfill all of the parts of me that are part of my identity and where I feel the most alive. I prefer my body to fit into a different size of pants. But my body is still amazing right now because it can do more than take up space in the world I live in. It can run and teach 4-6 spin classes a week and go on retail therapy trips through Target and teach classes and work in a running store. It can run. It can walk. It can enjoy sunsets and it can drag my husband through Lululemon whenever it wants.

I call that a pretty big win in a world full of so many elements that just want to drag a person down.

:)

PS–my 10K on Saturday didn’t happen. I was upset about it for about 10 minutes, but I spent the rest of the weekend having fun with my husband in a really pretty place and in mild weather and finding a really great place of peace and closure and openness to the fact that I just didn’t run this one race–instead of demonizing myself as a total failure because something felt so incredibly wrong and my body was hurting so incredibly much that the thought of this run was the worst thing ever.

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I’ve always had a love of food, and have never cared about calories. Maybe that’s because I was blessed with high metabolism or because I had a family who has a big love of food and none of them cared so much. Once in a while I heard about “I gained 5 lbs” or “I need to cut out sugar” or stuff like that, but I never thought about it myself. I think you’re doing an awesome job teaching your kids that food is food to help us grow and have energy, not calories. We try to do the same thing in our house. I think it also helped me growing up having lots of medical personnel in my family because I always understood food as a need, and an enjoyable one at that. I do need tips to get my kids eating more veggies though ;)

We stayed in yesterday, but I think we will try to brave the cold today and go sledding…

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I love what you’re doing to raise your kids – especially in regards to food. I’m a dietitian and there’s a lot of research about eating competence, much of it done by Ellyn Satter. The idea that we eat until we are full, eat when we are hungry, and can enjoy all food without judgment from ourselves. She also has a wealth of information in her website for anyone trying to adopt that type of approach with their kids (any age) or even themselves! Sorry if I’m getting preachy – it’s a topic I feel really strongly about and can’t wait for the day when people stop worrying about weight because health and happiness don’t come from your weight – people are diverse in many ways, including their body types and that should be celebrated.

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Stephanie… SHARE ALL OF YOUR KNOWLEDGE, thank you. I will be going to her website, I really appreciate your comment. Have a wonderful day!

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I absolutely love your comments on how you deal with healthy food talk with your kids. It is exactly how I would love to handle it with my kids one day when I have them! I think what led to my eating disorder a lot was how my mother talked about her body and was disgusted with it and if we went shopping she was very negative about how she looked. I think a balance is extremely important because to me there are no foods that are “no” foods, haha. You have to have treats now and then and you also gotta eat your veggies and proteins!

Have you seen Tina Muir’s book came out yesterday “overcoming amenhorrhea.” I preordered it and dove into it last night and it is so GOOD so far. Although I am already passed it and have my periods back and hopefully never lose them again, I feel like its going to be a helpful book and also some great reminders about learning to love yourself!

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I love hearing about how you talk to your kids about food – you sound like an awesome mom :) While I struggle with body image like many others, running has helped me view my body in a different light, and appreciate it for the things it’s able to do. I still lean on food during stressful times – hello emotional eating – but I try to give myself grace in those times (and also remind myself to snack on some healthy food too, since I know my body will thank me for that when it’s stressed out).

The snow on your hat is insane!! I went out and ran a single mile in a blizzard about a month ago (partially because I had eaten too recently beforehand so I was still super full haha, and partially because visibility was poor and I didn’t want a car to hit me).

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My daughter is only 5.5 months old so I hadn’t given it too much thought yet, plus she has PKU, which is a genetic disorder that will mean she has to eat a strict ultra-low protein diet for life. So I feel like for her, since she won’t be able to eat most normal foods it’s going to be a totally different situation (no meat, eggs, dairy, beans, nuts, seeds, and grains in very limited quantities – she’ll have to have low protein modified versions of things like bread or pasta that you order from specialty companies that make these medical foods). I’m mostly worried about learning to manage her diet, and then teaching her how to do it! On the other hand, since her diet has to be controlled so carefully in order for her brain to be healthy, I like to think of it as a blessing in disguise – the message that food is fuel for our bodies and we make our eating decisions based on what makes us healthy and strong (as opposed to body image) is sort of built in. :)
I love that you try to be aware of people talking about things like dieting, negative body image etc. in front of your kids! Those messages are SO pervasive in our society, and people don’t even realize they are doing it. I think being a good role model is definitely the best way you can help them. I also think it would be important to have a conversation with them about all this stuff when they are old enough – to talk about how things used to be and the way society is changing for the better, so that when they see those kinds of messages in the world it doesn’t come as a surprise or make them feel weird, but they will remember talking about it with you. I think it’s also just as important for Knox to learn the same lessons as it is for Brooke. While it unfortunately affects girls more visibly, I think boys also have a hard time. My husband was naturally very skinny growing up, and he was teased a lot for it, even by family. So there is definitely pressure for boys to be big and muscular. Plus, the more boys are aware of the societal pressures that are put on girls, the more they can choose NOT to contribute to that.
It does make me sad though how common unhealthy relationships with food/exercise/body image still are. :( I am getting back into the swing of running postpartum, and I’m training for the Boston marathon. I am thrilled about this because…running goals! Boston! I feel like myself again! Because of all the training, I’ve lost all the baby weight and I look like I did pre-pregnancy. I get so many comments from people trying to compliment me about how thin I look, and of course I want to be polite, but I feel like I am always jumping to point out that yes, I’m happy with how I look, but I am even happier that my body is healthy and I can run! And that I am not doing all this running in order to look a certain way, but because I just love running. But I think for the “non-converts” out there, people don’t really see it or think about it that way. It makes me sad because it is SO freeing to let go of that stuff and do things (exercise, eat) for the joy of them.

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Responding to both comments to your other one… THANK YOU for what you shared!

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I had a really healthy relationship with my body until I was about 17 (I did a lot of sports and didn’t think about if it looked a certain way, etc.), when someone told me I should lose 5-10 pounds–I hate to admit it but ever since then it’s something I think about a LOT. I struggle now with loving my body even though I know it’s not “perfect” and never can be–or how to love the body I have now even as I’m trying to get in better shape and feel stronger.

It baffles me, too, how much we praise people who are very skinny–two years ago I lost a LOT of weight after surgery and illness and was very thin and underweight. I wasn’t healthy!! But people would say, “You look so good; have you lost weight?” Well, yes, because I was crazy sick and couldn’t eat anything! I was also so weak I couldn’t even open my own car door. I’m so grateful now for those simple things my body can do.

I also feel the same way about wanting people to stop when they start talking negatively about themselves/food/calories/etc. I can’t stand it when I’m trying to enjoy lunch and people start talking about the calories in their sandwich or telling me that I shouldn’t be eating dairy. I love the way you and Andrew are raising your children.

One more story (sorry, this is so long)–one of my good friends in college said she didn’t like the way she looked so much that she hated looking in mirrors. That made me so sad and I’ve resolved since then to always smile at myself in the mirror, even if I’m having a bad day or have just woken up and look awful! It’s made such a difference and I’m so glad you do it, too. There should be a campaign for that . . . #smileatthemirror or something. :-)

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Oof. It makes me sick thinking about how much the things we say can impact someone else’s life like this. I do not understand why humans feel the need to comment on each other’s sizes… it makes zero sense. We have SO MUCH about us that can be talked about… why is it popular to talk about size. Thank you for sharing and I LOVE that you are doing that… best hashtag ever! Have a wonderful day Kristin and keep me updated with how you are doing.

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Hi! I read your blog most days but rarely comment. As someone who struggles with food I think what you do with your kids is amazing and I even sent it to my husband because it’s such a great idea!
My mom is very healthy and growing up she was very strict about what we could and couldn’t eat. Although I see that she was coming from a good place, it caused a lot of eating issues for me as I got older. I have been wondering how I would address this later when I have kids and I think your advice is spot on!

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HOLLY, thank you so much for reading and for your comment. Keep me updated with how you are doing and I am so sorry about your struggle. Have a beautiful day!

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This is such an important topic and I love the way you are handling it! My daughter is 15 months and learning body parts. She loves to lift her shirt and say Belly, then lift mine and point to my belly. At first this made be super uncomfortable, but I realized she just sees me, her mom and she loves me. So I let her do it and smile. Then we point to our eyes, ears, and nose.
It is going to be very important for me to talk positively in front of her in the future. I have struggled with body image my whole life and don’t want that for her. She sees mom and dad eat healthy, but have treats. And do Crossfit and run, to be healthy not to look a certain way. Keeping all of this in mind while raising kids is so important! Thanks for touching on this subject.

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Thank you so much Megan for sharing your example… you nailed it. Sometimes when I am being hard on myself I imagine how my kids look at me and it really puts things into perspective. You are doing amazing. Thank you for sharing!

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That is such an amazing way to help your kids develop a healthy relationship with food and their bodies! I grew up with my parents commenting often on “poor” food choices and my weight gain — and they still do. They always encouraged me to go on diets in high school that weren’t necessarily a good idea. I love them and understand that they just wanted me to be healthy, but it led to a lot of years with disordered eating that I still struggle with. I currently live across the country and while I miss them, it also makes me anxious to ever go visit until I’m at a “better” weight because I just don’t want the comments. But I’m starting to care less and less (yay being in my 30s!) and learning to appreciate the places that this body can take me!

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Oh Susan. That breaks my heart. I am so so sorry that you had to grow up with those feelings and still have to stress about visiting BUT like you said I am SO happy you are caring less. Thank goodness for being in the 30s ha, I love where my brain is at so much more now. Keep me updated on how you are doing!

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One million percent yes on your nutrition approach!! Dietitian approved ;)

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Oh that makes me very happy! Thank you so much Molly. Have a wonderful day:)

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Oh, boy. It’s so hard to reconcile food thoughts with raising kids to have a healthy relationship with food.
We tend to “binge” on chips in our house, and we all have our favorites. I keep buying them, and I keep pondering whether or not I should. My kids are older, and they will sometimes snack mindlessly to the point that they’re not hungry for dinner. I enforce the “serving” rule as much as possible–it’s not nice for one of us to reach for something and find someone else ate it all, so put a serving in a bowl and put the bag back in the pantry instead of eating straight from the bag. Also, when I overindulge, I’ll complain about how gross it made me feel (too much salt on my tongue, or my stomach feels upset) instead of how many calories. It’s an effort to let us all enjoy a reasonable amount of a treat but know that the consequences of too much can be not feeling well, instead of being afraid of calories.
I also tell them to start with something that nourishes their bodies (apple, carrots, etc.) so that they’re sure to get good nutrition & if they also want a treat, that’s OK.
What I can’t stand is their love for soda. I tell them that the sugar/artificial sweetener/caffeine is unhealthy for their bodies. I’d love to find something they like to drink that isn’t soda.
That snow looks unreal and not a very nice surprise for your run. We had a very cold snap to the teen/single-digit temps for a couple of days. I tried my best to hibernate, but at least the roads were clear since errands and study groups for my kids still had to happen.
Have a great Tuesday!

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I think that the serving idea is great and putting things in a bowl helps them to learn to not just eat something past fullness just because it is there. You are doing awesome and now salt and vinegar chips sound incredible. I hope those single digit temps stay away for awhile. Have a wonderful day Corey!

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Okay…sorry for the double comment, but this post is really resonating with me! :) As I’m reading through other comments, it’s making me think – I am curious to hear your thoughts or your readers, about what is the best way to be a positive influence of healthy body image even outside our own families. Sometimes I worry that when I post running photos etc. on social media, what people see is pressure to get back in shape quickly. I SO do not want to perpetuate that message at all! Do you think it’s preachy to write in a caption about how I run because I love it, and I eat in order to give my body what it needs to do the amazing things it allows me to do (feed my baby, train for a marathon)? Or do you think that comes off as an *eyeroll* “easy for the skinny girl to say” sort of thing? Better to save the soapbox for the 1:1 conversations with friends etc.? I guess since you are an “influencer” it is sort of your job to talk about these things and share your thoughts, but maybe for the average person their friends/family don’t really want to hear it. So for us who don’t have the platform, what do people think is the best way to make a positive impact (or at least not contribute to the disordered thinking)?

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CONGRATS on your BOSTON TRAINING. I am thrilled for you and everything going on your life (your new little one wahoo). Dealing with PKU will definitely put a different spin on things (I’m so sorry about that and you are doing such an amazing job already with her). There are so many things in your comment that I loved and that helped me but this one really stuck to me–>
“to talk about how things used to be and the way society is changing for the better, so that when they see those kinds of messages in the world it doesn’t come as a surprise or make them feel weird, but they will remember talking about it with you.”
I absolutely will need to do that with them because I cannot block what the media tells them for much longer, I need to talk to them about it and prepare them. Yes to Knox too… 100% yes.
This is a tough question when it comes to social media. For ME personally, I try my posts to show off what my body is DOING… not what it looks like… so running/talking about a workout/race and showing off the gorgeousness of nature. I like to focus on the TOOL aspect of my body getting me to my goals not my 6-pack of booty gains (neither of which I have;) or something like that because when I see that it is very triggering for me (which I know can be fine for others but for me I have unfollowed accounts that post like that because of MY BRAIN, it is not their fault). I guess using it as a tool to share how awesome our bodies are to allow us to run rather than showing off the aesthetics of our bodies is how I go about this.
I don’t think that there is any problem with sharing those words on your channels. Why not share the love and if there are eye rolls then that is their choice but maybe you will help somebody else that is struggling and forcing their body to exercise because they hate it, not because they love the movement.

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I LOVE LOVE LOVE the way you talk about food and your body with your family. We have an almost 2 year old and it’s important to me too, I think most people don’t even realize the things that come out of their mouths in regards to calories/ body image. Glad someone else feels the same way and I’m definitely going to start talking about how powerful my body is in front of my little girl. Having treats in the house is nice too, although my husband and I can’t always control ourselves haha.

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I totally agree with you… I think that talking bad about ourselves to other people somehow became normal and almost popular to do?!?! Your little one is so lucky to have you. Have an amazing day Ali.

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I don’t have kids yet, but I think about body image stuff all the time as a teacher and aunt. My family is (now) pretty open about what parts of our upbringing contributed to some pretty negative food relationship issues for me and some of my family members. We’ve figured out what NOT to do…. which is to make negative comments about weight gain/body types, label foods as good/bad, talk about weight loss efforts and programs in front of kids, comment on what others are eating (“ANOTHER piece of cake?!?”) or what they are/are not doing and how that can impact their appearance (“you need to go out to play or else….”). With my students and nieces I try to encourage healthy eating. When I am caring for kids I require them to eat at least 1 fruit and 1 vegetable every day, but beyond that there’s tons of treats and fun foods available and I try to model a balanced diet. I frame exercise as something fun, and something that we need to be our best self.
In other news, New England is COVERED in ice and snow:(

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YES and YES… you are such an important example to your students and your nieces/nephews. I am so happy to hear that your family has figured out what is healthy and not healthy for these young minds. Thank you for sharing.. you are doing an amazing job. STAY WARM and have some hot chocolate today Kerri!

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Eating is not something that makes you special.
Outside of the body image, there can be a desire to be different/special, it can be a form of competition, and a form of control.

Self love, confidence, full life. And live by example and mean it!

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Love love love love love. You are such an incredible role model for Hope!

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Did Andrew when at New Haven? I’ve already thought he looked familiar and could never quite put my finger on where I knew him from. I worked there for about a year in 2000.

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Yes yes yes yes yes!!! He sure did:) I’ll ask him if he remembers you!

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I love and applause what you are doing with your kids to foster a healthy relationship with food/body. I am currently seeing an intuitive eating dietician to help me get rid of some of unhealthy habits with food.

I grew up in a household where body was not discussed but we never had treats in the house because my mom, like I am now, had difficulty with moderation and would eat an entire box of cookies if it was in the house. When we did have treats, we would be allowed as many as we liked until they were gone, no moderation. Now treats are like this forbidden fruit that have so much power over me. My mom never spoke of body or dieting but at school they had us count calories for our gym class and I saw a lot in advertising, which made treats all the more tempting and guilt provoking.

Anyway, all this to say, I haven’t dieted in years, I no longer step on the scale, always eat when I’m hungry, and have no off limit foods. But I still feel as though I can’t stop when sugar is around so my counsellor said to fill my kitchen with the good stuff and I have! I have all the junk food I crave in my house now and I can have it whenever I want. The first week I was eating a lot of treats but already it is less appealing. Like what you are doing with your children but I’m having to relearn.

I’m also reading a book called Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole which is super helpful and has sections on raising children to be intuitive eaters. I’m hoping that heal myself so I can be a good example for my future children.

I admire your dedication to this!!

Ps sorry if this is a bit messy – writing during a quick break from work :)

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THEY HAD YOU COUNT CALORIES IN YOUR GYM CLASS… okay, that hurts my soul to hear that! And all of the advertising and the lack of moderation at home, that is rough Tara. You are incredibly strong and I am so glad you are working with an intuitive eating dietician. Isn’t it crazy how much LESS we think/want/crave sugar/treats when we know they are always available? I feel like when I don’t have them around I think about them nonstop and eat them all at once because I’m not sure when I get a chance to eat them again. I have read that book and it is so good. Keep me updated with how you are doing. You are amazing Tara and I am cheering you on!

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YES! I love love love the message you are sending to your kiddos about food being food and exercise for health! I have 2 boys who eat all the time. I cringe when my mom tells me my 8 year old is getting chunky. I, like you, change the subject. I don’t want him having a complex around food. When he asks if something is bad to eat, I say everything is fine in moderation and leave it at that. We don’t own a scale, I never talk about weight loss/gain, they see me going to the gym and doing PT exercises every day for my health and because I want to be strong, we talk about our strong muscles, have push up contests etc.
I’m very fortunate that food has been a non-issue for me and i think it’s from playing team sports and surrounding myself with strong/positive females – then and now. My crew of friends focus on distance, speed, strength etc.
My mom has always had a complex around food and her body image. She’s been dieting my whole life and it’s sad that she has that sort of relationship with her body. When every she complains about her weight, I remind her how strong she is by walking across a country, running 10k’s, backpacking, kayaking all in her 60’s and 70’s!
Ok. Ramble over.

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Good job Jenny on switching the subject! I find it so strange that humans feel the need to ever comment on someone else’s body. YOU are doing an amazing job and your boys are so lucky to have you. Thank you for your comment, I really appreciate it and I love what you are doing.

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I have a couple of sons that were “husky” as kids. My x-husband (who was also large) kept talking to them about diet and weight loss. It was so aggravating. I always had good foods available for them and encouraged them to eat food that made them feel better. I didn’t buy a lot of treats because I would have ate them all. My only never have food was soda. Never had it in the house. I think they have grown up with a pretty healthy relationship with food. The biggest problem is with peers. I felt like I just had to keep making them feel like they were awesome and hopefully that would help.

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Oh that is really hard to have someone in the home that is constantly talking about diets/calories etc. I think you have done an incredible job. That is a big worry of mine… peers (because I think that contributed a lot to my eating problems). You’ll have to help me figure that out. Have a wonderful day Kathee!

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We got dumped on! It’s also very cold here, which is tough for the kiddies who wanted to play in the snow over the weekend. My little guy and I, and my husband, basically hibernated all weekend. But I definitely have a picture or two from a couple years ago when I braved a storm for a 15 miler. It builds character ;)
Your philosophy on body image, exercising, and eating, and how you try to set an example for your children is just beautiful, Janae. I, too, struggled with an eating disorder and was hospitalized numerous times in my 20s. I have long since recovered, and feel that my experience, though tortuous at the time, really taught me lifelong lessons that I now try to impart on those around me, including my son. As a family, we balance delicious vegetables with treats, exercise for fun, and take pride in what our imperfect bodies can do, rather than what they look like. Thank you for spreading that message of body love!

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Hahaha I hope it built a little character for me yesterday because that was COLD. I’m glad you all got some time together inside this weekend (your schedule must be so busy with work… I’m guessing you do 9-5 shifts now or do you do the 12 hour shifts and work weekends still… Andrew is trying to figure out what he wants long term once he is a NP). Thank you for sharing Stacey, you are doing an amazing job!

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I love love love that quote! We talk a lot about fuel and exercise allowing us to do be able to do the things we want, like walking around Disneyland all day long or being able to hike and snorkel on vacation, etc. My mom never talked about her weight or mine growing up. It was always about balance. She always prepared a veggie to go along with our meals and made sure that we had access to fun food as well, and that it was treated like a treat and not something that we got all of the time. What I love is that she did all of that without ever talking about it, it just became ingrained in us.

My hairdresser recently told my daughter, “Oh my gosh, you have the cutest, tiniest, fit little body.” And I was kind of dumbfounded. I responded with, “yeah, she’s really strong.” I didn’t want to be rude, but my daughter’s body isn’t something for you to comment on. Any good suggestions on how to better respond to comments like that?

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Uggggggg. That is one of my biggest pet peeves (and I feel mean because the person is ‘trying’ to just be nice)… so so hard. With Brooke we get people telling her how pretty she is and I always respond with how well she is doing in math in school or her love for horse back riding lessons etc and then AFTER in the car etc I praise her for how hard she works at reading or thanking her for being so kind to Skye etc etc. I just do not want her growing up thinking that her worth has anything to do with her looks because that causes ALL SORTS of problems. I’m right there with you. If it is somebody that you feel close enough with maybe just talk to them at a different time about the situation but I think you are doing the right things now!

I love what your mom did. So so cool.

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Along with not talking negative about my body in front of my kids (ESPECIALLY my 12 year old daughter) I also don’t let my kids see me try on multiple outfits – I don’t want them to see my insecurity about how I look in things. Also, I always make sure they know that I exercise as a mental release and so I can hopefully be strong and active for a long time – like when they have kids! I tell them I want to be an active grandma, so I have to be active now!

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Deb. That tip is AWESOME!! Yes, yes and YES and I love what you tell them about the mental release and the long term health that exercise provides for us. Keep any of your tips coming for us all. Thanks and have a wonderful day!

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THANK YOU for this! I LOVE the quote at the end. I have tears in my eyes thinking about what I do/say around my daughter- she is not yet 2, but I need to make a conscious effort to be better about this for HER and for ME.

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“for HER and for ME.” <-- YES. As much as I started making bigger efforts to help Brooke with it all, it has helped me big time. Good luck and keep me updated. Your little girl is so lucky to have you.

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How did I not know Andrew worked with inpatient teens at an eating disorder clinic?! You two are such a dynamic couple and have done some amazing things in addition to marriage and parenting! I think it’s time for a post on your past careers/jobs/volunteer work/etc. :)

I have had body image issues since age 5. Yup. 5. I remember being totally uncomfortable in my own skin. To make it worse on me, my mother was a competitive masters runner and *very* thin. I remember catching a glimpse of myself around age 13 or so while I was bending over grabbing something and was horrified by what I saw. My mom said “I was your size once.” I think she meant it to be reassuring because she’s the most motivating kind person ever but it came across really negative for my already fragile mind. I’m only now accepting my body and all it’s characteristics-mainly because I’m 49 and bodies naturally make changes at this age, too! It’s interesting to me and makes me want to tell all people younger than me to embrace themselves NOW!

My son is now sub 14 years old and he’s self conscious. It’s just so hard to hear kids say harsh things about themselves. Especially since kids are amazing and incredible no matter what their size! Bodies in general are amazing when you think about all the things a body does just to walk, run, sleep, etc!!! It’s always working somehow!

Have a super week! You are a great family and it’s fun to catch a glimpse of your happenings!!!

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I think my mom did similar to what you are doing…she ate and let us eat everything (within reason). We had treats around, she took us to get Happy Meals, we got ice cream every last day of school, my dad and I got cotton candy every time we went to Walmart together, donuts at church, etc. I try to eat much healthier now, honestly, but it was refreshing to see how my mom was just okay with everything. She ate what and when she wanted, and really didn’t make comments about her body in front of us. She was always active and involved in a lots of sports and activities. Although she did go on a few fad diets throughout the years, that was never the main take-away that I got from her. I was always more impressed that she just ate seemingly intuitively and didn’t restrict herself. There definitely wasn’t talk about calories or good foods/bad foods.

I studied eating disorders a lot in college, and I actually have most of the risk factors for developing one, but I never did. Whether it’s luck, my upbringing, or what, I don’t know but I’m very thankful!! I’ve seen many people go through it and it’s just so so awful…maybe I was simply able to learn from their example? Because eating well is so important to me now, I worry that I won’t be able to be that same way with my (future) kids…but I suppose I shouldn’t worry about that now. Anyways I think what you are doing is great, it seemed to work for me!!

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My relationship with food is rollercoaster. I recall being VERY strict, testing my body fat percentages DAILY, and counting calories for everything that passed my lips. I’ve also been that person that used food as a coping mechanism to deal with stress. It is a process that I continually work on. I felt for a long time that it was either unhealthily strict, or unhealthily willy nilly. There wasn’t a middle ground. It really has been having kids that made me aware of how much I was thinking/talking about my body/what I was eating. Kids pick up on everything. When my oldest (8) was smaller he heard his dad tell me that I looked nice any time we were going out on a date, or I dressed up, or something of that nature. I always replied, “I look chubby.” As a result he and his little sister thought that chubby was a compliment. When they thought they were looking particularly good they said, “Look, Mommy, I look so chubby.” which I kind of loved that they didn’t have a negative connotation to it, but I kind of hated because I was the one who had a warped perception that they misinterpreted. More and more I’ve just had to be kinder to myself and that helps with the kids. We have treats in our house and snack foods, but the kids know that they need to eat their vegetables. I try to avoid most sweets because I LOVE them way too much, and know that about myself. My doctor actually said that living and 80/20 method is healthy and good. 80% of the time a person should strive to exercise hard and eat healthy. 20% of the time they can relax and eat the treat if they want to. That’s been good for me.

I LOVED the snow yesterday! I got home from the gym around 7:00 AM and it really started coming down after that. So my daughter (6) and I went out to shovel the driveway and sidewalks. We also shoveled the neighbor’s driveway and then my kids played in the blizzard for hours! 3 hours was enough for me! :)

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I love everything you said about healthy relationships and modeling for Brooke ! I wanna bookmark this for 5 years from now when I have kids ;)

I also wanted to ask about your eyelash extensions! I am thinking about doing it for the first time as I’m trying to look more put together this year but don’t like/know how to put on makeup. Sometimes I have a habit of pulling out of natural lashes (not obsessively tho lol), so i wonder if you ever get the urge to pull out the fake ones, or if it would help prevent me from doing this! But also, how often do you get them done? The place I asked said people come in every 2-3 weeks to refill. Is it weird when you get super sweaty or do you not even notice them?

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I grew up always getting a tiny treat sized chocolate bar or wee snack bag of potato chips in my school lunch. On weekend afternoons my family would have a fizzy drink and some chips together. As a result those sorts of ‘treat’ foods were never special or overly exciting to my brother and I and we both have very healthy relationships with food as adults.

My husband and I also have a treat shelf in the pantry and, just like you, because it’s always there we usually forget any of it is even there. I’ve got a few friends who were never allowed treats as children so used to sneak off to buy and binge on them. I 100% believe you’re doing the right thing taking away the novelty of those foods and making sure that fruit is just as exciting and delicious to them as chips and candy :)

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Just one quick comment … TJ’s sweet potato fries ARE THE BEST!!!!! :-) Hope you’re having a good day.

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I ADORE this post! As a women who struggled with bulimia for nearly ALL of my 20s, I wish I had some of what you are providing to your kids when I was growing up. You may not be able to save them from everything, but major kudos to you for putting the thought and effort into this. Accomplishments over appearance!

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I’ve started telling my son that whatever physical thing we are talking about – whether it be about me, him, or someone else- is the least interesting thing about them. Got that line from Greys Anatomy haha!! The things they are interested in, how we treat each other, what makes us laugh or why we were sad – those are the important things that make a person. My son sees me exercise but I try to frame it in the context of “I really have fun running races and seeing if I can get faster and beat my time/I feel so much better if I workout.”

Like someone above said, I think there’s something to acknowledging that some days we just don’t feel good. I’ve also tried to model my thought process when I’m feeling lousy. I have said things like, “I’m just feeling a bit down because I didn’t sleep well/ woke up on the wrong side of the bed/etc.” or “I’m pretty irritated because the dog got into the trash and I hate cleaning it up. It’s normal to feel sad or angry sometimes. It’s not ok to hurt people or be mean when I feel like this. But not all of our feelings are fun to feel and that’s alright.”

Being a mom is so tough!! I love the internet and social media for so many reasons and I’m glad I have access to so much information. But at the same time that information makes it so clear how many things I need to be cognizant of in dealing with my kids.

Have a great day!! :)

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Hmmm, the craziest weather I have ever raced in – this was more than 5 years ago, I was living in Alberta, where the weather routinely is – 20 degrees celsius or more during winters. I had signed up for a 10 mile (in April I believe) race knowing I would be running in snow. But the forecast for race day was so bad that I believe around 50 percent of the people signed up didn’t end up running/picking up their packages. I thought I would at least go and pick up my package and go from there. Well, the day of the race, I pulled up, opened my car door and nearly toppled from the wind, and snow. But I thought what they heck I will start. I ran the race, slipped (not injured) and it was so cold and this steady snow coming down every body just had their heads tucked down, no one was talking and just kind of surviving haha. And at the end my fingers were so numb (even though I had gloves) that a volunteer had to untie my shoe laces for me. And to top it off, part of the post race treats was ice cream! I had to use the blow dryers in the bathrooms to warm up. Even my friends who grew up in Alberta and were used to the cold thought I was insane. One of my friends told me that I was crazy and that it would have been a good day to settle for a warm cup of defeat hahah. She may have had a point.

I love how you help your kiddos develop a healthy relationship with food. In college, I had my share of struggles with an ED. Running was a huge part of the healing process. Ironically, I didn’t run to lose weight etc, I ran because I loved it. And the more I ran, the less obsessed I became with how I looked and more what my body could do. Some days, I still can’t believe the things my body can do and the distances it can cover. And ironically I am probably most happy with my body now. I eat what I want – some days it is a lot of chocolate. But food became fuel – because lets face it you, can’t fuel ultra marathons on junk alone. And the day I overheard my sister tell my 3 year old niece look how muscles on Auntie’s legs are made me so happy :). I got those muscles and strong legs from years of running – that wasn’t a goal but an end product. Our bodies were made to move.

We don’t have kids, but with my nieces, I hope as they get older, that I am able to go hiking, running, etc with them and they learn to appreciate what their bodies are capable of rather than focus as much on what they look like as we all are built differently. I tend to show my older 3 year old niece a lot of photos of mountains and hiking so she has started to say that she wants to go to the mountains.:) When I don’t have to carry her and she can hike on her own we will go!

Thanks for sharing Janae and I hope you have a fantastic day! And happy running in all the snow :)

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Hmmm, the craziest weather I have ever raced in – this was more than 5 years ago, I was living in Alberta, where the weather routinely is – 20 degrees celsius or more during winters. I had signed up for a 10 mile (in April I believe) race knowing I would be running in snow. But the forecast for race day was so bad that I believe around 50 percent of the people signed up didn’t end up running/picking up their packages. I thought I would at least go and pick up my package and go from there. Well, the day of the race, I pulled up, opened my car door and nearly toppled from the wind, and snow. But I thought what they heck I will start. I ran the race, slipped (not injured) and it was so cold and this steady snow coming down every body just had their heads tucked down, no one was talking and just kind of surviving haha. And at the end my fingers were so numb (even though I had gloves) that a volunteer had to untie my shoe laces for me. And to top it off, part of the post race treats was ice cream! I had to use the blow dryers in the bathrooms to warm up. Even my friends who grew up in Alberta and were used to the cold thought I was insane. One of my friends told me that I was crazy and that it would have been a good day to settle for a warm cup of defeat hahah. She may have had a point.

I love how how you help your kiddos develop a healthy relationship with food. In college, I had my share of struggles with an ED. Running was a huge part of the healing process. Ironically, I didn’t run to lose weight etc, I ran because I loved it. And the more I ran, the less obsessed I became with how I looked and more what my body could do. Some days, I still can’t believe the things my body can do and the distances it can cover. And ironically I am probably most happy with my body now. I eat what I want – some days it is a lot of chocolate. But food became fuel – because lets face it you, can’t fuel ultra marathons on junk alone. And the day I overheard my sister tell my 3 year old niece look how muscles on Auntie’s legs are made me so happy :). I got those muscles and strong legs from years of running – that wasn’t a goal but an end product. Our bodies were made to move.

We don’t have kids, but with my nieces, I hope as they get older, that I am able to go hiking, running, etc with them and they learn to appreciate what their bodies are capable of rather than focus as much on what they look like as we all are built differently. I tend to show my older 3 year old niece a lot of photos of mountains and hiking so she has started to say that she wants to go to the mountains.:) When I don’t have to carry her and she can hike on her own we will go!

Thanks for sharing Janae and I hope you have a fantastic day!

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Hi Janae,
Thank you for your comments / suggestions on keeping things balanced. I am 54 and have a 15 yr old competitive swimmer. When I was your age I was overly obsessed with running and food. I did not give myself enough breaks😊 Fast forward 20 years, I am seeing life thru the eyes of my daughter and giving her the tools she needs to be successful in the water and in life. We have raised her much as you do your children with balanced meals and a pantry full of snacks, both healthy and not so healthy. She makes her own choices based on her needs and it works out very well. We have never denied her anything in the way of food and are primary focus is that she eats. She has been exposed to several teens with eating disorders and that is a very scary road for many families to travel. Thank you for your uplifting posts.
Enjoy the snow, it looks beautiful.

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Hi Janae,
I will echo what many have said before me….I love your message to your kids and you are doing a terrific job. Especially having the focus on what do you love about your body….genius. I am 53 and have 4 kids, 3 boys, 23, 21, 18 and a daughter, 16. I have a pretty good relationship with food but still am focused on the scale too much and the number which can determine how my day starts. Getting better but it’s a battle. Our focus has been good food choices fuel what you want to do, all the boys are or were college athletes and my 16-year-old is a swimmer. We don’t banish foods or a food group and have lots of healthy foods to snack on and the girl scout cookies came today and there went a box of thin mints. We have always talked about making a majority of healthy choices and not focused on the scale. My daughter got a little freaked out over the Chrismas break when she didn’t swim a lot and gain some weight due to the foods and sedentary holidays. I think your focus on body love and fuel and fun food too is important and we try to stress the connection between food and health but also food is supposed to be fun and social and there’s fellowship to be had around a table. There’s a balance and we are trying to strike it like you are. You’re doing a great job….and I am rambling. Keep it positive!! That’s always a win!!

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I LOVE your approach to teaching your kids a healthy relationship with food and body image 👏💯 Sounds perfect to me!

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What I love about a good fitness schedule is that I actually do start caring less and less about how I look, who cares anyway when I can do this crazy hard workout or run so many miles without my knees hurting???

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My mom and dad are great, but this is one area I think they just never thought about (to be fair I think relationships with food weren’t a thing/buzzword as much when we were kids).

Growing up we ate a lot of fast food, frozen chicken tenders, pasta and sweet treats. My friends loved coming to my house because my parents never stopped us from eating ice cream or cookies! We are vegetables sometimes but never really talked about how much of different food groups we should eat.

After I went through puberty I think this caught up with me because I got a little chubby and definitely practiced emotional eating. The WORST memory I have from high school is the morning after my senior prom. My mom sat me down with her digital camera and basically said she didn’t think my dress had been very flattering and made me look at the pictures while she pointed out why. I genuinely don’t think she realized how damaging this would be and probably just wanted me to pick more flattering dresses in the future. But my recommendation to all moms would be to be VERY careful what you say to your kids about their appearance because I will never forget how awful I felt that day.

In high school my parents occasionally told me I needed to exercise more/alluded to my chubbiness. I obviously didn’t like being chubby, but I didn’t really get how I could exercise if I wasn’t on sports teams. My dad was a runner and tried to encourage me to run, but I hated how I felt trying to keep up with him.

For me, it “clicked” when I went to college 800 miles away. I finally had total control of every meal I ate and for me, this was a good thing. I learned that I could eat hummus and vegetables and feel a lot better than if I ate five cookies from the dining commons. I had access to a gym on campus and started figuring out how to use it. I wasn’t perfect and definitely had my fair share of early morning Taco Bell runs, but I was learning. By the time I graduated from college, I’d run a half marathon and lost 10-15 pounds comoared graduating from high school, putting me in a healthy weight for my height.

Now I feel like I do have a healthy relationship with food where I eat mostly healthy but still have treats and don’t feel bad about it. I exercise but not because I have to burn off food. Etc.

When I have kids, I definitely want to focus more on health and how to be healthy than my parents did. But we are all doing our best!!

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I absolutely love they way you are approaching food and body talk with your kids! Thank you for sharing. I dealt with an eating disorder for about 5 years during/after college and now that I have a 9 month old, I think about this topic a lot. I had already planned to approach food very similarly (it isn’t a big deal unless you make it a big deal), but I love what you said about complimenting and appreciating your body for what it can do and having Brooke do the same. I will definitely begin incorporating that into our routine. Thank you!!

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