Last week I learned the average Kiwi woman is 72kg. I learned this from a journalist called Rachel Smalley who thought her microphone was off and told us all what she really thought. What a bunch of lardos she said. And heifers. Normally such insults would be like water off a duck’s back, but this time I found it a bit depressing and sad. I can’t wait to see ‘72’ on the scales (soon, soon!) and I’m super positive about my weight loss so far but Smalley’s little gaff got me worried.
I have quite high self-esteem and don’t really let my size bring me down, but there’s been a shift in my thinking since I had a daughter. I worry about her having to battle her weight in a world that still hasn’t moved on from judging women based on their size or general appearance. Just when you think we’ve come a long way, you see the cover of a woman’s magazine where someone’s either too skinny or too fat, or you hear a journalist calling heavier people names.
See my biggest worry is that if we can’t even be nice to each other at Smalley’s age, what hope does my teenage daughter (or pre-teen for that matter) have in a world full of bitchy teenagers? In our 30s and 40s we’re supposed to have learned a few things, but teenagers have no idea. How and when do we start teaching our girls that they’re okay just the way they are, without bringing up weight or appearance as an issue? Eek.
I want Annie to know that she will be liked and loved based on her personality, brains and ideas, yet I want her to know all about the importance of nutrition and keeping fit. I want to be honest with her about battling my own weight and wanting to be smaller, but I don’t want her to think there’s anything wrong with being a certain number on the scales.
I want her to know that those models in all the magazines with their ribs poking out (and thigh gaps as wide as the Mississippi River) aren’t healthy, but that being naturally skinny is just fine too. But at the same time I don’t subscribe to the idea that ‘big is beautiful’ when I see people who are so big that their health is suffering.
It’s a hard one to navigate. I guess you just have to be healthy by example and talk to your kids and hope for the best. So far we’ve made sure our house is full of healthy food and the fridge is always bulging with fruit and veg. We go for family walks at night instead of teaching the kids to be couch potatoes. And we go for big adventures on the weekends involving lots of walking. We’ll encourage sport and activities and eating well. Hopefully our kids will be healthy little Kiwis who grow up to be well adjusted, confident adults. And one more hope? I really hope I’m the last one in the family to be called a lardo!