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'Mom, Am I Fat?'

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Momlogic: What do you say when your daughter asks, "Mom, am I fat?"

jess weiner

Jess Weiner: It's important to remember this question is more about wanting to connect and wanting validation than wanting a real answer. My biggest advice is never answer it like a real question. Try to conceal your frustration, and take a deep breath. Then, use a question to answer their question. "What would that mean if you were?" "What's going on for you?" "What would happen if you were fat? Would people tease you?"

Moms, do not engage in the fat talk -- circumvent it, but don't ignore it either. Pay attention. If she keeps asking it, it could be a precursor to a bigger problem. If we don't ask questions and dig a little deeper, we could miss an opportunity to get at the heart of what's going on.

ML: What if I just say, "No, you're not fat"?

JW: When you say "No," it's an empty response. When you hear it, it's code for something else going on.

There is a whole chapter in my book Do I Look Fat in This? that goes into detail on this question, and also gives a description of what guys should follow when answering the fat questions.

The message I would love moms to get is that it's not about weight, and it's not about a number. Let's start a conversation about health and not weight. Don't fully ignore the numbers (blood pressure and weight are important), but don't put all your eggs in a basket. No one can tell by looking at the outside of a person how fit or not fit they are.

Empower yourself and pick up a copy of Jess's book, Do I Look Fat in This? -- WIN it here!

do i look fat in this giveaway

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1 comments so far | Post a comment now
abbey January 8, 2010, 8:44 AM

I totally agree with everything you said. I was a chubby little girl and, as much as i adore my mom, she did everything wrong when it came to my weight. She didn’t know any better at the time and she thought she was doing what was best for me, but her obsession with her own weight really affected me (thinking it would be a bonding experience, she had me join weight watchers with her when i was 8!). Her obsession with dieting, thinness, and weight contributed to my own obsession which resulted in the last 16 years of my life struggling with eating disorders, going from extreme obesity as a teen to anorexic & bulimic as a young adult. I’ve also devoted most of my teen and young adult years to work in the childcare industry (I was a nanny for 5 years) and, if there is only one thing a parent takes away from me it’s to not make weight and food a big deal. You may think you are ugly and fat, but your child thinks you are beautiful and, if you continually say you are fat, even in passing or under your breath, your child will eventually change his or her opinion of themselves - if you, their beautiful mom, is not beautiful, how can they be beautiful? Words, especially to a child, hold so much meaning. To you, saying “I’m so fat” in a mirror may just be habit, but if you have children, it’s a habit that needs broken or they will suffer the consequences.

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