8 Habits To Stop When I’m A Mother To Daughter

“Does this make me look fat?” 

“Do these pants make my hips look wide?” 

“It’s time for another Slim Fast!” 

These were common comments and questions I heard as a kid from my mom.

me and mom

There was rarely a time in my childhood where there wasn’t a canister of Slim Fast (it wasn’t always used, but the canister was always there). There was rarely a time when I remember my mom not wanting to lose weight or get started with exercise.

Time and time again, I can remember her asking for my opinion on what she should wear.

Even after several, “Mom, you look great!” she would respond back with a, “Are you sure? You would tell me if I looked fat… right?” 

I’m not blaming my mom specifically for me having to battle with my own body image as a teenager and adult. I am not blaming my mom specifically for my poor criticisms on my own naked body. I am not blaming my mom specifically for feeling the need as a young 20 year old, to stand on a scale to determine my own beauty and worth for that day.

I am blaming lots of moms. My mom wasn’t the only one making a deal with the scale each day. I saw my mom do it, and my friends saw their moms doing it too. It was what that generation was taught.  

It was my mother’s generation (and perhaps yours too) that felt that diet craze and the model influence first and I might boldly say, the most.


This whole “dieting” thing is still quite a new fad if you look back over history. Our grandmothers didn’t jump on a scale first thing in the morning (well, after going to the bathroom and stripping down so to ensure that there is absolutely NO extra weight).

We watched as our mothers looked at the scale as if it were a fortune teller. “Today you’re down 1 pound, it’s going to be a great day!” or “Today you’re up 2 pounds, better lay off the cookies in the break room.”

We watched silently as they became obsessed, we took it in, learned their tricks, and of course learned to accept this obsession as part of being a woman.

Kids are like sponges, and boy did I soak that shit up. 

Future Moms Of America

If that’s not a club already, it should be! What a great blog name. But moving on… 


My adorable niece

As a women approaching the time in her life when kids are on the horizon (no, we’re not trying yet)… I’ve been thinking a lot about parenting. A lot about what kind of mom I want to be, and what kind of mom I will be. 

My mom did a wonderful job and there are so many things about her that I can only hope I’ll be able to do as well. But in the department of body image, there are a few parenting changes I would like to make.

But I can’t do it alone, like I said it’s not about changing what my mom did, it’s about all women changing and making an effort to instill different lessons into the brains of their daughters.

You’re right, I don’t have kids so what do I know? I know I want a daughter that is strong, confident and never questions her worth. A daughter that doesn’t look to the scale the help determine that worth.

8 Habits I Will Stop When I’m A Mother To A Daughter

I have had all of these habits at some point in my life. Many of them I have stopped, some of them I still struggle with. But all of them are things I do not want my future children dealing with.

No Scale In The House. 

This is pretty self explanatory and actually I got rid of my home scale about a year ago. I do have a scale at the studio, but I weigh myself probably once every 2 months. I do not want my (hopefully) future daughter to think that the piece of machinery has any power of her beauty. 

No “Diet” Food

I made this promise to myself a few years ago… diet food would not find it’s way into my pantry ever again. Instead of food with false promises, I have a personal promise to myself, my husband and our future kids to live off of real food.

Fast Food Doesn’t Have To Be “Fast Food”

When I was a kid, normal dinners included boxes of mac-n-cheese; Hamburger Helper, Shake-N-Bake, and yes, fast food. They were fast and convenient for a working mom. I don’t blame her, I just want to teach my kids that you can still have amazing food that isn’t from a box. 

Good food doesn’t mean take forever to prepare food. Ya know?

Exercise Isn’t For Burning Calories

I want to be a momalete one of these days. I want my daughter to live a fit and health life not because it helps to burn calories but because it’s good for her body, it makes her feel good and it helps enrich other areas of her life. It’s not just about looking good on Spring Break or on your wedding day. 

No Fatty Trash Talk

This is perhaps the hardest habit of all to give up. There are times now I complain about my body, I point out trouble zones, and ask Dan if this or that makes me look fat. And it needs to stop. Negative talk is contagious and each time I beat myself up over my body is an opportunity for someone else to do the same.

No Calorie Counting

I started calorie counting in college to drop weight. It worked of course, but it also gave me a way to micro manage my diet. I was losing weight with 1000 calories a day, how much would I lose if 800 a day? What about just 500?

This goes back to real food, I want to educate my kids on nutrition. Teach them what makes a food good, and it’s not how many calories are in it.

And yes, this is something I am still working on!

Working Out Isn’t Work


Okay, I guess for me, technically it is. But not really. I don’t want the girls to think I run for the sole purpose of working out. I run, I lift, I do boot camps because it’s fun. My body craves it. Exercise isn’t work, it’s an adult’s form of recess!

Food Shouldn’t Carry Guilt 

Again this goes back to educating my future daughter about nutrition. Everything is okay, in moderation. When I was a kid I wasn’t taught portion control, heck I could eat an entire box of Little Debbies in a day! So as an adult it was a challenge to learn, and of course guilt follows after you down an entire box of cookies or a big old slice of cake.

I want my kids to know all food is okay, in moderation! There is nothing that is really off limits and you shouldn’t feel guilty about eating.

Food and emotions… that’s a whole other blog post.

This post is not about criticizing anyone’s parenting skills. These are simply reflections about my own life and what I want to pass on to my future kids. We only get one chance to raise our kids to be the best they can be. And I think that no matter how wonderful our own parents were (are), we have a desire to be better.

I would love your thoughts and opinions!


  • oh how i can relate!! but my mom did the lowfat no sugar. TORTURE for us. haha. But i love your focus now! yes, real food and motivation to be healthy

    • I bet that was torture! What kid wants to see sugar-free! Haha

  • Sheena

    You’re exactly right! My mom did everything, Atkings, LA Weightloss, the GI diet and it all got her right back at the same place. And on top of that her health is now at risk because she never continuously exercised and ate to be healthy. I don’t want that for me or my children. I like your plan 🙂

    • Sheena

      Oops, Atkins not Atkings 🙂

    • I am the same, I worry about my own parents quite often. Cheers to a healthy plan!

  • You hit the nail on the head with this post. Young girls look up to their moms and learn from them, both the good and bad habits. Although there are other factors that influence a girl’s body image, such as the media, teaching her to have a positive body image from the start is invaluable to preventing that. Like most women, I have also struggled with it, and I want to do everything I can when I’m a mother to keep my daughter from having to go through all that.

    • Exactly, I know that the media will catch up but what we do as moms is the first thing that the kiddos will see, right?

  • nada to add at ALL ALL ALL except motherhoodROCKS.

    • I bet! Can’t wait to one day be in the mom club!

  • Jeanette

    Joss is almost 2 and the other day I caught her standing on the scale, fascinated by the numbers lighting up. It made me feel bad, not because she knows what any of it is but because she stood on the scale because she saw me doing it. It’s hard to let go of all that stuff, but I know I have to make changes soon. She will get enough of this stuff from her friends and school later on in life. I don’t want her to feel the way I do. HOWEVER my mother never dieted, never worried about calories, never stepped on a scale. Everything I got, I got because I got heavy and I didn’t like how i looked. We can only protect our kids as much as possible. I can only hope to raise a confident little girl who can make her own decisions and feel good about them.

    • You’re right, we can’t do everything but we can do a bit! I can’t believe she’s almost 2!

  • Michele

    Spot on! My mom’s generation grew up with Jack Lalanne, and I started working out with Richard Simmons by the third grade. My first taste of illegal drugs were prescription diet pills.

    • Oh man Michele! Wow, good thing you’re awesome now and don’t need Richie’s help 🙂

  • My bf’s older daughter is a gymnast, and is well developed for a girl of her age. I make sure to stress to her that she is gorgeous and strong. She is not a stick figure, and she never will be. She is muscular, she can do unbelievable things (she can do a BACK HANDSPRING, OMG), and she is AMAZING.

    My main challenge, though, is his youngest. Pickiest eater on the face of the planet. I’m trying to convince her that the three food groups are not chocolate chip muffins, mcnuggets, and pizza. Definitely an up-hill battle.

    • Gymnasts have amazing bodies, so strong! I hope she appreciates what her body can do!

  • Ugh, I remember slim fast in a canister. I’ve drank slim fast before, in the cans (college days!)… but I remember my mom mixing it up from the powder and I was just like… gross! Not to mention the fad diets of the early 90s such as the grapefruit diet and some special tea you drank to… get rid of weight (i.e., go poo a lot). I remember lots of diets and body issues and yeah, maybe this was passed on a bit to me.

    I’ve often thought about these same things when or if I have a kid, or a daughter. In fact I’ve thought about them just working with children and coaching youth cross country. When I coached, I occasionally heard parents make weight/size comments to their children and it broke my heart.

    • Yea, I saw the same when I taught gymnastics! It was always heart breaking to hear a parent criticizing their kids!

  • Kim

    Just to add – even if you happen to be a mother to a son, these things are still important. Even boys go through times when they struggle with body image and appearance!

    • Very true Kim! I remember my brother dealing with it as a teenager for sure!

  • Bess

    Thank you! As a first time grandmother, I am saving this article to read, re-read and share with my daughter!

  • Rebecca

    “Kids are like sponges, and boy did I soak that shit up. ”

    That’s exactly what it is…SHIT. I am 27 and just now coming to terms with loving and accepting my body. I work out often, eat well, and whenever I get down about things, I just focus on what my body allows me to do — I have all my limbs, I can get up and move whenever I feel like it.

    A huge helpful thing for me was riding horses when I was younger (I still do, been at it for 22 years!). It seemed like that was the one time when my body or weight didn’t matter much…I was heavier throughout my pre-teen/teen years, but it never affected my ability to interact with horses or to be a quiet rider. Working out now has only helped me improve my balance and body awareness when I ride, but I am so grateful I had the barn and horses growing up — body image wasn’t our concern, our love of horses was, and I am so thankful I had that. The key is find something you love, and while yes, riding is most CERTAINLY exercise, I don’t think of it as being work — I just love it, I love being outside, and I love the animals. Your point on not viewing exercising as a negative or work is spot on…find something you love, that makes your appreciate your body and that makes you happy, in whatever formt hat may be.

  • This is a GREAT post and I fully agree. As a mother to 2 teenage daughters I am very careful about what I say. I never use the word diet, try to explain healthy habits, never mention THEIR weight, never restrict food but encourage moderation, I tell them how intelligent they are… but it needs to be reinforced all the time.

    They are sponges, as Rebecca says, so its not only what we say but also what we do, so I think that even if they do not jump on the bandwagon now for exercise or healthy eating, the role modeling is important and will one day have an effect.

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  • Tracey

    My mom did the same things too. Remember those string contraptions that connected to the door handles? We went vegetarian when I was in Junior High; my dad used to sneak us to McDonald’s to get some “real food”. Looking back, I don’t think he had much education about nutrition either.

    Role models for the present and the future!

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