(According to the BMI) My Kid is... OBESE
I'm probably insane to open myself up in this way, but my desire for the potential support I may receive (or give) by choosing to share this nugget of vulnerability is far greater than my fear of the potential judgment, scrutiny or attack I may receive. So here goes. My daughter was a SKINNY MINNY till she was 5. Then she hit 6 and began to fill out. Immediately her doctors FREAKED out. They said she was overweight. Overweight! At each annual check up they'd go over "healthy lifestyle habits" with us like we feed our kid a diet of Kool-Aid and Cheetos, and live like slothenly couch potatoes. So uplifting. And now - at 9 we've been told she's obese. OBESE. Yep. According to the BMI, my kiddo is obese. And we've been informed that protocol is to get her screened for diabetes, liver health, etc. I've gotta say, there's truly nothing quite like being told your kid is obese. And thus - "severely unhealthy."
Such shame. Stigma. Failure. It's really, truly, completely awful. Heartbreaking. Granted, we know she's no longer a skinny minny. I see her every single day. And please don't hate me for saying this, but she's not the "big kid." She's not. She's very tall, has a round face, long, lean legs and a tummy.
To be honest, her body is a lot like mine when I went through my "chubby phase" as a kid. Yet, I never was told I was obese (let alone overweight), or even made aware of my weight - by my doctor or anyone in authority. I knew I wasn't anything like my beanpole friends, and I didn't like being bigger than them, but I certainly didn't lose sleep over it. It was a different time... But back to 2016. Honestly, the worst part of this is having your doc is tell you that your child NEEDS to lose weight because their health is at risk. Yet, your child is ALREADY so insecure about their body. When my daughter was 6 she asked me why she had a "tummy," when all her friends' tummies were "flat." Without us ever saying a word about her body, she knows she's bigger than other kiddos. Just last week she said, "Mom, why I am I fat? Why is my tummy bigger than yours? I want to be skinny again." Soul crushing. So as the parent, you have to find a way to do your best to encourage healthy habits/awareness with small tweaks that make a big impact, without making it all about weight or appearance, thus giving your kiddo an even greater COMPLEX about their body. All the while, still teaching and fostering the truth that they are, "Beautiful just as God made them... Fearfully and wonderfully made." Not a task for the faint of heart. As a family we 100% believe that moderation is key. I refuse to be the parent that hovers and condescendingly says, "you're not gonna eat that are you?" Or won't let my kid have special treats and occasional junk food. I want to teach and cultivate healthy habits, but preserve the innocence of my girl as LONG as possible. (She doesn't need to be concerned with losing weight at NINE.) Like many parents, we are committed to a healthy, active, lifestyle -- which means very little processed foods, lots of fruits and veggies, limited "mindless eating," the rule of thirds for meals (one part protein, one part veggie, one part healthy carb), and regular exercise. Of course. But there's always room for improvement. (That's a given. For anyone.) Yet still - we have a child who is labeled as obese by her doctors. Obese. As a parent, that word alone is kind of horrifying. It honestly makes me think of her weighing upwards of 200 lbs. So when I look at her, and don't see that - assigning that particular "diagnosis" feels brutal. Criminal. And I'd be lying if I said that there aren't times that I find myself looking at the parents of the "skinny minnies" with a broken-hearted envy. If you haven't walked through this, you have no idea how yucky and shameful it feels. It's like wearing a scarlet letter. Like you "did this" to your child. But to be honest, I'm the least of my worries.
The pain of watching my child hurt and break because she feels insecure about her body - well, that is far worse than any amount of personal shame I could ever feel. Far, far worse. I'm curious what other parents out there have walked through this?? (Because I swear all I ever seem to see are the ones with "skinny minnies," lol) How did you cope? Or perhaps like us, you are currently walking through this harrowing journey too. Take heart my friend. Know that you aren't alone. And more importantly - know that we have a mighty God who meets all of us right where we are. Who gives us exactly what we need, exactly when we need it.
He's graciously gotten us this far (in this nutty journey), and I know He'll continue to guide and give us wisdom, grace and understanding as we love and support our baby girl. Oh parenthood. How you refine us in ways we never imagined!