You’re still many years away, but I finally realize it all starts with me. Your relationship to food will be influenced by my relationship to food. How you feel about your body will be influenced by how I talk about mine. The place movement holds in your life will be influenced by how I introduce movement to you. And so, I promise to do everything I can right now to give you the strongest foundation possible later.
I promise to stop congratulating my friends if and only if they lose weight. I promise to stop telling them they look beautiful and to start telling them they are beautiful, always. I promise to stop talking about food, weight, and body in terms of “being good” or “being bad” and to teach you that your worth is not defined by the way you look, what you eat, or how often you workout. I promise to remind you that your goodness is not defined by the piece of chocolate cake you choose not to eat or the salad you ordered for lunch. And even more, I promise to walk my talk.
I promise to cry when I’m sad, laugh when I’m joyful, and smile when I’m happy. I promise to feel whatever it is that I’m feeling and accept that it’s ok. I promise to not judge you as you grow and learn about the world. I promise to create a safe space in which you can tell me anything.
I promise to stop saying “I can’t eat just one!” and instill the same old food stories in you that I’ve been telling myself for too long. I promise to trust your intuition and your body when you start making food choices on your own. I promise to introduce you to a variety of quality foods, but let you ultimately make decisions about taste yourself. I promise not to stick my nose up when you like something I hate or force you to eat something I like but you hate.
When you’re old enough, I promise to teach you how to cook. While I’m most definitely not a professional chef, I am curious in the kitchen and together we can explore textures, colors, flavors, and ingredients. We can make a mess, laugh, and dance our way to something (hopefully) edible. We can dress up our dinner table, use the fanciest of silverware we have, and set a few candles. While we eat, we can chat about anything you want, anything that makes you happy, and whatever simply lights you up. Even if only for ten minutes, I promise that this meal and my time with you will be the only thing on my to-do list. I promise to relax while we eat and make the dinner table somewhere you want to be.
When we decide to go on our first shopping spree, I promise to not put down my body in the dressing room. I promise to treat myself with kindness, especially when you’re watching. People will come and go throughout your life, but I want to show you how to always be your own best friend. I want to remind you of something my mother taught me – that at the end of the day it’s important for you to like the person you see in the mirror, inside and out. I promise to show you to believe in yourself and the good in others, and teach you that you are enough.
I promise to play on the floor or in the grass with you and move as often and as freely as we can! I promise to make up new games, new ways of moving, and explore any sports, activities, or movements that peak your interest. I promise to introduce you to a way of moving that can be fun and enjoyable and stop using movement to punish my body or counteract something I ate. I promise to always be curious with you.
And finally, my dear daughter if at any point I get lost, which sometimes we all do, I promise to re-read this letter and remember to come home to you.
If you do get lost with yourself, this letter to your body and every-body will help you come home to yourself.