What Happens When Your Mother Tells You She Is Fat

I stumbled upon this very interesting article today, an open letter from a daughter to her mum, about how she was seven years old when she discovered her mum was fat, ugly and horrible. Because her mum told her so herself and mums don’t lie. I recommend reading it here, it is so true how mothers are role models for their daughters and they can affect their daughter’s whole life by worrying about their weight. I am lucky enough to have a mum who has never been on a diet. She is strong and brave and I have never heard her say ‘I can’t do that‘ because she is more of a handyman than most guys I know. I have never heard her say ‘I can’t eat that‘ either. She is not the skinniest woman on earth, thankfully, because I don’t think a skinny woman could’ve done all the work my mum does every day. She taught me how to cook and to appreciate food, and she taught me to respect my body for what it can do rather than how it looks.


I spend a lot of time with a little girl myself. She is 2,5 years old. I am not her mum, but I know that she looks up to me and I want to be a strong and healthy role model for her. She is already very conscious of clothes and shoes, and the other day (she does make me laugh a lot, I tell you that), she pointed out to me (from nowhere) ‘nice bag’ and pointed to my very 90’s disco bag from H&M.  Did I mention she is 2,5 years old? And she is already very particular on what she wants to wear. On Sunday when I saw her, we were watching a movie when she started talking about her pretty, new shoes. I’m hoping she’ll keep only being conscious of clothes and shoes when she’s getting older as well, and not conscious about her weight or flabby bits. In the US a shocking 81% of 10 years old girls are afraid of being fat. 10 years old! When I was 10, the last thing I thought of was how I looked. We played soccer, climbed in trees, jumped in the hay (yes, actual jumping in the hay in the barn), played Duck, Duck Goose and Hide & Seek. I was lucky enough to have six older female first cousins, so I was getting ‘new’ clothes all the time. Love a good hand-me-down bag full of goodies. I din’t know what Dolce Gabbana or Gucci was (not that I own any of those things now either, but at least I know what they are!) and was not overly concerned with how I looked. When I was 14-15, the coolest thing in town was Levi’s jeans and Fruit Of The Loom or Adidas jumpers. I am sure we looked sexy in those!

This is so scary Picture

This is so scary Picture

I love how the article says ‘when did fat become a feeling anyway?’, because that is so true. I used that term the other night, when looking at bikinis from Victoria’s Secret (who doesn’t feel a little fat when comparing themselves to 180cm tall, 55kgs heavy women??).Why do we feel fat, if we are not fat at all? Why do we value ourselves in kilos and centimeters, rather than who we are and what we achieve?  We need to remind ourselves that we are so much more than our looks. Young girls needs to grow up understanding that their looks is not their most important asset. Young girls needs to have healthy, smart, handy and strong mums and other role models to look up to, rather than glossy magazine models and adult women who are only concerned about their weight and size of their hips.

Let us honour and respect our bodies for what they do instead of despising them for how they appear. Focus on living healthy and active lives, let our weight fall where it may, and consign our body hatred in the past where it belongs.KASEY EDWARDS

Your body is your temple, cherish it and keep it healthy (make sure you don’t mistake skinny from healthy – it’s actually not the same thing!) so you can do the things you want in life, but don’t let it stop you from being happy. Happiness isn’t measured in kilos and centimeters. Happiness is measured in time spent together, laughter, meals shared and exploring the world with people you love. Happiness is a feeling, not a number. Fat is not a feeling nor a measure of self worth. Let’s not teach young girls that women must be thin to be valid and worthy. Let’s teach them to be happy.

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52 Responses to What Happens When Your Mother Tells You She Is Fat

  1. Love this post! Looks like our minds were in the same place. It’s such a prevalent topic now-a-days that it’s becoming more and more of an issue and something that really needs to be addressed!

  2. Janet Rörschåch says:

    Self image is such an amazing thing. I am very grateful that it is part if the conversation. Reading this just helps me put it all in a different perspective. I have neices, and soon, a great neice. that deserve to hear different words that help inspire them. Thank you for posting.

    • I think it’s becoming more and more important as there are more and more glossy magazines and perfect models to compare ourselves to. Thank you for reading and help spread the word xo

  3. tallmartha says:

    What a great post! What you’re saying is SO TRUE. My mom was like yours- nothing she couldn’t do. I do remember the first time I was called fat in 2nd grade. I hadn’t ever thought about it until a little boy taunted me at recess.

  4. Awesome post. WP suggested when I was posting this – http://cupcakensunshine.wordpress.com/2013/06/18/your-daughters-bedroom-insights-for-raising-confident-women/

    Have included your post in related articles. Keep the awesomeness going!

  5. Fiona Adlera says:

    Great post Ashild! Unfortunately my 5 year old daughter takes a *very* keen interest in appearance and has done since she was about 2 (always commenting on clothes and shoes etc). I’m also hoping this doesn’t develop further into body issues. I try hard never to fuss about my own appearance or clothes when she is around – but as per your quote from Kate Winslet, we should all go further than this and actually show that we appreciate and are proud of our bodies and what they can do.

    • Thank you Fiona. I think it’s impossible to avoid these days that young girls want to look pretty, but I think it is really important to show them we can be beautiful without fitting into a certain size. It’s such a hard topic, and I can’t say I look forward to becoming a mum and having to worry about my own kids (crossing fingers there will only be boys ;)) xo

  6. tinydancer1989 says:

    An awesome article and definitely something I have been meaning to write an article about the very same thing! It totally resonates with me.

  7. doctorlynn says:

    Good insights here. I, like you, had a mom who was comfortable in her own skin and although she wasn’t built like a model she taught me a healthy body image by example.

  8. paulsang says:

    I also believe it is a direct result of the digital age. While issues young girls face have always been a part of our society, the digital age is relentless and it is always ‘in our face’. I am amazed at the amount of eating disorders in young teenaged girls – even tweens! To be fair, boys are starting to deal with it as well. But it seems to be hitting boys a little later in life, like most things…lol

    Great article, and thanks for stopping by my blog as well!

    • Yes, I agree, we see perfection everywhere we look (except this perfection has been photoshopped most of the time). It’s hard to realise what’s natural and normal. And yes, especially in Scandinavia there are more and more boys/men suffering from eating disorders too. It’s sad, but true.

      Thanks for reading, come back soon 🙂

  9. thomas peck says:

    I absolutely agree. And from a Dad’s point of view, I don’t want my daughter ever worrying about her body/shape/size/weight either. Healthy and Happy is all we should wish for!

  10. katiegatto says:

    This is a great post. Parents really need to self-monitor when it comes to body image. Kids take in more than you think.

  11. maggie0019 says:

    This was an excellent post! Thank you for the “like” as well! Have you noticed that the clothes for little girls don’t look like clothes for little girls anymore? Most are very skimpy.

  12. Nicole says:

    Reblogged this on Bitter Harvest and commented:
    Good article. Highly recommended

  13. jaclyna79 says:

    Reblogged this on That Snarky Brunette and commented:
    Awesome post!

  14. cohencycles says:

    do you think growing up in the country protected us from some of the fat labeling? I grew up in small town Iowa… with the montgomery ward catalog as my fashion bible! On the other side, we did not eat healthy… red meat, sugar, butter, lard…. but we moved… all day… and so on we go! trying to figure it out day by day.

    • I think growing up before the internet helped a lot… And growing up on a farm might make you a little more sensible? I am not sure 🙂
      PS, I reckon all of those things except the sugar is good for you 😉

  15. Two days ago we were out with a colleague, and mentioned in conversation how one woman we all know is (openly, we were not spilling any secrets) is anorectic. Want to know the first thing the colleague said? “Oh, but she is so thin and beautiful!” No “Poor woman”, nothing. Yeah, and we go on wondering how children can grow up with warped perception of themselves is this is how we worship being thin.

  16. jennifer0906 says:

    Whoa. I never thought of it in this way. I will be more careful now with the way I talk about my weight at home. I only hope its not too late.

  17. very powerful. facebooked it to pass it on.

  18. This is so true and so scary at the same time. Its so easy we get carried away in this crazy body image society,and being in fitness profession makes it even harder for a mother like me with a teen daughter. I grow up in a place ( Africa) where being curvy even big was seen as beauty and my grandmother used to feed me more than other because I was so thin, worrying I wouldn’t get a husband looking like a walking skeleton….lol.

    This all changed when we moved to Sweden at the age 12, a country where blond, blue eyed and being skinny was on the top of beauty list. It was a scary experience that took me years to get out of, from eating disorder to self hate. I know sometimes due to my profession I forget myself when talking to clients about health and eating habits and it sometimes takes over my life and It can be hard on my daughter due her illness. Worse is having to hear clients/people around me asking why is your daughter not fit,skinny or into fitness like you etc . this can be stressful and mental tiring having to explain that she suffers from under active thyroid and other healthy issues and she doesn’t binge eat like they assume she does and she actually very active 15 years old girl.

    I knew due to all that pressure and having to explain to people about her condition I became obsessed in trying to make her lose weigh and it became our daily arguments. Only recently after all the effort of me preparing her meal/exercise programs I found out she been sneaking food into her room and been secret eating on top of what I gave her, it broke my heart to know that she was feeling so bad and frustrate about not losing weight which lead her to comfort eating. From that day I decided part from the medical point of view I will no longer put her under that pressure, she is so much better now and is actually learning to eat only when she is hungry and not stressing herself about her weight again and tries to keep herself active doing activities that she likes rather than me pushing my ideas down her throat. I now refrain her from watching/listen to any thing that promoto unhealthy body image, the likeness of miley cyrus and other singers/actress that do not promote a healthy image of how girls/women should be/behave and I’m glad she has mind of her own and would rather listen to old school music and read books than being a zombie like some girls now day. Sorry about the writing diarrhoea, this was such a great article that brought tears to eyes. Thank you for sharing it with us. xx

    • And thank you for reading and sharing as well.

      I spent some time in Uganda and eastern Africa a few years back, and they would always say “you’re too skinny” and stuff like that. It interesting how the western world has idolised being thin as the only beautiful thing.

      I hope your girl grows up to be a beautiful and healthy woman with a healthy mind and lots of self esteem!


      • Get out of town, really? How cool is that :). I’m from DRC Congo but I was born in Uganda and grew up Kenya among many other place before moving to Sweden. I bet they tried to feed you too, to make sure you got that mama Africa butt as well…lol

        Thank you for your kind words, I’ll make sure she does. xox

      • LOL, they did. No hope for my butt though 🙂 I never made it to Congo, but Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania (and Zanzibar of course). xox

      • Hahaha too bad as you could have got few goats and gold ,,lol 🙂

        Wow you have been around the globe haven’t you dear? Its nice to meet people that have experienced other cultural and travelled around the world :).xx

      • My boyfriend was offered 70 cows fro me from a Masai in Kenya 😉 I love travelling!! xo

      • 70 cows? He truly loves you for not treading you for them as he could have made few $$$..lol. bless him. Traveling is the best way to cure ignorance and hatred as we learn to understand/respect each other by interaction. Xox

      • He must 😉 Definitely! xo

  19. Giovanni says:

    I like your article. Body image is also a male consideration. Males don’t like being short and/or skinny. Muscle is the name of the game, with steroids being often the drug of choice.

  20. Giovanni says:

    Like your article. Males have body image problems too. Muscle is the name of the game with steroids as the drug of choice.

  21. Lucia Maya says:

    Wonderful post! Thanks for writing about this. I read that article too, because my 20 year old daughter posted it on Facebook, and I am proud of her for her awareness!

  22. I love this article. It’s something that a lot of people don’t realize is going on. Also, thanks for checking out my blog! I hope you enjoy.

  23. Thanks for sharing this. It is such an important message. My mother was constantly on diets and unhappy with the way she looked. I know it affected me and I have struggled with my weight my whole life. But I was determined not to pass this on to my beautiful, beautiful daughter (who luckily inherited her father’s genes and slender build). She’ll never have to struggle with her weight and I don’t want her to realize how much I do. She thinks I am beautiful and I choose to believe her. It just goes to show that she (and my son, and my husband, and my friends) love me and it has nothing to do with my weight at all.

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