Apparently the latest diet craze among teenage girls is eating cotton balls. As ridiculous as that sounds, it’s true. They dip cotton balls into orange juice or some other liquid refreshment and then eat the ball. It makes them feel full without the calories or those pesky things called vitamins and nutrients.
This makes me sad. So sad.
I remember being a teenage girl. Well, I remember parts of being a teenage girl because a lot of it has been locked away deep in my emotional recesses because let’s face it, being a teenage girl can be traumatic and awkward and horrible all at the same time. So I get it. I get that girls obsess over their weight and want to look like impossibly thin supermodels. Teenage girls have always wanted this, and I imagine it’s only worse now that every teenage girl is required to post at least 10 photos per day online of herself in a bikini. Those selfies aren’t going to post themselves, ladies!
I’m glad I’m not a teenage girl anymore. But I’m also terrified because I have two young daughters at home who are going to be teenage girls one day. Oh, trust me, I will do everything in my power to stop this from happening, but I get the feeling there is a good chance the world will not end the night before my oldest turns 13.
So when I read about the cotton ball diet (yes, that is it’s name. Sounds delicious, right?). I thought about what I will say to my daughters when they are teenage girls who want to look like airbrushed celebrities and are willing to sacrifice health for a miniscule waistline.
Here is what I came up with:
You probably aren’t going to listen when I tell you that you are beautiful. You will probably think I’m just saying that because I’m your mom, but then you will go look in the mirror and see only your faults. You’ll see the flaws, the cellulite, the moles and all the other things you consider blemishes.
But I am going to keep telling you you’re beautiful, hoping that one day it will sink in, that one day you will see what I see when I look at you—a daughter of God who has so much life, love and beauty in her that she can’t help but radiate that beauty outward. I don’t see the flaws and neither does He.
Still, you are going to want to be thinner than you are or more like the women you see on TV. That’s normal. Everyone feels that way. Every teenage girl wants to be thin and they are willing to do crazy things to achieve it. They want to be thin more than anything else in the world.
But here’s a secret: There will come a time in your life when the thing you want more than anything is to have a baby. You will be willing pay any price and make any sacrifice to have this baby.
When that day comes, you will see your body differently. It will be the home that carries your future children, safe and warm and healthy until they are born. You won’t care if you’re thin or sexy enough. You will only care about making your body the best home possible.
Even if you don’t bear children, you will see your body in a new light. You will see that your arms need to be strong to lift babies all day. Your brain needs to be sharp to know how to raise them. Your heart needs to be healthy to run after a naked 2-year-old at bath time.
You will see your body the way I see it. The way He sees it — as a gift.
I know it’s hard to imagine the day when you will be having your own children. But it will come. And when that day comes, be ready. Don’t regret the way you treated your body. Start now. Put good things in. Respect the demands of your growing body. Eat well so you can exercise and stay fit. Worry less about looking good and more about feeling healthy.
Treat your body like the future home of the little babies that will someday be your whole world – just as you are mine.
How do you talk to your daughters about self-image and why they should avoid these crazy diets?