My mom lost over 100 pounds, and the hardest thing was talking to the kids about it


  • I am a mother of 3 and have always been very careful with the words I use around them.
  • I have always been overweight and recently had to lose weight due to health concerns.
  • I never had a healthy relationship with food, and now I talk openly about it with my kids.

I’ve always been an advocate of body positivity. Having worked with teens for decades, I understand how easy it is to develop body image issues. I know several people who developed lifelong eating disorders after one of them commented in middle school. So I’ve always been very sensitive about what I say to my kids about weight, food, and bodies.

I’ve been overweight for most of my adult life, but it never bothered me. I’ve always been confident in who I am, no matter what size jeans I’m wearing, and I’ve always been healthy. But about two years ago, I found myself in a place where I needed to lose weight for the sake of my health. Not to look a certain way, but to be more active with my kids.

At first, I tried to do better with exercise, which helped, but eventually I realized I needed to examine my eating habits, too. So began my very intense feeding journey, which of course was challenging. But what I’ve found much more difficult is figuring out how to talk to my kids about it.

I was fully aware of the words you used

They were 13, 10 and 8 years old – in terms of sensitivity to comments about weight or calorie counting. So I was very careful about what I said and did, because they suck at everything.

I never use the word “diet” because I know how toxic diet culture can be. I deliberately didn’t cut out anything completely — no sweets, no carbs, no wine. I just controlled my portions and swapped higher-calorie things for lower-calorie options—like a smaller portion of meat and more vegetables, or swapping beef for fish. However, my 8-year-old raised a bun and asked, “Is this from your diet?”

I wasn’t even using the word “diet” with her, but someone did.

As calmly as possible, I said, “I don’t diet. I just make healthy choices.”

I tried to explain that I am in better health

It only got harder when I started losing weight visibly. I can’t tell you how many times a well-meaning friend has exclaimed, “You’ve gotten so skinny!”

If my kids were in sight, I made sure to say, “The goal isn’t skinny, it’s healthy!” Then to them, “Right?”

But then my 13-year-old started asking me how many calories were in the stuff, and I panicked. “You don’t have to worry about calories!” I said.

But the thing is, I realized that, for me, not worrying about calories had gotten me to where I was, which is an unhealthy place. Yes, diet culture is toxic, but I’ve developed an unhealthy relationship with food going the other way. And I didn’t want that for my kids either.

I know it’s absurd to call weight loss a “journey,” but that’s what it was like for me. It’s not about the numbers on the scale or clothing sizes, but about why you’re making unhealthy choices. It was like going to couples counseling about my relationship with food.

I learned about the unhealthy patterns I developed as a child and wanted to help them avoid, how unhealthy our whole culture is when it comes to food, but how hard it is to see that when it’s the water you’re swimming in. I wanted to share that with them in a positive, helpful way that wasn’t shameful.

So we’re not talking about portion control, but we’re talking about listening to your body. I don’t force certain foods, but I do try to show them that healthy foods can taste good. We don’t talk much about sweets, but we do talk honestly about how much sugar is in soda, which doesn’t make it “bad” but rather explains why we drink it every once in a while. My son is into weightlifting, and we’re looking for a healthy way to do it instead of following what the TikTok influencers say.

I’m really not sure I’m doing it right. But I try to talk to them instead of letting them drown in toxic waters – on both sides.


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