Search icon


29th May 2022

Musings: I don’t wany my children to suffer with disordered eating like I did

Melissa Carton

I don’t want them thinking their size is the most important thing.

I grew up in an era when body shaming was particularly vicious.

According to the media in the late 90s and early 2000s, if you weren’t the same size as Kate Moss or Paris Hilton there was something wrong with you.

So many of us accepted opinions we heard about the likes of Britney Spears and Jessica Simpson had ‘let themselves go’ when they were both in reality probably a UK size 10 at most.

Coming of age in that period made me, and most people my age, obsessed with weight and diet culture, but I don’t want my children to be the same.

Growing up in Ireland study

As a teenager I didn’t realise I had disordered eating habits as I thought eating disorders were anorexia or bulimia and that’s it.

It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realised what an unhealthy relationship I have with food and with my body in general.

When I was younger and thinner, everyone referred to my weight as if it was my main personality trait.

I was the small friend.

The friend who always sat on someone’s lap if there was a lack of chairs.

The one that would always take the middle seat in the back of the car.

It wasn’t something I thought was particularly a big deal until I started to gain weight and then people started making comments on how I wasn’t as small as I used to be.

It threw me into a tailspin of crash diets and constant exercise.

But then I noticed my children wanting to copy me and thinking what I was doing was normal and that was when I realised the weight madness had to stop.

I can still remember being my daughter’s age and seeing my aunt drink SlimFast and asking if I could have some to which she responded ‘not until you’re older’.

I watched my classmates starve themselves to look like celebrities, because according to every magazine the worst thing you could be is fat.

I don’t want my children to every think that. I don’t want them to believe that thin automatically means good and fat automatically means bad.

Fat is fat. It’s something that insulates your body.

Sure too much of it can cause health issues but eating disorders also cause health issues.

I want my children to grow up knowing that health is different than weight and that their size is not indictive of what kind of person they are.

There is more to life than a number on a weighing scale.