Is it teething time for your little one?

 

Tova Leigh is a successful actress, blogger and proud mum of three little girls.

 

While it may seem like she has it all, things weren’t always so rosy for Tova.

 

At the age of ten, Tova overheard a remark that upset her greatly and years of yo-yo dieting and self-hatred.

 

“I was ten when I overheard my cousin say ‘Tova will struggle with her weight her entire life’ “, the mum blogger explained on Instagram.

 

“I had no idea what he meant, as far as I was concerned there was nothing wrong with my weight but something about that sentence stuck and it eventually became a reality.

 

 

I was ten when I overheard my cousin say “Tova will struggle with her weight her entire life". I had no idea what he meant, as far as I was concerned there was nothing wrong with my weight but something about that sentence stuck and it eventually became a reality. My first diet was at 15. I wasn't overweight but I didn't look like my friends who were tall and naturally thin, so I decided to have one meal a day. Sometimes that meal was an ice lolly or three pieces of chocolate and the weight came flying off. I stopped when my period stopped and went back to eating actual meals which got me my period back within a few months but something inside me changed after that experience. I realized that my weight could be controlled and that all it took was some willpower to lose it. So I started yo-yo dieting. I’ve been fat, I’ve been thin. I have changed my wardrobe because clothes were either too small or too big more times than I can remember, I had stretch marks on my stomach and boobs even before I became a mom from all the shrinking and expanding, I've been on every single diet there is on this planet and I even made up a few of my own. I have thought about my weight for hours and days. I have stared at those scales and been happy or sad depending on the numbers but the truth is that no matter how low or how high that number has been – my feeling about myself has always been the same. Even at my lowest weight when I was wearing tiny jeans and totally rocking a bikini, even then, I did not like my body. Well, I'm finally seeing the beauty from within that people speak about. The fact that my body is the only body I have and deserves to be loved for everything it has done for me. The fact that I cannot teach my own daughters self-love until I find self-love myself. And the fact that the only real source of pressure to look any different from how I look is coming from me. I have clung onto my size 12 for over a decade when the truth is I am really a size 16. I am done feeling ashamed about that because frankly, I’d much rather spend the rest of my life enjoying this body that gave me 3 healthy kids than focusing on charts and numbers. #RealIsSexy 

A post shared by Tova Leigh (@tova_leigh) on

 

"My first diet was at 15. I wasn't overweight but I didn't look like my friends who were tall and naturally thin, so I decided to have one meal a day.

 

"Sometimes that meal was an ice lolly or three pieces of chocolate and the weight came flying off".

 

Tova’s eating disorder got so bad that she experienced amenorrhea and her periods stopped.

 

She started eating normally again for a while but it wasn’t long before she was tempted to try yo-yo dieting again.

 

“I’ve been fat, I’ve been thin. I have changed my wardrobe because clothes were either too small or too big more times than I can remember, I had stretch marks on my stomach and boobs even before I became a mom from all the shrinking and expanding.

 

 

“I've been on every single diet there is on this planet and I even made up a few of my own”, she explained.

 

But no what diet Tova tried, she still felt bad about herself.

 

“Even at my lowest weight when I was wearing tiny jeans and totally rocking a bikini, even then, I did not like my body", she explained.

 

“Well, I'm finally seeing the beauty from within that people speak about.

 

"The fact that my body is the only body I have and deserves to be loved for everything it has done for me”.

 

Being a role model to three young girls forced Tova to think about how her body issues might impact on her daughters in the future.

 

 

As someone who has been uncomfortable with her weight most of her life, I can tell you for a fact that people telling me while growing up what to eat or not eat, did not help me one bit. In fact, the shame I felt was probably the most damaging thing I could have been made to feel. It gave me the impression that eating was not allowed and that what I was doing was wrong so that every time I ate, I felt like shit. On top, by telling me how much to eat so that, effectively, I wouldn't gain weight – I was subconsciously told that there is just one version of beauty which is being thin. And since I was not thin, it just made me feel worse about myself. Sadly, most body issues are a direct result of the messages kids hear from the people around them, including us parents: “finish your plate”, “dessert after you finish your vegetables”, “you’ve had enough” etc. I heard all of those and in my case it just made me eat more in order to get to the desert that was promised, setting me up for a lifetime of overeating. And don’t get me wrong, I have said most of those things to my children as well because as a parent I want to make sure my children eat healthy and are not hungry. So no, I do not think it should be a ‘free fall’. I am totally aware of the fact that more children carry extra weight these days and that it can cause health issues down the line. But I am also aware of other things that are just as important that as parents we sometimes forget to focus on, like: how happy our kids are, their confidence, self-love etc. Bottom line is, when it comes to food and healthy eating I think we should set an example and provide great options (we can’t expect our kids to eat healthy if our fridges are full of crap, righ?) but at the same time, we can’t be the food police either. Maybe our job as parents is to teach them the facts and then let them be? I’m pretty sure that if they are “good” 90% of the time, that’s bloody good enough. And finally please know this: there are FAR worse things than being “fat” which our children can end up as. Try depressed, miserable or self-loathing. Don't our children deserve knowing they are loved and accepted no matter what? #BodyImage #moms

A post shared by Tova Leigh (@tova_leigh) on

 

“The fact that I cannot teach my own daughters self-love until I find self-love myself. And the fact that the only real source of pressure to look any different from how I look is coming from me.

 

“I have clung onto my size 12 for over a decade when the truth is I am really a size 16”, she admitted.

 

“I’d much rather spend the rest of my life enjoying this body that gave me three healthy kids than focusing on charts and numbers. #RealisSexy”, she wrote alongside a photo of herself smiling broadly while covered in Cadbury’s Roses sweets.

 

Tova’s story has certainly made us sit up and think about how body image and confidence issues can affect us all, even as children.

 

What do you think mums?

 

 

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